Scientific Name/Common Name: Verbascum Thapsus / Mullein

Part(s) Used: Leaves

Constituents/Active Ingredients: Mullein contains 3% mucilage, after hydrolysis yielding 47% D-galactose, 25% arabinose, 14% D-glucose, 6% D-xylose, 4% L-rhamnose, 2% D-mannose, 1% L-fucose, and 12.5% uronic acids, comprising several components, including a xyloglucan, an arabinogalactan. Iridoids: aucubin, 6b-xylosylaucubin, catalpol, 6b-xylosylcatalpol, methylcatalpol, isocatalpol, etc; saponins, including verbascosaponin, 1.5-4% flavonoids, among them apigenin and luteolin, kaempferol, rutin; phenol-carboxylic acids, such as caffeic, ferulic, protocatechuic acids; sterols.

Overview: Large-flowered mullein are biennial plants indigenous to Europe, India, Asia, Egypt, North Africa, and Ethiopia. Great mullein is now also a Eurasian weed widely established across temperate North America. Both the leaves and flowers of mullein species have been used medicinally for thousands of years owing to their demulcent, expectorant, and astringent properties. Historically, Ulysses was said to have used mullein as protection from evil spirits. Mullein tea is primarily given to treat respiratory conditions such as catarrh and bronchitis. Mullein tea is also recommended for treating chills and coughs and is thought to be effective due to the mucilage content of the plant, which coats and soothes irritated mucous membranes (covering epithelial damage) and the mild expectorant action of saponins also present within the plant extracts. In folk medicine, mullein flowers tea was used as a diuretic, antirheumatic, and for treating wounds, gout, piles, cramps, convulsions, skin conditions, and ear problems. The German Commission E recognizes mullein flowers for treating catarrh of the respiratory tract. Mullein is a component of many prepared teas and herbal remedies, particularly cough and bronchial teas.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: For upper respiratory conditions, cough, cold, bronchitis, etc; to soothe sore throat and as an expectorant for mucus congestion.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinkmann J, editors. 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications.

Wichtl M and NG Bisset (eds). 1994. Verbasci flos – Mullein. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 517-519.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.