Kentucky Wild Weeds: Mullein

Here is another installment in our weekly feature on plants in Kentucky and their medicinal uses. Thanks to Jackie Alberti for writing these each week!

Mullein is found all over the place and is another great medicinal. This plant can be as much as 6 feet tall - the stalks used to be dried, dipped in wax and used as torches. The most useful parts are the leaves and flowers. The leaves are expectorant and are used in teas and smoking mixtures to treat asthma and colds. The flowers can be infused in olive oil to make an oil to sooth irritated skin and especially to treat ear infections. To make the oil, gather a small handful and place in a jar, cover with oil and let it sit for two weeks. Then strain out the flowers and store the oil in the fridge. I also like to infuse some garlic cloves and add a little St. John’s Wort infused oil. There is also an essential oil available but I have not tried it yet.

Mullein will take root in any clear space, loves poor soil and the seeds are believed to remain dormant for up to 100 years!

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