Hag’s Taper: Stories of Marvelous Mullein

Verbascum; Scrophulariaceae

Mullein is such a healing plant, that there is hardly an area of the body or spirit that its chemicals and components don’t aid. In fall time, I think of mullein as I hear people around me start to cough and feel the effects of autumnal air on lungs. I also think of mullein as the light starts to slant, and the air changes to that certain shade of crisp and cool….women used to dip the dried stalks of mullein in fat and use them as candlesticks to light the darkness (thus the name Hag’s Taper).

To me, mullein represents strength and hardiness. It strengthens my lungs and helps them expectorate. It strengthens my immune system, helping to reduce inflammation in my lungs and body, and to resist allergic reaction. Maybe that strength and power is why both in Europe and Asia the power of driving away evil spirits was ascribed to the Mullein. Being a sure safeguard against evil spirits and magic, and from the ancient classics, it was this plant which Ulysses was said to have taken to protect himself against the wiles of Circe.

Great Mullein has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries, and that knowledge is now backed by many scientific studies.

The whole plant possess slightly sedative and narcotic properties. The sedative part may be why it’s so helpful with lung ailments—relaxing and releasing what the lungs are holding. Mullein is also an antihistamine, an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, antiviral, slows the heart rate, and has been shown to have anti-cancer properties as well.

It can be used as a strong insecticide—insects stay far away from its constituents.


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