What is Mullein Oil?

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  • Written By: Heather Martin
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 05 February 2020
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Mullein oil is a natural treatment made from an infusion of crushed mullein flowers or roots in olive oil. These flowers and roots from the great mullein plant, Verbascum thapsus, have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Mullein oil is used topically to prevent stretch marks and to treat mouth ulcers, burns, scars, sunburns, bruises and other skin aliments, and the oil can be dropped into the ear as a treatment for earaches or swimmer's ear. Used as eardrops, the oil reduces swelling, eases pain and kills bacterial and fungal infections. Mullein oil is affordable and can be purchased in natural food stores and online, or it can be made at home by people who can positively identify and obtain the plant.

To prevent stretch marks and to treat mouth ulcers, scars and other skin problems, a few drops of mullein oil can be applied to the affected area daily. For earaches, two to five drops can be rubbed on the outside of the ear canal so that the oil falls in. This should be done one to three times daily. The oil should not be dropped directly into the ear, and it never should be applied to a ruptured eardrum. It is best to have a physician check the ear before mullein oil is used.


Mullein oil can be made at home by filling a glass jar with whole fresh or dried mullein flowers and crushing them delicately with a fork. Olive oil is poured over the flowers until they are completely submerged. The oil is then stirred so that air bubbles make their way to the surface. The jar is covered and left to steep in a warm sunny window for one to two weeks. Steeping for an additional week will produce a more potent oil.

After two or three weeks, the plant matter is removed from the oil by using a strainer. This stops the steeping process. The oil should be kept in a dark, cool place and will keep for as long as two years.

Mullein is easy to grow and is a beneficial, attractive plant when included in an herb garden. It thrives in well-drained and rocky soils. The plant needs little water and prefers sunny spots. It blooms yellow flowers in mid- to late summer. The plant can be harvested during the plant's blooming period and leaves and flowers can be dried for year-round use.

When the flowers get wet or turn brown, they become less potent. The leaves of mullein taken internally can soothe the entire respiratory system and induce expectoration. Leaves used as a tea can soothe sore throats and coughs and can induce sleep. Whole or minced leaves can be applied externally as a poultice to reduce skin inflammation and help alleviate pain.

The making of infusions from mullein roots to professionals. The entire plant is believed to have narcotic and sedative properties. The seeds contain potentially harmful saponins and are strongly narcotic, so they should not be used. It also could be confused with a similar-looking plant, foxglove, which is poisonous.

Non-medicinal uses for this plant include boiling flowers in water to make a yellow dye. A infusion of the flowers in water can be used to dye hair a more golden color. Dried mullein leaves are flammable and can be used to start fires quickly or can be used as wicks.


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