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Wildflowers: Mullein Flowers

One warm summer’s day I was out on errands and noticed a disturbed building lot. I had passed this way many times and noted that nothing much had happened.  Empty and fallow, I noticed that the wildflowers were blooming. Then tall spikes of mullein caught my eye. So I stopped and walked in. An unusual site greeted me. Several dozens of second year tall mullein stalks formed a circle. Surprised and curious I walked around the inside. I usually kept tobacco in my car and went back to the car and brought some out.

My Native American friends taught me to offer a prayer of thanks, leaving a pinch of tobacco behind before I picked anything. Silently,  I asked permission to pick some. Feeling positive (an intuitive indication that it was okay to be here and pick flowers and leaves) I gathered bright yellow flowers randomly from the tall stems, a few here and a few there.  I felt joy and a connection to this “find’. I walked in each direction, picking and giving thanks till I completed the circle.

I did not strip the plants. Most were left intact when I left. I gathered enough flowers to place in a small jelly type jar so I could make fresh mullein flower oil when I returned home. I gathered a few leaves to dry to keep on hand when winter came to have for tea if anyone got a cough or cold.

Mullein Flowers: bright yellow, about an inch long can be found near the top 4-6 inches. They are formed of five rounded petals. These petals can easily be gathered  individually and then dropped into your container and then filled with extra virgin olive oil.

Mullein flower oil:

  1. Take a small 4 oz jar.
  2. Fill half to two thirds full of fresh picked mullein flowers.
  3. Fill the jar with extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Let this oil/flowers mixture sit for 4-6 weeks in a sunny place.
  5. Shake frequently. You can also add a clove or two of garlic if you intend to use this for earaches.
  6. At the end of 6 weeks, strain.
  7. I have found this oil especially helpful for swimmers ear and earaches in general. It is soothing when at room temperature for earaches and is also helpful to rub on swollen glands.

Caution: do not put anything in the ear if you suspect a ruptured ear drum. Get your ear checked first if you have any doubt.

When I used mullein flower oil for my children’s earaches  I found the following helpful:

1. I would warm a 1/2 to 1/4 tsp mullein flower oil in a teaspoon. I always tested the warmth on myself first.

2.  I would place about 5-6 drops in affected ear and kept the child flat for at least ten minutes. Then he  could get up and resume normal activity.  I found this helpful and soothing to any irritation the child was experiencing.

I have often used mullein flower oil on myself and found it very soothing, too. Frequent application, i.e. placing the  oil in ear 3-4 times /day for 3-4 days made the difference. Any pain, swelling, bubbling that last longer could be a symptom of a rupture and/or serious infection brewing. Please check with your health care provider if problem persists.

Tall, wooly mullein, another plant that came with the early settlers to America graces our roadways.  Have you noticed any in your area? If you should see one or two along the way remember they are medicinal and easy to harvest.  When I stopped this day and gathered from an unused building lot I felt privileged to walk in a circle among them.

Enjoy this beautiful day. Judith



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