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Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1st WHMonth: MULLEIN

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings  of time tested herbal and medicinal food healing information in honor of Women, who have been the traditional Healers of their Families, Communities, Villages and Nations from time immemorial. 

HERBS ARE NATURES MEDICINE . . . and they are the primary tools women have used from time immemorial for healing the mind and body and spirit of her family and community. Woman's History Month is honoring women, who as inherent healers, have always pulled from the earth all the tools she needs to maintain her family and community, nurturing love and good health. A medicine woman's bag would hold many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or an injury.

Even from conception, herbs like lady's mantle, red raspberry, wild yam, cramp bark, damiana, false unicorn are used in various combinations to increase fertility and to secure the fetus in the womb; every female starting her menses should have a cup of red raspberry tea every day for the rest of her life – as it will forever tone, harmonize and 'shore up' her reproductive system; to help her milk flow, herbs like anise seed, blessed thistle, fennel and parsley (as a hot compress on the breasts) are used. Herbs that promote menstruation pennyroyal, myrrh, black cohosh, rue and angelica. To calm nervous/hyperactive children – catnip which has been used in ancient times for babies and young children for expelling wind, or curing hiccups and stomach spasms (colic), with camomile, lemon balm, valerian, lady's slipper as relaxers and soother to the nerves. Echinacea has great antiseptic qualities; cleanses the blood as well as destroying bacteria, used following childbirth to relieve post-partum disease . . . MAKE NATURE'S MEDICINE YOUR OWN

Mullein (verbascum thapsus) has a special affinity for the respiratory organs, with a valued reputation for its remarkable narcotic properties without being poisonous and harmful. It is a great pain killer, calming and quieting all inflamed and irritated nerves.  Its high nutritive value steadily increases weight in wasting disorders. Mullein soothes and strengthens the bowels and renal system, and is one of the most important agents for influencing the endocrine glands.The roots, flowers and leaves are all medicinal and can be used for many different ailments when combined with various other herbs.

Mullein is one of my favorite herbs (yeah, that's me in the photo, during my early teaching days back in the 80's when I did many herb walks with students in the streets of The Bronx).  Oohh . . . maybe I'll post some of my herb walk pictures and photos of herbs I've taken.  Would you like that, just out of curiosity, or find it beneficial?  Actually, from the photos you might be able to learn to identify some herbs in your own community that you walk by every day on the way to the train or bus or store or doctors office [umm, we have to work on cutting out "the trip to the doctors office" <;o)) ] 

CALLING ALL HEALERS ~ MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE – Let's expand our Medicine Bags and share our personal experiences with this herb (or others you've used for similar conditions.  I'm sure many many of you have used various herbs for sprains, injuries and wounds; and parents have their own arsenal of what their families have traditionally  used for children's earaches. Send me what works for you. From this sharing, I will do a whole new weekly post, and we'll call it: EXPAND YOUR MEDICINE BAG!

I have used Mullein many times over the years for various sports and martial arts sprains and injuries.  I would boil some water and wrap some Mullein (along with some PLANTAIN which is a powerful pain reliever, antispasmodic - maybe I'll do Plantain tomorrow) in a towel and let it sit in the pot (covered) for 30 minutes or more. Then apply the 'hot compress' to the inflamed area - as it cooled, I would simply pour more of the hot infusion to re-soak the cloth. 

Mullein has a neutral taste, mildly pleasant and affects the lungs, glands and lymphatic system. Its properties and therapeutic actions are as an expectorant, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, vulnerary and antispasmodic.

It can be smoked to relieve lung congestion and coughs. Mullein flowers also provide a soothing and cleansing effect to the skin. As a wash, they are an easy treatment for minor wounds and scrapes. These same flowers can be picked throughout the growing season, placed in olive oil and left to infuse. The resulting infusion is wonderful for earaches that do NOT involve a ruptured eardrum.


For respiratory congestion, combine mullein with yerba santa, wild cherry bark, licorice and comfrey root as a tea or tincture.

2 parts Mullein with ½ part Lobelia and 1/8 part Cayenne as a fomentation is excellent for bronchitis, rheumatism, stiff joints, mumps and swollen glands.

For glandular imbalances combine equal parts Mullein leaves, wood sanicle and ½ part Lobelia simmered in 2 qts water for 15min, strain – use as hot compress for one hour 3x daily. My personal formula for lymphatic cleanse includes mullein, bayberry, echinacea, yarrow and yellow dock.

Mullein-fl3For earaches, discharge or disease of the ear (NOT ruptured ear drum), simmer 2 ounces of Mullein flowers in olive oil (enough oil to cover the herbs) until 'done'. Strain and press out the oil and bottle when cooled. Or create a 'Sun Oil' by placing Mullein flowers in a jar and cover with olive oil 1” above the flowers, cover tightly and shake well daily for 2 weeks. Strain and press out the oil and bottle. Apply a few drops in the ear overnight. Add beeswax to the infused oil, and you will have a balm that makes a great addition to any baby's bottom. The delicate skin of a baby's diaper area can benefit from a light layer of this mullein balm.

For asthma combine equal parts Mullein, sage and plantain, steep for 15min in 1 pint of water, strain and sweeten with honey, bottle and keep in cool dry place.