The leaves and tops of Verbascum Thapsus, Linné (Nat. Ord. Scrophulariaceae). A biennial common in the United States. Dose, 5 to 30 grains.
Common Name: Mullein.
Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil, a bitter principle, mucilage and resins.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Verbascum. Dose, 5 to 30 drops.
Specific Indications.—Nervous and bronchial irritation, with cough; and urinary irritation with painful micturition.
Action and Therapy.—Mullein is demulcent, diuretic and sedative. It is also thought to have feeble anodyne properties. A syrup of mullein, prepared with the addition of lemon juice, is a fairly good sedative for irritation of the trachea and bronchi with persistent cough. It is applicable to dry, hoarse coughs which annoy the patient when lying down, as well as to cough associated with abundant catarrhal discharges. The specific medicine may be used for the same purposes. A so-called oil of mullein, or rather mulleinized oil, prepared by steeping the blossoms in oil in the sun, has a fabulous reputation of being curative in earache from otitis media. A truer preparation is prepared by exposing the blossoms alone in a bottle to the heat of the sun. Owing to the small yield and the consequent high price it is seldom used, and probably is no more efficient than mulleinized oil, a concoction of very doubtful utility.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.