Mullein (Jia Yan Ye)
Botanical Name: Verbascum thapsus.
A wonderful hearty herb. Considered an all around remedy for the lungs. Also excellent for treating boils and urinary dysfunction, hemorrhoids and soothing pain. It’s soft velvety leaves are why it is often called the Velvet Plant.
Below is an overview of Mullein, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Mullein.
Western Name: Mullein
Also Known As: Velvet Plant, Figwort, Jupiter’s Staff, Blanket Herb
Organs/Systems: Lungs, Stomach, Intestines, Bladder
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Respiratory tract, skin, veins, gastrointestinal tract and locomotor system. Considered a virtual all-purpose lung remedy. Tea made from the root is good for incontinence from bladder weakness, birthing or catherization. Tea made from the leaves is for mild sore throat, coughing and raspiness. Flower tincture can treat the same as the leaves only much stronger. Mullein is also a skin emollient and analgesic.
Pin Yin: Jia Yan Ye
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lung, Stomach, Intestines
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Promote Lung Yin: moistening sore throat and lungs, coughs, asthma. Expels phlegm: whooping cough, coughs with yellow or white phlegm. Reduce inflammation and dry mucous damp: nasal and head congestion, watery discharge, hay fever, chronic intestinal infections, painful urination. Bladder irritation due to any cause. Soften boils and expel pus: wounds and irritated skin conditions.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaves, Flowers and Roots
Flavors: Bit Sweet, Astringent, Bland and Cool, Moistening
Caution: None noted.
History/Folklore: Native Americans used ground seeds as a paralytic for fish poison due to high levels of rotenone. Menominee tribe smoked the pulverized dried roots for respiratory complaints. The Mohgans smoked it to relieve asthma. By 1913, mullein had become extremely popular in America as a treatment for coughs and inflamed mucous membrane lining the throat. The steam was often inhaled to relieve cold symptoms such as nasal congestion and throat irritation. The Greeks made lamp wicks from its dried leaves and the ancient Romans dipped its dried stalk into tallow for funeral torches. Pliny also noted, “figs do not putrefy at all if wrapped in mullein leaves.” Roman ladies reportedly used an infusion of the herb’s flowers to add a golden hue to their tresses.
Rotenone, mucilage, gum, saponins, essential oils, flavonoids, glycosides.
Smoked by the Menominees tribe to treat respiratory complaints.
Used during civil war by Confederate army to treat respiratory complaints.
Used in Middle Ages to treat skin and lung disease, also used to ignite lamp wicks and small torches as dried stack ignited easily.
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