The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Verbascum thapsus L.
  • Scrophulariaceae
  • Figwort family

Common Names

  • Aaron’s rod
  • Blanket leaf
  • Bullock’s lungwort
  • Candlewick
  • Cow’s lungwort
  • Flannel dock
  • Flannel flower
  • Feltwort
  • Great mullein
  • Hare’s beard
  • Hedge-taper
  • Jacob’s staff
  • Mullein dock
  • Old man’s flannel
  • Pig taper
  • Shepherd’s club
  • Velvet dock
  • Velvet leaf
  • Velvet plant
  • Verbascum flowers
  • White mullein
  • Woollen blanket herb

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves, flowers, root
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture


Mullein is a tall biennial plant; the tall, stout, simple or branched stem bears alternate, thick, felt-like, light green leaves, whose stems are winged by decurrent bases and are woolly with many star-shaped hairs and their bases run down the stem. There is also a basal rosette of larger, obovate-lanceolate or -oblong leaves. Yellow, sessile flowers grow in cylindrical spikes, 1 to 3 inches long, from June to September. The flower stalk does not develop until the second year. Fruits are woolly capsules.
Other varieties: Common mullein (V. thapsiforme); Orange mullein (V. phlomoides); Black mullein (V. nigrum).
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Where Found

Grows in clearings, fields, roadsides, sand pits, gravel pits, pastures, and waste places (seems to thrive in the poorest of soils) from the Atlantic coast west to South Dakota and Kansas. Naturalized from Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Diuretic, expectorant, analgesic, tonic, anodyne, antispasmodic, demulcent, vulnerary, astringent, emollient, pectoral, sedative
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Biochemical Information

Iron, potassium, sulfur, aucubin, choline, hesperidin, mucilage, traces of essential oil, magnesium, PABA, saponins, verbaside, vitamins B2, B5, B12, and D.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

According to Agrippa, a general and minister under Caesar Augustus, mullein leaves, because of their fragrance, had an overpowering effect on demons. More mundanely, the plant was also used by the Greeks and the Romans to make torches or lampwicks by dipping its dried flower-stalks in tallow.

The large stalks were oiled and used for funeral torches in olden times.

In the Middle Ages, people deprecatingly called the mullein “hag taper”, because witches used it in their incantations and as an important ingredient in their brews and love potions.

At the time of Charlemagne mullein was misused for catching fish in “forbidden” waters. Boiling down a large quantity of mullein plants in water and pouring the decoction into fish ponds, the saponins in the mullein will reduce the surface tension of the water to such an extent that the water will get into the gills of the fish, which then drown in their own “element”.

Dioscorides used the herb for scorpion stings, eye complaints, toothache, tonsillitis, and coughs.

The Native Americans used mullein alone or in tobacco mixtures; also used in medicinal smokes.
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For difficult breathing, asthma, glandular swelling, and hay fever. Mullein is used as a pain killer, sleep aid, colic, in the right dosage, can control diarrhea or dysentery, or be a laxative. Gets rid of warts.

Tea makes good remedy for cough, hoarseness, bronchitis, sinusitis, tuberculosis, bronchial catarrh, mumps, and whooping cough. Used for gastrointestinal problems and piles. For external use on inflammations, arthritis, frostbite, gout, or painful skin conditions, use the tea or a fomentation of the leaves boiled or steeped in hot vinegar and water. For nasal congestion, flu, inflammation of nerve tissue, nerve pain, croup, or other respiratory problems, breathe the vapor from hot water with a handful of flowers added. A poultice of leaves or the powder of dried leaves can be used for difficult wounds, boils, ulcers, and sores. Flowers soaked in olive or mineral oil used as earache drops. Excellent pain killer without being habit forming.

Leaves can be boiled in water and the steam can be inhaled to relieve coughs and congestion.

The leaves are smoked, alone or with coltsfoot and yerba santa, to soothe the throat and as a substitute for tobacco.

The seed is a narcotic fish poison.
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Formulas or Dosages

Use dried flowers or leaves.

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. leaves or flowers in 1 cup water. Take 1 to 2 cups a day.

Extract: mix 25 to 40 drops in liquid. Drink 3 to 4 times daily for coughs.

Tincture: take 15-40 drops in warm water, every 2 to 4 hours.
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Nutrient Content

Iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamins B2, B5, B12, and D.
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How Sold

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The leaves contain rotenone and coumarin, neither viewed with great favor by the FDA. Hairs may irritate skin.

Do not use as ear drops if there is a risk that the ear drum is perforated.
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Resource Links Mullein

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Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! A Useful Guide to Herbal Health Care, HCBL (Health Center for Better Living).,1414 Rosemary Lane, Naples, FL 34103., Special Sale Catalog, 1996

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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