Mullein (generic name)
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TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-cancer, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-tumor, antiviral, asthma, astringent, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, convulsions, cough (spasmodic), cramps, cystitis, deafness (prevention of), demulcent (soothes irritated tissue), diarrhea, diuretic, eczema (of the ear), estrogenic effects, expectorant, fungicide, hay fever, headache, hemorrhoids, herpes, hoarseness, migraine headache, influenza, nephritis (inflammation of the kidney), neuralgia (nerve pain), orchitis (inflammation of the testicle), pain relief (anodyne), pulmonary problems, pyelitis (inflammation of the renal pelvis), rheumatism, sedative, sore throat, sunburn, toothache, tuberculosis, ulcers, urinary irritation, warts, wound healing.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for mullein in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for mullein, and use in children is not recommended.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to mullein (Verbascum thapsus).
Side Effects and Warnings
There is a discrepancy in the literature regarding the FDA's (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) stance on the safety of mullein. As of July 2006, the FDA reported that mullein flowers (Verbascum phlomoides L. or V. thapsiforme Schrad.) are likely safe for use as natural flavoring substances and natural adjuvants in food in small amounts. However, mullein is categorized as a food additive for which a petition has been filed and a regulation issued.
There are reports of mullein containing coumarin derivatives, which may cause liver toxicity. This adverse effect, however, cannot be confirmed by current scientific research. There are also reports that mullein contains a sapotoxin called rotenone, which is an insecticide, but again human scientific evidence is lacking. Nonetheless, use cautiously in patients taking anticoagulants due to a theoretical additive effect due to coumarins that may be contained in mullein.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Mullein is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Interactions with Drugs
Mullein may contain coumarin, and may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Mullein may contain coumarin, and may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, fewer cases with garlic, and less cases with saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Lisa Scully, PharmD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).