Some may consider this hardy biennial to be a weed, but it is a magical herb of antiquity with a huge range of uses, making it a great plant to have around. It has medicinal uses as a respiratory remedy, a poultice of the leaves can be used to heal wounds and draw out splinters, and an infusion of the flowers in olive oil can be used as drops to relieve earache.
An aromatic bitter tea can be made from an infusion of the leaves; a slightly sweeter one can be made from the fresh or dried flowers. A yellow dye, which can be used as a hair dye, can be obtained by soaking the flowers in water. The flowering stems can be dipped in wax and used as torches, and the dried leaves and stems make an excellent tinder and can be used for the hand drill method of friction fire-starting. The whole stem can be used as a spindle in this method. The central stem of the dried leaves can be used to make wicks for candles. The soft thick fresh leaves can be used as insulation in shoes to keep feet warm, emergency bedding when camping or as emergency toilet paper! The plant accumulates sulfur, magnesium, potassium and iron. The dried flower heads left on the plant make a great shelter for over-wintering ladybirds, and finally mullein is used as an ingredient in some herbal cigarettes.
One plant - so may uses. If you'd like to learn more about multi-functional plants, why not take one of our courses and workshops!