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Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Aaron's rod, Adam's flannel, beggar's blanket, beggar's flannel, beggar's stalk, big taper, blanket herb, blanket leaf, bullock's lungwort, candlewick plant, clot, clown's lungwort, common mullein, cuddy's lungs, duffle, feltwort, flannel plant, fluffweed, golden rod, great mullein, hag's taper, hare's taper, Jacob's staff, jupiter's staff, molene, mullein, mullein dock, old man's flannel, our lady's flannel, Peter's staff, rag paper, Scrophulariaceae (family), shepherd's club, shepherd's staff, torch, torches, velvet dock, velvet plant, Verbascum densiflorum, Verbascum fruticulosum, Verbascum lychnitis, Verbascum macrurum, Verbascum nigrum, Verbascum nobile, Verbascum phlomoides, Verbascum sinaiticum,Verbascum songaricum, Verbascum thapsiforme, Verbascum thapsus, Verbascum undulatum, white mullein, wild ice, wild ice leaf, woollen, wooly mullein, wooly mullin.
  • Combination product examples: Naturopathic Herbal Extract Ear Drops (Allium sativum, Verbascum thapsus, Calendula flores, Hypericum perfoliatum, lavender, and vitamin E in olive oil), Otikon Otic Solution (Allium sativum, Verbascum thapsus, Calendula flores, and Hypericum perforatum in olive oil).
  • Note: The common name mullein is associated with many different species. The following species are covered here: Verbascum densiflorum, Verbascum fruticulosum, Verbascum lychnitis, Verbascum macrurum, Verbascum nigrum, Verbascum nobile, Verbascum phlomoides, Verbascum sinaiticum, Verbascum songaricum, Verbascum thapsiforme, Verbascum thapsus, Verbascum undulatum.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Mulleins have been used in natural medicine for centuries and are among the oldest known medicinal plants. They are most commonly used for inflammation in various areas of the body. There is information about mulleins being used for inflammation of the respiratory tract, the kidneys, and the pelvic area.
  • The most commonly reported use is for respiratory tract conditions such as bronchitis and asthma, and also for ear pain associated with ear aches. The proposed mechanism of action is by reducing the amount of mucous formation and as an expectorant (1;2;3).
  • Traditionally, a poultice made from mullein leaves has been used topically to treat ulcers and hemorrhoids (1;4;5).
  • There have been unsupported claims that the roots and the seeds of mullein contain a sapotoxin called rotenone, however, it is unclear whether the quantity is clinically significant (4). Rotenone has been used as an insecticide, which delays cellular respiration.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.