Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mullein Root?

A few weeks ago I came across a really interesting article on various uses for mullein. If you live in a similar bioregion to mine (southern Indiana) this is a good time to gather some first year mullein. I'm seeing it sprouting up in lots of places. I've been gathering both leaves and roots of these sprightly plants, harvesting what I can before the snow comes.

You can read this fascinating account of mullein over at Jim McDonald's website, Herbcraft. I had never heard of people using mullein root, just its leaves and flowers. So I was game, and made a tincture of the root, those first-year roots of the young plants, before they send up their flower stalk. I think the roots get too woody after the flower stalk blossoms. Anyway, I haven't had any issues with my spine, nor has anyone I know, so I haven't been able to test whether this tincture is as excellent for backs and joints as McDonald says yet, but I will.

I also have a lot of the leaves currently drying for various cough preparations (teas or tinctures). I expect we'll have uses for it this winter if/when colds and flus become a problem around here. I've posted on mullein in earlier posts, if you're interested. Do check out McDonald's article though. Very interesting!

I'll leave it up to you to read McDonald on using the roots for spine problems, but if it is as efficacious as he says, then there's lots of times this tincture would be useful. I scarcely know anyone who doesn't occasionally hurt their backs, whether it is muscle spasms or slipped disks. Backs, knees and joints are usual problem areas in the human body, quite common for any older person to have aches and pains with these.

I'm still suffering with the whatever I have, the excess mucus problem, but now my body is readily expelling the stuff. Yesterday I had lots of energy, the day before none at all, and today I'm doing OK. Not all better yet, but OK. Enough to get some things done, which is nice. It is HARD to sit around being sick as a dog when there's a lot of work to do.

I don't know about where you are, but here it is a glorious Indian Summer kind of day. Crisp, cool, warm in the sun. I think I need a hike outside, do a little foraging.


Laurie said...

Thanks for sharing another interesting article. I've been slowly going through your posts as time allows and really enjoy them.

I've nominated you for some awards at my blog, just so you know I'm reading and enjoying your shared thoughts:

jim mcdonald said...

there's also a much longer article on the site that shows a larger picture of how I use mullein with other herbs for back issues:

marlyce said...

My great grandfather used this root in the 1930's and 1940's in eastern Kentucky. However, he used it for his and his neighbors' horses. Apparently, horses can develop intestinal issues and colic. Even vets aren't sure of what causes the illness, but it is serious. Even recently, my friend's horse died of such an issue.
My great grandfather would find the plant, which he pronounced "mullen," harvest the root and boil it. When the solution cooled, he would pour it into a long-necked bottle, and put the neck of the bottle in the horse's nostril. By the next morning, the horse was off its deathbed.
I would like to find this plant, as I live in southern Indiana, but I don't know where to start looking. Please email and let me know.

marlyce said...

By the way, when my great grandfather found the plant, it must'be been during the first year of it as a rosette, and not as an older stalk. My mom told me that it looked like a cabbage head when he used it. I wonder if the root has different properties in its first year as opposed to a mature plant. Do you know?