Mullein has been used for centuries to treat a variety of respiratory problems and help alleviate irritations in the lungs and throat. Mullein acts as a pain reliever, diuretic, antiseptic and antibacterial agent. It contains high amounts of iron and is a good supply of vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12 and niacin.
Mullein contains a substance called mucilage, a saponin that helps lubricate mucus membranes soothing raw irritated tissues. As an expectorant, mullein helps expel excess phlegm from the lungs. The tannins in mullein are beneficial for reducing swollen and inflamed respiratory passages, making it a popular treatment for asthma, bronchitis, swollen glands and breathing difficulties.
Mullein has also been known to relieve constipation, counter-act sleeplessness, protect the kidneys, and help ease nervous tension.
Mullein is native to Europe and Asia, although it has been naturalized in the U.S. It bears yellow clustered flowers, and is known by many names including Donkey's Ears, Bunny's Ears and Velvet Plant. The plant has a long history of use in many cultures. In medieval Europe, "witches" used it in incantations, brews and love potions. It has a high mucilage content and contains mild saponins, making it suitable for occasional needs of the respiratory system. Mullein contains iron, magnesium, potassium, sulfur and calcium phosphate.