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Mullein has not been significantly investigated under clinical trial conditions, so evidence is derived from traditional, in vitro and animal studies. DEMULCENT AND EMOLLIENT

Traditionally, these actions were thought to occur primarily within the respiratory system, especially the lungs. However, topical preparations of mullein also exert an emollient action on the skin (Blumenthal et al 2000). This is most likely due to the herb's high mucilaginous content.

Clinical note— Natural mucilages found in herbs

Mucilages are large, highly branched polymeric structures made from many different sugar and uronic acid units. They are hydrophilic and are capable of trapping water, causing them to swell in size and develop a gel-like consistency. The gels tend to have soothing properties and can be broken down by bowel flora when taken internally (Mills & Bone 2000). They are known to have beneficial effects on burns, wounds and ulcers when applied externally, and on gastric inflammation and irritation and diarrhoea when taken internally.

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