Other names: flannel mullein, bullock’s lungwort, flannel flower, flannel mullein, greater mullein, shephard’s club, hare’s beard, pig taper, cow’s lungwort

Scientific name: Vaerbascum thapsus

Common names:                                          

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    بوصير (boo seer)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort)

Approximate number of species known: 250

Common parts used: Leaf, flower, root


Annual/Perennial: Biennial

Height: 1-8 feet

Actions:  Anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic anodyne, astrigent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, emollient, pectoral, vulnerary

Known Constituents: Mucilage, gum, saponins, oil, flavanoids including hesperidin and verbascoside, glycosides including aucubin

Constituents Explained:


Native to Europe, Asia, North Africa and grown in Australia and America.

Has a long straight yellow spike.  

The small yellow flowers are shaped around the upper stem and are sessile (picture), they appear in the 2nd year.  The flowers have five stamen attached to the petals, a calyx tube with five lobes???, and a corolla with 5 petals???

In the 1st year gray-green leaves grow in a rosette and are large, and broadly oval or oblanceolate (picture).  The leaves are so hairy they alsmot feel like felt, and can grow as large as 50cm long.

In the second year a stem normally appears that grows 1-2m tall.  

The seeds live a long time, some people suggest upto 100 years, with the majority of seeds falling to the ground within 5m of the plant  It doesn’t survive well when in shade from other plants.

Certain bees use the hair on the plant to make nests.

It tends to appear after forest fires.

It produces a taproot.

Traditional Use:

A herb that is primarily thought of for the lungs.  It is used to relieve inflammtion through the lungs and tone the mucous membranes.  Cases of bronchitis, or soreness in the chest sees Mullein called upon. Its an-inflammaotry properties normally extend to other inflammation throughout the respisraotry system syc g as in the trachea.

It is also a very powerful stomach ulcer remedy.  Herbalists of yesteryear would recommend Mullein tea in milk to relieve the pain of stomach ulcers.  The milk was included to function like a ‘glue’ to adhere it to the stomach wall for a longer duration of transit through the digestive system.

The flowers have been used as a nervine and to induce sleep.1    In large doses the flowers have been used as a laxative.1 Has been used as a non addictive pain killer.1

It is sometimes used as an anti-inflammatory externally with olive oil.

The oil has been used for earaches , sunburns, rashes, inflammation, hameorroids and bruises.

The leaf has been used as a substitute for toilet paper.  When the plant is kept in a bucket of water it will tend to continue to floer for a few weeks after.

The root is usally used for digestion and nervous problems, in contrast to the leaves and flowers that are usually used for the respiratory system.

Externally it has been used for skin problems.

Clinical Studies:



Herb Name:  Mullein

Other names:

White Mullein, 


Mullein Dock,

Our Lady’s Flannel, 

Velvet Dock,

Blanket Herb, 

Velvet Plant,


Rag Paper, 

Candlewick Plant, 

Wild Ice Leaf

Latin name: Verbascum thapsus

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Common part used: 

Leaves, flowers, root

Mullein is an easy to grow herb, often seen in disturbed areas such as fields and ditches. A multi-purpose herb, mullein offers many healing abilities from its flowers, leaves and root. Mullein is also a lovely addition to your landscaping. The stalk can grow 6 feet high, the leaves can grow up to 2 feet across. Try growing a beautiful specimen in an area that bees can enjoy the blossoms, and birds can eat the seeds.

Medicinal Uses: The Mullein has very markedly demulcent, emollient and astringent properties, which render it useful in pectoral complaints and bleeding of the lungs and bowels. The whole plant seems to possess slightly sedative and narcotic properties.

It is considered of much value in phthisis and other wasting diseases, palliating the cough and staying expectoration, consumptives appearing to benefit greatly by its use, being given in the form of an infusion. 

The dried leaves are sometimes smoked in an ordinary tobacco pipe to relieve the irritation of the respiratory mucus membranes, and will completely control, it is said, the hacking cough of consumption. They can be employed with equal benefit when made into cigarettes, for asthma and spasmodic coughs in general.

Mullein is said to be of much value in diarrhoea, from its combination of demulcent with astringent properties, by this combination strengthening the bowels at the same time. In diarrhcea the ordinary infusion is generally given, but when any bleeding of the bowels is present, the decoction prepared with milk is recommended.