The Q&A Archives: Mullien

Question: My mother has a plant that she thinks grows wild in Southern Illinois. It is about five feet tall now and blooming with a yellow spike bloom. It seems to be related to lamb's ear. Can you tell me more about this plant? Is it in the mint family? Were there medicinal uses?

Answer: I think what you are talking about is "Olympic Mullein", also known as Verbascum. I've heard folks call it "Mullen" in my area too. It is not a member of the mint family, but the genus Scrophulariaceae. It's a biennial plant growing 3'-6' tall, with large, wooly leaves and a large spike of lemon yellow flowers. The flowers have been used to treat coughs, congestion, and tuberculosis. You can find more information on the medicinal uses in the book 'Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs', ISBN# 0-87857-699-1.

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