It was brought to the Americas by European settlers and is now considered to be naturalized to North America. The settlers, in fact, had good reason to carry it with them: It has a long list of medicinal qualities.
It is mullein, which grows all over the forests of North America and is also known by several other names: flannel leaf, bunny ears, beggar’s blanket, Quaker rouge, hag’s taper, donkey ears and tinder plant.
Traditional folk medicine praised mullein as a remedy for asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis. The plant is also said to be a natural painkiller and a cure for earaches and headaches. It also can act as an expectorant and decongestant. As a result, for centuries the plant’s leaves and its flowers have been made into teas and tinctures, and ingested. They even smoked it (which isn’t ideal for health).
Mullein is known to affect the respiratory and lymphatic systems. A study performed at Clemson University in 2002 found that the plant also has strong antibacterial properties. Its high mucilage content is likely responsible for its medicinal properties. Astringent tannins and saponins, which help protect the plant when it is injured in nature, give the plant its soothing effect on the respiratory system. It also contains high levels of iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.
Even though mullein has been used for centuries, the Western medical community disputes the actual effectiveness of this plant, claiming “a lack of therapeutic validation.” However, the herb has been evaluated and approved by the German (and government-funded) Commission E, which was established to evaluate and approve of substances that were traditionally used in folk medicine — such as mullein.
Mullein is a biennial plant, meaning that it takes two years for it to reach maturity. It is preferable to harvest the flowers and leaves in the plant’s second year of growth. Both the honey-scented flowers of the plant and its soft, fuzzy leaves are used to treat ailments. The flowers are usually extracted in oil and also used to make tea, while, the dried leaves are typically reserved for making steam tents, poultice application and smoking. 
Across the centuries, people have used mullein as toilet paper, bandages, torches and to pad in the soles of their shoes. It should be a staple herb in every herbal medicine cabinet.
Mullein is a relatively safe herb to consume, its primary side-effect being it can cause contact dermatitis or irritate the throat when consumed, due to the fine velvety hairs that cover its leaves. It also has been known to interact with antidiabetic drugs and prescription diuretics in a negative way. The seeds of some species of mullein contain high amounts of coumarin and rotenone, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. The seeds of the mullein plant should never be consumed under any circumstance.
Have you ever foraged for or eaten mullein? Do you use it for health? Share your tips in the section below:
 Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pedersen (pg. 124)
 Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (pg. 270)
 Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore (pg. 112)
 Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal by Michael J. Balick (pg. 300)
 Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory L. Tilford (pg. 102)
How To Build A Herb Spiral Spring is just around the corner and winter is starting to wind down, for some of us anyway. Build one of these beauties and have plenty herbs for the rest of the year. I found an article that shows you how to construct these simple herb gardens in a …
Medicine Growing Your Own Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! It’s almost spring, and that means it’s that time of year to get planting your medicinal herb garden. The question is, what herbs are the most important herbs to grow? In this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, we will cover a wide variety … Continue reading Medicine Growing Your Own!
Every time we are afflicted with a headache, hangnail or even the common cold, most of us simply pop down to the local drugstore and pick up an over-the-counter remedy. But chemical-induced drugs aren’t always best for us, and we also should consider: What if the drugstore is closed – or we can’t make it there – next time?
Trust our ancestors to have the answers. While we can’t really ask the pioneers what they used, they left records of their commonly used herbs and home remedies to guide us.
One herb that has been all but forgotten in today’s modern age is feverfew. This plant was very valuable to the Native American tribes as well as to the 1800s-era pioneers.
Let’s take a look at how it was used and how you might be able to grow your own for an unlimited supply.
What is Feverfew?
Feverfew (tanacetum parthenium) is a perennial flowering herb that is sometimes called “bachelor’s buttons.” In certain areas, it can grow 24 inches tall and equally as wide. It also is one of the oldest herbs known to man. While no one is sure when it started being used, it was first mentioned during the first century by Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides.
Feverfew can cause allergic reactions, so it is best to try a small amount first. It is related to chrysanthanims, so if you are allergic to those, steer clear!
Also, even though this plant is pretty to look at, do not put fresh leaves or flowers in your mouth, as it has a natural irritant. While it may not actually harm you, it can cause a burning sensation and even mouth sores.
How Did Our Ancestors Use It?
This plant has a pretty impressive background in that not only has it been used for centuries, but modern research has backed up quite a few of these folk remedy uses.
The name, obviously, implies that it can reduce fevers, and that is perhaps what it is best known for. However, it can be used for much more.
Feverfew is a terrific way to stop migraine headaches (when consumed at the onset) as well as other types of headaches and muscle tension. It is also a general pain reliever.
It is a natural anti-inflammatory herb, which makes it perfect for healing and reducing the pain of twisted ankles, arthritis and even menstrual cramps. In the case of arthritis and cramps, one needs to consume it on a regular basis. Women should start consuming feverfew a week before their cycle is to start and continue until the second day of their period.
Prior to the discovery of willow bark and aspirin, it was feverfew that midwives and doctors turned to for pain relief, fever reducing, and most types of muscle cramps.
Like chamomile, feverfew will calm most muscle spasms, which makes it not only a good pain reliever for general muscle pain due to overuse, but it causes the muscles to relax.
How To Use It
As mentioned earlier, don’t put fresh leaves or flowers in your mouth. You can certainly buy feverfew capsules, but why not grow your own?
Feverfew leaves and flowers can be washed and then used in either a tea or a tincture form. Many people find that two or three cups of tea each day works best to stop pain, inflammation and persistent headaches.
Grow It Yourself
This pretty flowering plant is hardy to zone 5. Don’t cover the seeds completely with soil, as they must have sunlight to sprout; sprinkle lightly with water each day until they sprout. You can thin them to 15 inches apart when they are about five inches tall.
They aren’t fussy plants, but they do need sunlight, so try to find a spot where they get a minimum of six hours each day. Harvest and dry the flowers and leaves as they grow. It will reseed itself if you allow a few plants to go to seed. Any remaining plants should be cut to the ground with the first frost. It will grow back again in the spring and generally produces flowers between July and October.
Good to Know
Doctors in the days of the pioneers used to suggest feverfew for “women who are a bit giddy in the head.” They didn’t mean giddy the way we do today, but rather for those who suffer from what we today call migraines.
In the Middle Ages, feverfew was believed to clean the air of germs and stop rabies.
Bugs of all kinds do not like this plant — including bees!
Have you ever grown or used feverfew? Share your tips in the section below:
Pine bark is a powerful antiseptic loaded with flavanoids and 50 time the amount of antioxidants of vitamin c and e. this natural solution is similar to the potency of grape seed mother powerhouse of a herb loaded with antioxidants and more. The opc’s found in the pine bark /needles are great for microcirulatory problems such as varicose veins and macular degeneration and to chronic venous insufficiency as well as diabetic retinopathy. opc’s ale help strengthen and maintain overall healthiness of the molecular structure of the venous’ .
Primarily it acts as a inhibitory to oxidation through the enzymes within but also being not limited and as oxidation diminishes its anti inflammatory properties go to work . The pine needle possess near 100 times more of the antiseptic properties than the bark.
Secondly, a cooled tea can be used as a powerful antiseptic wash for wound management and infection prevention as well as rashes and eczema
Secondly, it is good for the Circulatory system thus producing more healthier red blood cells and oxygenation all the main systems more effectively.
Pine Needles and bark also possess high levels of vitamin C to help aid the immune system and other main systems that require a healthy immune system for optimal performance such as the adrenal glands.
A few good uses of pine needles and bark are: (but not limited to)
Did you ever wonder why salves are so good for everyday use for example how about a bee pollen salve is so powerful for the skin, where bee pollen is cold infused into the oils used in your salve recipe. Bee pollen is a powerful skin care aid in cell regeneration because of the flavanoids,antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids but particularly because of its pure form of b complex vitamins . Domestic Bee pollen due to the bees cross pollination process(s) allow this. providing a new and powerful source of cell regeneration of the skin.