Predominantly found in waste areas, disturbed areas, Mullein is a summertime classic.
As a biennial it spends its first year as a basal rosette of large fuzzy leaves - growing up we called them "lamb's ears". The second year a large stalk of flowers emerges from the rosette, sometimes growing as large as 2ft tall (the plant all together can grow to be 3 to 7 feet tall!). Seeds from these great stalks can remain dormant for decades and still germinate.
Mullein is not a native plant to the area, it was brought from Eurasia as a great medicinal plant as well as for its unique appearance.
The flower of the mullein was used as medicine to help with coughs, tb, bronchitis, colds, earaches, flu, allergies, tonsillitis, asthma, diarrhea, colic, migraines, joint pain, and also used as a sedative.
The leaves have also been used by being applied to the skin for wounds, burns, bruises, frostbite, and skin infections.
Other uses include mullein is used as a flavoring ingredient in alcoholic beverages, if nature calls it makes a good toilet paper, the dried stalks were dipped in wax or tallow and used as torches.
The chemicals in mullein might be able to fight influenza and herpes viruses, as well as some bacteria that cause respiratory infections.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.