Verbascum thapsus, Scrophulariaceae
Mullein has been used since ancient times as a remedy for skin, throat and breathing ailments, especially as an astringent and emollient, as it contains mucilage, several saponins, coumarin and glycosides. It is used for respiratory conditions, especially cough. Leaf infusions or herbal teas were used for expectoration, dry cough, bronchitis, and sore throat. Leaves were also smoked against pulmonary ailments, a tradition that in America was rapidly transmitted to Native American peoples. They used the non-indigenous plant to make syrups against croup. The combination of expectorant saponins and emollient mucilage makes the plant particularly effective for cough. All preparations meant to be drunk have to be finely filtered to eliminate the irritating hairs. Oil made from the flowers was used against earaches, as well as frostbite, eczema and other external conditions. The flowers provide dyes of bright yellow or green, and have been used for hair dye.
Recent studies have found that Mullein contains glycyrrhizin compounds with bactericide and potential anti-tumor activity. These compounds are concentrated in the flowers. Different extracts have varying levels of efficiency against bacteria. The German Commission E sanctioned medicinal use of the plant for catarrhs. It was also part of the National Formulary in the United States and United Kingdom.
“Mullein flower”. The Commission E Monographs. American Botanical Council. February 1, 1990. Archived from the original on 2006-05-11. http://web.archive.org/web/20060511234235/http://www.herbalgram.org/iherb/commissione/Monographs/Monograph_0262.html.
“Verbascum thapsus”. Plants For A Future. http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Verbascum_thapsus.
Turker, Arzu Ucar; Ekrem Gurel (September 2005). “Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): Recent Advances in Research”. Phytotherapy Research 19 (9): 733–739.