Recent research examining the bioactivity of mullein supplements has found that they tend to have significant antioxidant effects and some limited antimicrobial effects. These antimicrobial effects may be more potent in alcohol extracts than in other supplemental forms. Recent research has also shown that mullein supplements — both oral and topical — have the capacity to kill parasites like roundworms, tapeworms, and (potentially) vaginal trichomoniasis. Modern oral mullein supplements may also be antispasmodic to such a degree as to have muscle relaxant-like effects when used in the treatment of abdominal pain. Closely related species of plant have some significant (and proven) wound healing properties, though without more focused research it’s impossible to say whether this activity is present in mullein derivatives also.
Other common historical uses for mullein supplementation include the treatment of migraine headaches, diarrhea, coughs, asthma, and inflammatory conditions. There are also some reports of its effective use in treating bronchitis and earache, as well as a wide variety of other conditions. Many of these anecdotal uses are plausible given empirical results, yet few applications have sufficient human clinical trials and replicated results to be definitively verified.
In Chinese medicine mullein is categorized as an herb that dispels cold phlegm and stops coughing. It is classified as cool to neutral, bland, and salty. It primarily affects both the Lung and Heart meridians.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
The dried leaves and flowers of the mullein plant are the most common components of both oral and topical medicinal preparations. Given its increasing popularity as an alternative therapy for a number of common conditions, mullein supplements are now also commercially available as pre-made alcohol extracts, oils, and capsules.
There is limited information available about the potential side-effects and contraindications for the use of mullein supplements (either oral or topical). That said, there are some reports of contact dermatitis resulting from mullein exposure. Anyone considering taking mullein or any other herbal supplements should consult with a physician, a certified herbalist, or another qualified healthcare professional.
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Muhammad Riaza,*, Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haqb, Hawa Z.E. Jaafar. Common Mullein, Pharmacological and Chemical Aspects. Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy, Dec. 2013, core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82550894.pdf.
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