Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus
Mullein is an upright biannual growing up to 2 metres tall in the second year of its lifecycle.
In the first year it grows a rosette.
It has big, slightly hairy and soft leaves and can be used as natural toilet paper in the bush.
Mullein grows on open uncultivated land and along roadsides. It does not like to be transplanted and is very picky about where it grows. We let the ones we have in the herb garden go to seed and leave the rosettes whereever they grow, except when they have chosen a spot that is really in the way.
We harvest the leaves end spring/early summer before it starts to grow the massive flower spike and harvest the flowers in the middle of summer at around noon on a sunny day when they are at their most potent. Flowers need to be dry and we use the ones that are nice and open or just begin to open up. Avoid dusty roadsides or sprayed areas.
Mullein is a valuable herb for coughs and congestion. The leaves and flowers can be dried and combined with other herbs like thyme, licorice and hyssop and turned into a tea to treat coughs and asthma.
We steep the fresh flowers in sunflower oil and use it as a remedy to treat ear infections and ear ache along with garlic and onion. This is an amazing natural remedy and with mullein growing throughout New Zealand and easily identified, it provides a valuable remedy for home use. It proved successful to treat ear infections as stated by a few customers that bought our KoruKai Mullein Ear Drops and antibiotic treatment was not needed.
Recipe: Natural ear ache remedy
Freshly harvested mullein flowers
Sunflower oil or olive oil
1) Fill a small jar half way with the fresh mullein flowers and add enough oil so all flowers are submerged.
2) Place jar somewhere visible in your kitchen and wipe the water that evaporates off the lid and sides with a clean cloth every couple of days. Make sure flowers are submerged to prevent mould and push them down with a spoon if needed.
3) Steep for 4-6 weeks.
4) Strain oil though a muslin cloth and let the water (that was contained in the flowers) settle to the bottom of the container overnight.
5) Decant the mullein infused oil making sure to not get any water from the bottom and store in a jar. An amber glass jar with a glass dripulator is best.
6) To use it simply warm up the oil to body temperature and put 2-3 drops directly into the affected ear canal while lying on the side. Lie in this position for 5 min. Repeat 2-3 times per day.
Seek professional advice if symptoms persist or earache is combined with fever especially in children.