From common colds to bronchitis, here’s why Mullein leaf can be a life-saviour

A dropper with oil and a flower

The Mullein plant is medicinal and is known to be good for pulmonary problems, inflammation, asthma, as well as coughs and diarrhea. The leaf can be consumed in the form of tea and applied in the form of oil. The plant is found abundantly in the United States and has over 200 variations. The most common species of mullein plant is Verbascum Thapsus. The mullein leaves are used both in their original form as well as dried.

Mullein plant goes by many names such as Aaron’s rod, velvet plant, flannel plant as well as many others. The tea generally gets flowers in mid-summer. While it is very useful, the mullein leaf should be used in the right manner, and its oil or tea should be consumed or applied in the right dosage to avoid side effects such as skin rashes.

What is Mullein Leaf?

Mullein leaf is the leaf of the Mullein plant. It is used to make Mullein oil or Mullein tea. It is a common weed that has been used for centuries to cure many ailments and is used as a herbal medicine. The leaf has many ingredients that support our overall health and wellness. It contains flavonoids and saponins and is anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant in nature. While it is believed that the mullein leaf supports the body in several ways, there is not much scientific evidence to support all the claims.

Mullian oil is made in two ways, either by heating mullian leaves in warm oil olive oil for three hours, or my mixing it and leaving it for 7-10 days. Image courtesy: Pexels

What is Mullein oil?

The mullein leaf and flowers give us mullein oil. A process of hot oil extraction is used to make mullein oil from mullein leaf. One cup of mullein flowers is added to half a cup of olive oil and put over a low flame, for three hours. It is then allowed to cool, and strained by using a cheesecloth. This oil is then stored in glass bottles. There is another way of making the oil — through cold-steeping. In this, mullein leaves and flowers are submerged in a carrier oil for  7-10 days. This oil is known to be good for ear aches as well as skin conditions and eczema.

What is Mullein tea?

Mullein tea is a herbal tea that is made from mullein leaves. It is very mild in taste. It has an earthy and a slightly sweet flavour. It is available in dried, loose leaves or even as tea bags. The tea is rather easy to make. Just add some leaves to a cup of boiled water. Let it brew for about 10-15 minutes, and then strain it through a cheesecloth. This will help no plant products come in your tea. Mullein tea has about two calories and less than 1 gram of carbohydrates, according to the FDC.

Uses of Mullein leaf

There are many things that mullein leaves are good for. It helps give relief against common colds and coughs as well as more severe respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma. It can also help in digestion-related issues such as constipation. Besides this, mullein leaf and flower products also act as painkillers and help fight inflammation. Congestion and gout can also be treated with mullein leaf and flowers.

Benefits of Mullein leaf

1. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

A study, published in Pharmaceutical Biology states that Mullein leaf is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The leaves contain saponins, that are pain relieving and prevent the growth of tumours. Flavonoids are also present in mullein leaves and flowers, which are also antioxidants. Besides this, Iridoids and phenylethanoid also help prevent inflammation.

2. Anti-viral properties

A study, published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternate Medicine, suggests that Mullein leaves and flowers are anti-viral. They help against influenza as well as herpes. Mullein leaves also have some chemicals that help to fight off infections and help with colds, coughs, as well as fevers.

3. Anti-bacterial properties

Mullein leaves and flowers are anti-bacterial and can be used to cure many respiratory illnesses as well as other ailments caused by bacteria. This study, published by Medicinal Chemistry, shows that Mullein is used to diminish bacteria and can thereby help fight cancer and other infectious diseases.

How to use mullein leaf?

While we have spoken about mullein oil and mullein tea, there are some other forms as well as how mullein leaves can be consumed. Mullein leaf extract can be used, or it is also available in powder form. Mullein leaf capsules and elixirs are also easily available over the counter. Dried flowers and leaves are also made into creams.

A girl suffering from a cold
Mullein oil has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties that help to ward off infection. Image courtesy: Pexels

Side effects of Mullein leaf

There are no such glaring side effects of using the mullein leaf in any form. However, one study published in Contact Dermatitis reveals that skin reactions such as itching and rash can be caused by the overuse of Mullein leaf products. It is very important to do a patch test before you start using powders, creams and oils.

Also, in case of pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is not much research that is available to justify whether Mullein leaf should be consumed or not. Therefore, it is important to contact your doctor before deciding to use mullein products during these phases of life.

Another point to be kept in mind is that mullein leaf treatments should not, in any way, substitute you going to the doctor for your ailments. Bacterial and viral infections should be taken very seriously, and self-treatment by using Mullein leaf should not be done without consultation with your doctor.

If you are suffering from any underlying health conditions, then it is very important to to talk to your doctor before taking Mullein leaf.

Dosage

One to two teaspoons of dried mullein leaf can be added to water for mullein lead tea. This tea can be had three times a day. However, if you are just starting off, it’s better to start with a lesser quantity and frequency and increase gradually. Regarding the other mullein leaf supplements, it’s better to consult a healthcare professional to decide dosage as per your needs and the supplement.

Conclusion

Mullein leaf, no matter what form it is used in, will help the body in more ways than one. However, one needs to be a little careful while using this herb as most of the research has not been done with human subjects. Also, it is very important to understand how pure your mullein oil or tea is before you start to use it. It’s better to go for trusted brands after consulting a health care professional.

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