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Mullein Magic: Harvesting and Using Nature’s Gift

Hey there sweet friends! 🌿 Today, let's chat about a plant you can wild harvest that grows in abundance here in North Idaho (and in most other states too!). Whether you’ve spotted its tall, yellow-flowered stalks while out on a walk or heard whispers about its healing properties, mullein is a plant worth knowing. So, grab a cup of your favorite herbal tea, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of mullein – how to harvest it, use it, and enjoy its numerous benefits.

Meet Mullein: Nature’s Versatile Healer

Mullein, scientifically known as Verbascum thapsus, is a biennial plant that’s easy to spot with its tall, velvety leaves and bright yellow flowers. It’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine, and for good reason! Mullein offers a variety of benefits, especially for respiratory health. Here are some of its top perks:

1. Respiratory Relief: Mullein is renowned for its ability to soothe respiratory issues. It can help clear congestion, reduce inflammation, and ease coughing – making it a go-to for colds and bronchitis.

2. Anti-inflammatory: The plant’s anti-inflammatory properties are great for reducing inflammation in the body, whether it’s in the lungs or elsewhere.

3. Antiviral and Antibacterial: Mullein has natural antiviral and antibacterial properties, which can help fend off infections.

4. Pain Relief: Topically, mullein can be used to relieve pain and irritation from minor burns, rashes, and insect bites.

Harvesting Mullein: A Simple Guide

Harvesting mullein is pretty straightforward. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Identify the Plant: Make sure you’re harvesting the right plant (I love the Picture This app for helping you identify your native plants). Mullein’s large, fuzzy leaves and tall flower spikes are pretty dang distinctive, and hard to get wrong.

2. Pick the Right Time: The best time to harvest mullein leaves is in the first year of its growth, before the plant flowers. Or for older plants, harvest the new young leaves in the center prior to the plant flowering. For flowers, pick them in the morning after the dew has dried, during the plant’s second year.

3. Harvesting Leaves: Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaves near the base. Aim for the larger, healthy leaves and avoid any that look damaged or diseased.

4. Harvesting Flowers: Gently pluck the flowers when they’re fully open. They’re delicate, so handle them with care.

5. Drying: Spread the leaves and flowers out on a clean, dry surface in a warm, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Turn them occasionally until they’re completely dry, which can take a few days to a week. You can also use a dehydrator on a very low heat; I usually set mine at 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using Mullein: Simple and Effective

Once you’ve harvested and dried your mullein, there are several ways to use it:

1. Mullein Tea:

- Ingredients: 1-2 teaspoons of dried mullein leaves or flowers, hot water, honey or lemon (optional)

- Instructions: Steep the dried mullein in hot water for about 10-15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh to remove any tiny hairs from the leaves, then sweeten with honey or lemon if desired. Sip and enjoy the soothing benefits!

2. Mullein Tincture:

- Fill a jar with fresh or dried mullein leaves, then cover with a high-proof alcohol like vodka.

- Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking it occasionally.

- Strain the liquid into a clean bottle and use a few drops as needed for respiratory relief.

3. Mullein Oil:

- Fill a jar with dried mullein flowers and cover with olive oil.

- Place the jar in a sunny spot and let it infuse for 2-3 weeks, shaking occasionally.

- Strain the oil and store it in a dark bottle. This oil can be used for earaches or as a soothing topical treatment.

Mullein is truly a gift from nature with its wide range of uses and benefits. From soothing sore throats to clearing up respiratory issues, to easing earaches, this versatile plant is a must-have in any herbalist’s arsenal. So next time you come across those towering, fuzzy-leafed plants, take a moment to appreciate their beauty and consider bringing some mullein magic into your own life.

Happy harvesting and stay healthy, friends! 🌿✨

Pssst... I'm going to be sharing lots of live videos during this wildcrafting season for my Instagram subscribers so if you aren't yet subscribed you can pop on over to my feed and jump in for lots of wildcrafting fun and good info to get you started making your own medicines!



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