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mullein in permaculture  RSS feed

 
ronie dee
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Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:
Just as I was about to transplant all my little mullein seedlings to form a 'garden' around our composting loo, I read this ....

"Mullein tea is made from the leaves of a 1st-year plant and is considered a good cough suppressant. A similar tea can be made from the root after cleaning, peeling, and dicing. Although the leaves feel soft and fuzzy they do not make good "wild" toilet paper as the small hairs can get stuck in your skin which is very uncomfortable."
http://www.foragingtexas.com/2006/12/mullien.html

So, user beware!  I've changed my plans!




This year I noticed that the second year leaves have less and smaller hairs than the first year leaves...SO I'm wondering, again, if the second year leaves might be used for toilet paper substitute.

Also wondering which leaves to use for tea etc. Since it is biennial, and since the second year leaves are far less hairy, perhaps there is a difference as to the uses of the plants leaves, from first year to second year.
 
paul wheaton
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Gordon Hogenson wrote:
This mullein plant is not planted by us. I think it came in with some compost we had delivered a few years ago to start our vegetable garden.  We welcomed it!  It's growing in rich garden soil normally reserved for our veggies.



I think THAT would make a good video.  You could say how it doesn't hurt anything, supposedly brings good luck, builds the soil ... 
 
paul wheaton
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbascum_thapsus

V. thapsus is known by a variety of names. European reference books call it "Great mullein".[26][27][28] In North America, "Common mullein" is used [29][30] while western United States residents commonly refer to mullein as "Cowboy Toilet Paper"


AKA:  "adam's flannel"

I found via google that you can buy 10,000 seeds for $4.

 
Tim Canton
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its a great pioneer plant.  will grow anywhere.  Produces lots of leaves good for mulch or rotting.  It will self sow readily.  I have also read that it is an indicator of soil contamination.  if the stalk grows twisted or distorted it is a sign of metal or chemical contamination.  so a great way to test a suspected site of contamination perhaps
 
                              
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My grandfather, who was a farmer in Georgia, used to make a liniment from mullein root for his mule. There was always a HUGE mullein plant beside the stable just inside the paddock. It may have just looked huge to me as a kid, but my recollection is that it grew to about three quarters of the height of the wall, which was at least 10 feet high at that point.

I recall it having a very long tap root, unlike someone else on this forum mentioned. However, it was growing in some pretty rich soil in that location.
 
Barbara Greene
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Hi Paul,
Finally, a topic I can contribute to!  Last year we had a new driveway dug and graveled and this year we have hundreds if not thousands of mullein plants. I could send you loads of photos of these, sorry I don't quite have the video techniques to film and upload to You Tube yet.
Here are a couple of pictures, let me know if you want more.
PS the cows here do chew on the mullein occasionally, but don't seem to really like to eat it much.
Barbara in Tonasket WA
PPS I do think the plants growing along the drive reflect evidence of herbicide application, the rancher who we have a grazing lease with us said he was trying to "get rid of" the hound's tongue (toxic to cattle) which was also growing along the road.
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I am interested in the video but I will have to see if my neighbor has video capabilities.  I have the cheapest possible phone plan with no extra anything.

In the meantime I will try to take some pics of her plants.  I have been dragging my feet about collecting seed but after reading this thread again I have the perfect spot!
 
Jamie Jackson
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I didn't have time to read all the posts, but great pictures.  Our mullein are just about done flowering for this year.  I took this picture in May before it sent up a flower stalk that then split into 3 heads.  I collect some of the flowers from the 2nd year mullein for ear oil and I collect the leaves from the 1st year mullein to smoke or drink as tea for lung problems.  This particular Mullein has been one of my favorites ever.  So huge, wish you could see the beast now.  I might take a picture of it later this evening.

 
paul wheaton
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I suppose for some of the pictures I could do a skype call and record a voice-over.  When i start putting the video together, I'll ask folks that have posted here about that.


 
Tim Canton
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ronie wrote:
This year I noticed that the second year leaves have less and smaller hairs than the first year leaves...SO I'm wondering, again, if the second year leaves might be used for toilet paper substitute.

Also wondering which leaves to use for tea etc. Since it is biennial, and since the second year leaves are far less hairy, perhaps there is a difference as to the uses of the plants leaves, from first year to second year.

the plant does not flower until 2nd year growth so perhaps its just different energy?  the leaves are all said to be the same medicinally in either year.
 
                        
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can anyone speak to the aphrodisiac properties of mullein?  I've heard rumors and wondered...?
 
Jamie Jackson
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mtnmel, no I don't but I know someone who would probably know.  I'll ask.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Yes, great info all around!

christine lawson wrote:
   Yes, those fine hairs can be very irritating, it won't hurt the average gardener's hands, tough as they are, but more delicate areas...I've heard stories. So it's best to strain the tea of the leaves, too, before drinking.


Could it be that the fine hairs are more course on the second year plants and not on the first year rosettes?

In the strange uses department (though not aphrodisiac, sorry) a friend told us that putting a mullein leaf under your pillow enhances dreaming. My teenage son tried it, and while it could have been just the suggestion or a placebo effect, he thought it worked and did it again for several nights after! He might be hooked... 
 
Mariah Wallener
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We have lots of mullein here (Verbascum thapsus just to be sure we're talking about the same thing). I'm on Vancouver Island, zone 8-ish. According to my local plant book "sore-footed hikers can take advantage of the soft padded, natural insoles (the leaves) of mullein". It is apparently "a Eurasian weed now widely established in much of temperate North America".

Oh, and Paul, I'm down with the video challenge. I'll get my 9 year old videographer to assist me!
 
julian lamarche
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we love the it.  good luck on your new video paul. 
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Jamie Jackson
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From Jim McDonald, herbalist extraordinaire:

"OK, not heard of an aphrodisiac use, though I could see a "doctrine of signatures" approach to looking at the plant might make some ideas pop up...

on the toilet paper thing:

the irritating nature of mullein hairs is actually well established, as one of the names for the plant is quaker rouge... quaker girls, not allowed to wear make up, would rub the leaves on their cheeks. The tiny hairs would cause irritation, resulting in a reddedning of the cheeks - hence "rouge".

In classes, I have people pass around a leaf and rub it on the soft skin on the inside of their arm. Some people don't react at all, some do a little bit and show redness, others get red and itchy. I suggest that they should try rubbing it on their arm before anywhere that would be awkward to be scratching incessently. So, its not necassarily and issue with the leaves and when are the leaves going to be more or less irritating, its "how reactive to it is the person rubbing it in a given spot?"

Four real good presentations on mullein (one mine):

Mullein (jim mcdonald)
` http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html


A Golden Torch: Mullein’s Healing Light (kiva rose)
` http://bearmedicineherbals.com/a-golden-torch-mullein%E2%80%99s-healing-light.html


Mullein (ryan drum)
` http://ryandrum.com/threeherbs1.htm#mullein


Mullein root (christa sinadinos)
` http://medherb.com/eletter/Mullein-Sinadinos.pdf

Do ask what the liniment for the mule was for, and any elab from the person asking about it as an aphrodisiac...

first year plants do generally have small shallow growing roots, but damn if they don't taste very mineral rich."
 
ronie dee
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OK Thanks.

Nobody mentioned that some smoke the leaves for asthma... seems wrong to me, but I've read that some smoke it and get asthma relief..
 
Jordan Lowery
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smoking small amounts does help with asthma, but dropping some chopped leaves in a big bowl of hot water and putting your face over then covering with a towel imo is more effective. the smoking does work faster though.
 
Jamie Jackson
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Yes I mentioned that we smoke the leaves. Nothing wrong with it at all and it was the traditional remedy for lung problems.
 
Dave Bennett
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It works well for other lung problems also.  I experimented using the leaf in an incense blend.  It seems to help with mild chest congestion that way.
 
Lisa Allen
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Mullein (Verbascum spp.) is awesome for coughs and anything with lungs.  In fact, many who dry the plant use it as a base for a smoking mixture.  Since it is mild-tasting, other things can be added - see http://www.botanicalstudies.net/herbalism/smoking.php

As for other uses, Dr. Christopher combined 3/4 Mullein with 1/4 Lobelia and used it internally and externally for ANY glandular condition or imbalance - it works REALLY good too! 
 
Jordan Lowery
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a friend came over and took this photo with his phone, this is mullein growing wild in the forest garden.
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Mullein in South Carolina:

I cannot get video but here are some pics of my neighbors plants.  I have cut a couple of stalks to plant the seed at my place. 
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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More South Carolina Mullien:
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Melba Corbett
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Chefmom wrote:
pick the flowers as they bloom and infuse in some olive oil with a clove of crushed garlic.  Use a few drops in a heavy loaded wax ear or a very itchy ear.

Tami


The above mentioned oil is good for ear pain (usually from an infection), or as a hemorrhoid ointment.  Mullein has analgesic properties, so it can alleviate pain. 

Some cultures would use mullein leaves in their shoes after a hard day working in the field because of the soothing and deadening effect it had on nerve endings.  It helped the sore, tired feet.  Cherokee people revered this as one of their sacred plants, used as medicine only, and definitely not as toilet paper.  It was too sacred for that.  Mullein, burned, so that you can inhale the smoke, is good for breathing problems such as emphysema.  Also the tea made from the leaves, simmer 20 minutes on low and steep until it cools.  Strain, sweeten with a good honey and drink a cup of that per day for 30 days.  Make it fresh every day if you can, or refrigerate for not more than a few days.  This is also good for chronic respiratory problems, even asthma.  The root of the mullein can be brewed into a decoction the same way, but it requires more cooking time.  This is used for relaxing spasms of the trigon area of the urinary tract, which helps incontinence if it is caused from that.  Native Americans used to use the seed spike to thrash the water when fishing.  It would temporarily anesthetize the fish who floated to the surface.  They picked what they wanted and the rest recovered and swam away.  Some cultures also dipped the mature seed spike into lard or other animal fat and used as a torch.  I think it is a most useful plant and no wonder may cultures regarded it as sacred.

When gathering leaves, remember the strength is in the leaf in early season before it starts seeding out.  When seeds form, the energy of the plant goes into the seed.  In winter, dormant season, the most potent part of the plant is the root. 
 
Nicanor Garza
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This mullein was especially interesting, when I got this on my email I didnt think much about it so I deleted it. One day  I visited my great grandmothers place and check the soil quality in her garden again, I mean this soil is in the worst condition,I mean its the driest silty dirt and gets constant full sun, and there it was, a mullein plant.
So I went back to my trash bin to read about it and learned that this is a pioneer plant that is valued for its medicinal value for making tea for congestion.
thanks for sending this newsletter.
Ill try to send a picture of it to show the soil its growing in.
 
rose macaskie
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I was looking up mullen yesterday without knowing about this bit of the forums, there are two bits of information i got that are not here.
  Apparently their seeds need light to germinate so they are more likely to grow on bare overgrazed land than in places covered in plants, so scrap a bare patch where the seeds are exposed to sunlight if you want to plant their seeds.

  I also read they help hayfever and i like the why, they increase the mucose in your nose an lungs so no irritants come in contact with the skin of these organs.
    Hay fever gives one what is called in england a runny nose, maybe too runny, maybe mullien gives you a more consistent type of mucosities. That is from dried root root cut into chumks and used as tea, my father would say rot, he doesnot aprove of heb medicne, now doctors have looked into all the supposed properties of these plants, pharmaceutical industries want new drugs and all discription of medicinal properties include a pharacist explaination. If i remember right  mentioning that mullein  increase mucosity is the officail medical  account of why mulien works not the it works because experience has taught us that it does account.
      Apparently it is good smoked i dont much feel like smoking again but smoking is the quickest way to get relief from hay fever according to one writer.
          My very conservativ old step father used to smoke marijuan for asthma. Conservative but who had a sense of humor capable of taking a secret pleasure in this bit of decadence in his sober life. agri rose macaskie.
 
Nicanor Garza
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I got the pictures in, just look at the soil condition in the background.
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Jordan Lowery
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wow thats a monster mullein, be sure to save seeds from that one.
 
                                      
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Red Cloud 31 wrote:
Native Americans used to use the seed spike to thrash the water when fishing.  It would temporarily anesthetize the fish who floated to the surface.  They picked what they wanted and the rest recovered and swam away. 


if anyone successfully uses this method of fish harvesting, please let me know what you did, for example, how many seed spikes, age of spikes (still has some flowers, way dried and gone, etc.), how administered to the water (soak for 20 min's, beat surface, etc.) and what the water conditions were like (contained pond, flowing stream, etc.).  catching grasshoppers is for the birds

thanks.
 
rose macaskie
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  That bit of ground looks very dry and hard and plantless. I know that land in hot countries salts up easily from the use of fertilisers or manure where there is not much rain to wash salts through, hopfully into rivers and off to the sea rather than salting up anceint underground lakes and othe rdeposites tha tcould be usefull to us if they stay fresh, but have you tried to dress it with a bit of manure? We had a bit of land where nothign evver grew and my husband put a bit of manure on it and wild plants including mullen grew out of it like crazy, it seems the soil was full of there seed tah only needed some nutrient to germinate. t
  As well as being a strip of ground that suddenly got some nutrients, it was also a strip next to a bit we had just concreted over for the car and it seems to me that maybe a lot of moisture gets held under paved areas, maybe helping the plants adjacent to the paved area.   
    That is the problem with drawing conclusions about what works from observing what has happened in my garden, there are usualy two or three factors that could have caused the change. agri rose macaskie.
 
Nicanor Garza
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rose macaskie wrote:
  That bit of ground looks very dry and hard and plantless. I know that land in hot countries salts up easily from the use of fertilisers or manure where there is not much rain to wash salts through, hopfully into rivers and off to the sea rather than salting up anceint underground lakes and othe rdeposites tha tcould be usefull to us if they stay fresh, but have you tried to dress it with a bit of manure? We had a bit of land where nothign evver grew and my husband put a bit of manure on it and wild plants including mullen grew out of it like crazy, it seems the soil was full of there seed tah only needed some nutrient to germinate. t
   As well as being a strip of ground that suddenly got some nutrients, it was also a strip next to a bit we had just concreted over for the car and it seems to me that maybe a lot of moisture gets held under paved areas, maybe helping the plants adjacent to the paved area.   
    That is the problem with drawing conclusions about what works from observing what has happened in my garden, there are usualy two or three factors that could have caused the change. agri rose macaskie.
Yah it is, if you look just at the base of the fence line there is a cement wall that separates it from the neighbors yards, it used to be all hill but had to be walled in and filled with dirt from idont know where. As for trying to use manure we have had success with that but is quite hard to maintain it all every year.
When my great grandpa Bud kept the soil fertile he use plants like hairy vetch for a cover crop for his garden space, now its just a silty dirt, but I may just change all that soon because iv been doing a little cover crop experiment of my own.
when you mentioned about moisture being trapped under a pavement I thought the same thing because there is a horseradish plant that seems to do well even in that hot weather.
One more thing id like to mention is that my grandma has a wild variety of rose an extremely thorny kind that grows well on that same plot just 7' to the right of the mullein, she calls it a rambling rose.
Also thanks for the response, it was quite inspiring.
 
Steven Baxter
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Could mullein be used in some desert areas in Arizona to help amend the soil? Say if you just got a bucket full of seeds and tossed them everywhere.
 
paul wheaton
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I think this may very well be the best movie ever about mullein:



 
                        
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keralee wrote:
another use for the dried mullein stalks, reputedly, is a replacement for candle wicking.  My chickens eat all parts of the plant.  Birds perch on it, eat the seeds, sing the plants awake.  Mary Summer Rain says the seeds are edible for people too.  But maybe a lot of work to collect enough.  Enjoyable and pretty too.


We have mullein growing all over our property and I hoped to use it for chicken treats but have read several places that it's toxic to chickens (the rotenone or whatever it is). Have your chickens had any effect from it?
 
rose macaskie
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It was great having a lot of people all talking about mullien on the same video and same topic I do like seeing a lot of people.  Glad to have the business about only use its leaves as wipe with the grain not against it. I had a sort of memory of mullein beign sort of prickly and then i heard about all these people using it as lavatory paper and began to think they must use it just the one way. rose
 
Kirk Hutchison
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I just found a five foot tall mullein plant on a hike. I made sure to collect some seeds, since my garden didn't have any. It soon will
 
John Polk
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Two things to be cautious about:

   * Mullein was introduced to the Americas for its medicinal and piscicidal properties.  The seeds and leaves kill fish.
      Keep it away from your pond!
   * Mullein is a host of various diseases that can kill members of the curcubit family (squash, melon, cucumber).
      Keep at a safe distance.

 
Vova Wasabi
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What I do is I put a couple of mullein leaves together, roll them into a cylinder, tie with some string to keep the form, and dry for a week. When ready, apply fire to one end of the cylinder and inhale from the other.

What better way to ingest an herb that helps the respiratory system than by smoking it?!?

Other than the propaganda of marijuana and tobacco, I was first introduced to herb smoking with mugwort, just by reading about it. Then I looked into what other stuff people smoke, and mixed in with controlled substances was my old friend mullein. It additionally servers as a great substitute for rolling paper, and since my first encounter with the home made 100% mullein cigar, I've resorted to using it to contain other smokable herbs, mixing in mugwort, mint, and chamomile.

Let me know if you guys want to amend the mullein video with Forest and sharing some mullein smokes. Even though he's 16, it's legal!
 
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