Mullein – such a diverse and powerful plant – even its name has several stories behind it. Some say that the name came from the Latin word, mollis, for soft, to describe the big, hairy leaves. The name could have also originated form the Latin word, malandrium, a disease of cattle for which mullein was the remedy. The name adopted by Linnaeus, however, was Verbascum thaspus, and that is it’s current Latin name.
Mullein leaves are soft, almost furry and fun to explore! This might be why it is called the “teddy bear of wild plants”. This plant grows throughout North America (although it originated from Africa and Sicily – it migrated with the humans) and can be found growing in all the U.S. States. Its many uses make this plant so entertaining! They include:
- Using the tall flower stalks as torches after dipping the tops of them in tallow.
- Early Colonists lined the bottoms of their shoes with the leaves to cushion weary feet.
- Native Americans used the leaves as bandages.
- Common Mullein was used for lamp wicks prior to the use of cheap cotton wicks.
- Quaker women rubbed the leaves on their cheeks to make them pink, giving it the name “Quaker Rouge”.
- Mullein leaves can be used to make dye, creating yellow and olive shading.
- And, last but not least, Mullein leaves can be used as toilet paper! 😉
Aside from all these practical and somewhat entertaining uses, Mullein remains a powerful, yet gentle source of health support, known to support the healthy function of the upper respiratory system. We use it in our immune support product as part of our proprietary blend of supportive herbs. We believe that gentle support of the respiratory system is a big part of supporting overall health. Mullein’s many uses make it a very important herb in the kit of a healing home. May you find your own uses and enjoy this beautiful herb.