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Mullein it on me

I get the impression that if mullein was a person, he’d be short and chubby with a really long pipe. Like a hobbit. I don’t know why that is. Those big fuzzy leaves just feel warm and comforting to me, like a little woodland friend. Leaves can be up to a foot long, and, unless you have an allergy (see below), you could use mullein as toilet paper in a pinch. 

Mullein is native to Europe and Asia, and grows readily throughout the midwest and eastern United States. An untrained eye would call this a “weed.” They don’t know what they’re missing. 

It’s drought-resistant, grows easily from seed, and prefers full sun, but will survive partial shade. It’s a biannual, so don’t get too attached. It self-sows though, so you can expect children and grandchildren in the coming years.  

Mullein’s flowers and leaves have been used medicinally for about 5,000 years.  It’s known anecdotally to relieve respiratory problems and coughs. But science is in its favor as well:

  • Some lab studies have indicated mullein has anti-fungal properties and can fight against the flu

  • Another study shows that mullein has  antibacterial properties that can whoop up on E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

  • Many types of mullein have polyphenols, which can do a bunch of cool shit as far as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, pain-relieving magic goes.

Magical stuff

  • Boil the yellow flowers to create a beautiful dye for drawing sigils 

  • Use the stalks for wicks in homemade candles 

  • Plant to protect yourself against evil spirits*

*I’m beginning to realize a well-stocked flower bed is the best thing to ward off evil.

 

Side effects and risks

Some people have a skin allergy to mullein. I am one of those people. It makes my skin feel itchy like I got insulation on it. 

There’s no info on pregnancy safety and mullein, so check with your doctor.

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