Mullein, Common Mullein.
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
Europe, Asia, Africa.
Mullein has naturalized in many places across Canada and the US. It's tall yellow flower spikes and grey-green leaves are a common sight along the dry sunny roadsides throughout the interior of BC.
In its first year Mullein grows a low basal rosette of soft fuzzy grey-green leaves about 1 or 2 feet wide. In the summer of its second year it sends up an impressive flower spike up to 8 feet tall and decorated in small lemon-yellow flowers.
Full sun, well-drained soil.
The seeds a very tiny and can be sown outdoors on the surface of the soil in fall or early spring, or started in flats and kept evenly moist until germination.
Mullein is very drought tolerant. It does not need staking as it holds itself up just fine. The spend flowers can be cut back, or the entire plant pulled after flowering to prevent self-seeding.
The leaves can be harvested in the first or second summer, the flowers in bloom, and the roots in the fall of the first year only.
The flowers could be added to salads or used as a garnish.
In the apothecary Mullein has an affinity for the lungs and the bones. The tea or tincture made from the leaves can be used as a respiratory tonic, and is especially good for dry hoarse coughs, bronchitis, asthma, and wheezing and tightness in the lungs. It is energetically cooling and moist and helps to calm inflammation and promote fluid production to clear the lungs.
Mullein for the muscular skeletal system to which it also lends its cool moist nature, soothing and lubricating stiff and inflamed joints and helping to bring the spine in alignment. It is a bit of a nervine as well and the flower tincture is helpful for irritability and nerve related tension.