My medicinal plant for the month of June is Mullein. This introduced European plant is now widespread all over North America. It is abundant on Lasqueti in any dry rocky area. Mullein is a biennial, growing a basal rosette of leaves in the first year, then in the second year the tall stalk and flowers appear. Many people know of the medicinal uses of its leave and flowers, but there are some lesser know properties of the root that I have found the most useful of all. All parts can be used as a tea or tinctured, and the flowers can be infused in oil.
The leaves are great for lung congestion and dry hollow coughs. They are expectorant, helping to bring up old phlegm as well as being moistening and soothing to the lungs. It is great to drink the tea also for asthma, allergies, or when there are airborne irritants like smog or forest fires. It is best to strain the tea very well, as there are tiny fine hairs that some people find irritating.
Mullein flowers are commonly infused into oil to be used for ear infections. They are antiinflammatory, painkilling and move congested lymph in the ear canal. This oil can also be effective for facial nerve pain. To make an oil, pick a bunch of the flowers, let them wilt for a day to lose some of their moisture, and then cover with oil in a jar and let sit in the sun for 2 weeks. It is best to leave the lid open a bit or cover with cloth to allow moisture to escape.
Mullein root is best dug up in the spring of first year plants, the second year roots are too dry and woody. It has two specific uses. First, it helps with urinary incontinence or lack of urinary control. It helps to strengthen and tone the sphincters of the urinary tract and acts as a soothing diuretic, increasing volume but decreasing frequency of urination. In this capacity it is useful in bladder infections, Interstitial Cystitis, Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, or just in people who find they need to get up and pee too many times in the night. The other use for mullein root is for nerve pain, especially in the spine. It supports the connective tissue and synovial fluid and is anti-inflammatory to the nervous system. I have seen it be really effective for back pain when nothing else has seemed to help.
Go ahead and harvest some of this abundant plant, and if you have any questions you can contact me at: email@example.com.
Thanks for reading, Jessica Slavik, Clinical Herbalist.