Mullein is a common roadside weed that really stands out in a crowd. The large leaves feel like thick wool flannel. In its second year, the plant sprouts a stalk that can grow six- to eight-feet high.
Mullein has remained a favorite herb in European folk medicine for centuries, and was quickly adopted by Native Americans when it came to the New World.
Today, it is primarily used as a cough remedy, but it has other medicinal uses that are often overlooked—some were only recently discovered.
Bone Deep Cough
Mullein tea can be used for all types of coughs, but it is particularly suited for deep, dry coughs that cause pain in the chest.
But, mullein is much more than a cough remedy, according to Matthew Wood, a registered herbalist and author of several books on herbal medicine. In “The Book of Herbal Wisdom,” Wood recalls when he recommended mullein to a friend after she fell against a two-by-four and cracked a rib.
The rib began irritating surrounding tissue, and she developed a nagging cough. Wood figured if mullein is used for coughs so strong they break a rib, maybe it can also be used to fix ribs that cause a cough.
With nothing to lose, Wood’s friend taped a mullein leaf over her rib and by the morning it was back in place. A few days later, the pain and cough returned, but applying one more leaf fixed it for good.
Since then, herbalists around the world have been using mullein to set bones with great success. Wood mentions a chiropractor who was so intrigued by the idea, he wished he would break a rib so he could try it for himself.
“A few years later, his wish came true. He put a mullein leaf on, and the bone went back in place,” Wood said.
Then the chiropractor wanted to prove the treatment scientifically with a patient of his who was in a car accident. This patient’s injury was even more complicated than his own because her ribs were jabbed into each other and would be harder to set. He gave her an x-ray, taped on a mullein leaf, and sent her home.
“He had her come back the next day and get another x-ray for free and, presto, the bone was back in place,” Wood said. “He had his proof. He got to prove magic was real.”