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The Willow Journal

Healing with Verbascum Thapsus: Mullein

Healing with Verbascum Thapsus: Mullein

The season is upon us for shoveling, skiing, and maybe even slipping on icy sidewalks. It’s a wonderful time to tend and nurture our spine as back pain and related issues can stand in the way of the most basic everyday functions causing stress and frustration.The pain in my leg started 2 years ago after a long plane ride, uncomfortable sleeping conditions, and indulging my love of running steep hills. It began with a dull back ache then slowly moved into tenuous nerve pain running down the front of my thigh.

Chiropractic work, body work, and acupuncture have all offered some relief, but not solved the problem. As a clinical herbalist, this was food for thought. A deep introspection of a profound nature led me to a conversation with myself. It’s troubling that this recurring leg issue has kept me from dealing with deeper, more core pain. In other words, a physical aggravation, over time, becomes a hindrance on other levels, as it distracts and takes away from optimal performance.

As has been the case throughout my life,  I look to my herbal allies and find resources and answers. There are plant remedies that offer support from deep levels of spirit and also manifest in physical healing. My herb of choice, in this case, is Verbascum thapsus, more commonly known as mullein root. This tall stalked plant,with its roots so firmly planted in the earth and leaves that radiate out all along the stalk mimic the processes of the spinal column. It speaks to me, telling me that it  can help me stand tall! 

In the words of Kiva Rose,the coeditor of Plant Healer Magazine,

"While ethnobotany and old herbals make it clear that Mullein is a very traditional remedy for troubles of this body system, it is only recently that Midwestern herbalists Matt Wood and Jim McDonald have brought it back to a well deserved popularity for these uses. Both Jim and Matt are both well known for their experiences with Mullein as an assistant to structural alignment of all kinds, from unset bones to slipped discs, and particularly where there is notable swelling. This use has been proven over and over by many herbalists including myself, in both animals and in humans. For a good understanding of where it might be appropriate, think about the odd structural deformities that can occur in the Verbascum’s flower stalk, the way it can look kinked and bent radically out of shape. If your spine feels like that, this is probably the remedy you need, and if the problem is neck specific, consider combining it with a bit of Vervain for addition alignment assistance.

It is also indicated where there is significant pain in the hips, especially upon rotating the hips inwards or outwards, and it feels like you have a corkscrew rather than a lower back. This sort of issue is often especially painful at night when attempting to sleep. Flower or root tincture before bed, and sleeping with a firm pillow between you legs will often greatly lessen or altogether resolve the issue. "

Dosage 30-60 drops 3x daily”

If you are experiencing back pain, leg pain, or other pain associated with slipped disc, or muscular skeletal injuries, please consider an herbal consultation or stop by the shop and  pick up one of Dancing Willow’s herbal formulas. In the new year, take care of you, in ways both big and small, so that your inner spirit has room to flourish and grow!

Here is a recipe, that we hope you will try!


 A wonderful old recipe to keep in your first aid medicine chest.

You will need:

1 pint jar

dried or fresh mullein flowers  enough to pack into the jar .

5 cloves of garlic

olive oil

In late summer, when the stalks of mullein are covered with playful pops of bright yellow flowers, collect 2-3 flowering stalks.

There are many techniques for removing these tiny yellow flowers. I prefer to slice down the stalk as you would corn on the cob, then pick trough the seeds for tiny unopened buds as well as flowers. Pack the flowers and buds into the pint jar then add the garlic. Pour olive oil over mullein and garlic and be sure that there is an inch of oil above the submerged herbs.

Label and date your jar and allow to soak for 2-3 weeks.

After 2-3 weeks strain carefully and pour into a clean glass jar. Store in a cool dark place.

Mullein Garlic Ear oil is a reliable herbal treatment for ear aches, inflammation, and bacterial infections of the ear canal.


Warm the oil, but not too hot. You can place it in a water bath or on the heater.

 Put 3 -5 drops inside the ear and cover with a warm wash cloth.

This can be used as needed, but general guidelines would be 2-3 times a day and for acute conditions as much as every half hour. It is perfect for both people and pets!

Try this old fashioned remedy for cranky babies pulling at their ears , teething, swimmer’s ear, dogs with foxtails etc!

General Disclaimer

Any statements made herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dancing Willow Herbs products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition, seek the advice of a health care professional before using this product. Keep out of reach of children.