Mullein tea

The leaves can be used on their own, or you can add flowers. To make the tea, use a good rounded tablespoonful of the dried herb, slightly more of the fresh, according to taste. Pour a mugful of boiling water over it, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain through muslin or a fine sieve to remove any loose leaf hairs if you are using the dried leaf.

Drink freely for dry coughs or any irritation of throat and chest.

Mullein flower oil

Pick the flowers on a dry sunny day, and lay them on a sheet of paper to dry a little overnight. Put them in a small jar and pour enough extra virgin olive oil over them to cover the flowers completely. Close the jar with a piece of cloth held on with a rubber band rather than using a lid - this allows any moisture to escape.

Put the jar on a sunny windowsill for two weeks, stirring every day to keep the flowers submerged in the oil. This is important, as the flowers will tend to float and may go moldy if left exposed.

When the flowers have faded and become quite transparent, the oil is ready to be strained and bottled. Pour through a fine sieve into another jar. There will probably be a layer of water at the bottom of the jar, so the oil needs to be poured slowly and carefully into a third jar, leaving the watery layer behind. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

For earache, put 1 to 3 drops of oil in the affected ear as needed for pain.

Mullein poultice

To make a poultice, lay a few mullein leaves in a dish (for a splinter you'll only need part of a leaf) and pour a little boiling water on them to soften them. Leave until they are cool enough to handle, then place them on the affected part. The poultice can be held on with a bandage, and you can keep it warm by holding a hot water bottle against it.

This is an excellent treatment for removing splinters, to draw boils, to soothe an aching back, and for any lymphatic swellings. It can also be used to help heal broken bones, such as ribs or toes, that cannot be set.

Mullein tea

• dry irritable coughs

bronchitis

• laryngitis

• swollen glands

Mullein flower oil

hemorrhoids & piles

• chilblains

Tip: Don't use a bottle with a pipette top for long-term storage of mullein oil. We have found that volatile oils from the mullein destroy the rubber bulb after a while, and the oil loses its potency.

Mullein poultice

• swollen glands

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