Mullein: An Herb for Smokers
Mullein is an herb for smokers. It's in all of our smoking blends because anytime you smoke anything there should be mullein in it! The act of smoking is drying and heating, whereas mullein is a cooling herb that helps drive moisture to the lungs. Mullein is also a relaxing herb - relaxing both bronchial tissue and nervous tension. Here we outline and explain why this plant is ideal for smokers of all types to work with.
LATIN NAME: Verbascum thapsus
AFFINITY WHEN SMOKED: respiratory system
KEY ACTIONS: respiratory relaxant, moistening expectorant, nervous sedative, demulcent, cooling, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anodyne, connective tissue tonic
NOTABLE CONSTITUENTS: mucilage, flavonoids, triterpenoid saponins, volatile oil, tannins, iridoids, catalpol, sterols, sugars
BOTANY & HARVESTING: Mullein is a towering, upright biennial (meaning it takes two years to complete its lifecycle, requiring a winter dormancy) growing up to 6 feet tall and has slightly hairy, gray-green oval shaped leaves and spikes of bright yellow flowers. It's native to central and southern Europe and western Asia but it's now naturalized in many other temperate regions like the US. Mullein grows on open, uncultivated land and along roadsides. The leaves and flowers are collected during the summer. Once gone to seed, the plant dies, with its now brown flower stalk remaining upright for quite some time so seeds can disperse. New, first year plants can often be found within 15-20 feet (4.5-6m) of the dead stalk.
APPLICATIONS: Mullein was first recommended by Dioscorides 2000 years ago to use against pulmonary diseases and is one of the herb’s primary uses to this day, especially against coughs. Mullein is a valuable herb for coughs and congestion, and contains a high level of mucilage. Mucilage is a water soluble heteropolysaccharid that also includes gum and pectins. Due to its mucilage content, mullein is used in antitussive (cough-suppressant) formulas where they can calm the coughing reflex through a sympathetic soothing action on the vagus nerve (which connects the digestive and the respiratory systems of the body). The leaves and flowers may be made into an infusion (tea) to reduce mucus formation and stimulate the coughing up of phlegm, and combines well with other expectorants such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris). It's particularly great for unproductive, smoker's coughs as it loosens and moistens mucus in the lungs and makes it easier to expel. Mullein also helps to expectorate environmental contaminates that get inhaled into the lungs and can cause congestive problems and infections (think construction workers, painters, firefighters, and mechanics).
PREPARATIONS: Mullein leaves are the most commonly used and is the only herb that can help to heal lung tissue as it is being smoked. Mullein leaves are a helpful addition to tobacco when trying to quit smoking and to offset the extremely drying action of cannabis. The leaves can also be tinctured or infused into tea, tinctures, syrups, and oxymels.
Chevallier, A. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. 1996.
CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism - Materia Medica course
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.