Mullein – symbol of courage and hope
Verbascum densiflorum, commonly known as mullein, is a large flowering plant which grows up to 3 metres. The name mullein probably comes from the Latin word mollis, meaning soft, referring to the plant’s woolly stem and leaves. Mulleins are valued for their tall, narrow stature and for flowering over a long period of time, even in dry soils. The wolly hair protects it against excessive evaporation, which is why it grows gladly in dry and rocky locations. Particularly remarkable are the large yellow flowers. That is why they are compared to a torch. Some say mullein stems once were dipped in tallow to make torches either used by witches or used to repel them or evil spirits. The custom of using mullein for torches dates back at least to Roman times. Odysseus is said to have protected himself with mullein against the magical powers of the legendary Circe on his ten-year journey to reach his home after the Trojan War.
Today, mullein tea is a traditional treatment for respiratory problems, such as chest colds, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein leaf tea is slightly bitter; a tea of the flowers is sweeter. They contain mucilage, which is soothing and antiviral. These effects have been scientifically proven. It is recommended to drink a cup of wool flower tea three to four times a day.
Leaf poultices can be used to treat bruises, tumors, rheumatic pains and hemorrhoids. Mullein flower oil (made by steeping the flowers in warm olive oil) also has been used for treating hemorrhoids, as well as earaches. The oil is said to help with furuncles and eczema on the ear. To make the oil, fresh flowers are sealed in a glass jar with warm cold-pressed olive oil and let stand for 3 weeks. Don’t forget to shake the bottle well every day!