Mullein plant is a medicinal herb that contains over 300 species. The plant is native to Asia, Europe and North-Africa. It was historically used as a therapeutic astringent and emollient. Research later led to the discovery that mullein leaf comprises various chemical constituents such as saponins, iridoids, flavonoids, vitamin C, phenylethanoid glycosides, and minerals that have continued to contribute to the therapeutic function of the mullein leaf.
One of the functions exhibited by mullein leaf extract is the fight against body invaders, specifically bacteria and some viruses. Researchers at Clemson University confirmed the antibacterial properties of mullein. In the year 2002, they reported that mullein leaf extracts are potent against some species of bacteria. Mullein also has the ability to maintain appropriate cellular growth. In the same study, the growth of tumors induced in potatoes was suppressed by mullein leaf extract.
A 2011 study by “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” showed that mullein leaf functions as an expectorant as it helps expel mucus from the lungs and throat. Additionally, it lubricates the lungs and throat membranes. Mullein contains approximately 3 % mucilage that helps in the soothing action of mullein on the body’s mucus membranes. On the other hand, mulleins saponins give mullein leaf expectorant functions. According to the Maryland Medical Center the use of 3g of mullein herb daily is adequate for expectorating function. To achieve the effect it can either be used internally or applied externally over the affected area.
Typically, free radicals containing oxygen and nitrogen species are the cause of various immune complications. Mullein leaves contain an extract with a powerful antioxidant that helps the body get rid of these harmful radicals (Mariassyova, 2006). Homeopathic formulations containing fresh leaves are used to achieve a good effect.
Mullein leaves also confer a cosmetic function as they have been used in cosmetic preparations to soften and debride the skin. In addition, topical application of the poultice of the leaves enhances the wound-healing process. It helps in the regeneration of the epidermis and the deposition of connective tissue. For instance, ointments prepared from the leaves are used for burn wounds. When used topically; it causes an irritating effect on the skin that dilates the capillaries thus increasing circulation to the area. This aids in its therapeutic wound healing abilities, thinning mucus that can readily be expelled.
However, it is worth noting that mullein is toxic in large doses. Nonetheless, its protective biochemical functions as an expectorant, demulcent, anti-viral and mild-diuretic, analgesic, antioxidant, antiviral, estrogenic and hypotonic functions make it a significant substance in herbal therapy.