Mullein oil is an oil that is excellent for treating ear aches and ear infections. It is often combined with garlic to make garlic mullein oil. Actually, it is a herbal oil, created by infusing mullein flowers in a base oil, which is generally chosen to be olive oil. There is another kind of oil obtained from mullein which is called mullein essential oil. It is a more potent oil which comprises of volatile organic compounds found in mullein. Both of these oils are great for specific medicinal applications.
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Mullein oil calls for the flowers of Mullein ( Verbascum thapsus ), also known as common Mullein. There are many other varieties of Verbascum, but this one stands out. It has been a potent medicinal herb since many centuries in Europe and America. The herb is still used as one of the most formidable herbal remedies for cough. Therefore, it is used in conditions that lead to cough, like bronchitis. Its oil too has been used since ancient times. It was used in formulations to treat fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot. It was also used to treat ear infections, a use which continues to this day. This plant looks a bit awkward, but it does bear beautiful bright yellow flowers.
There are two kinds of Mullein oil.
- Mullein infused oil, where the flowers, or other parts like leaves are infused in olive oil.
- Mullein essential oil, obtained through steam distillation of plant parts like leaves, steams or flowers.
( Photo credit : John Tann )
There are no fixed standards for making the mullein oil, or the mullein garlic oil. They can even be made at home.
How to make Mullein Oil at home ?
It is simple to make this herbal infused oil at home. These are the steps involved in making it.
- Pluck out a handful of mullein flowers, bright and yellow. Then they should be kept to dry in shade, in a cool environment but absolutely clean. The flowers dry out and become tinier. Now, they constitute about 1 – 2 tablespoons of volume.
- Take 4 oz bottle and fill it one third with extra virgin olive oil. Add the 2 tablespoon of mullein flowers in the bottle. Cover with an air tight lid and place it in the sun for a good 18 hours. Then let it sit in the moonlight. After 24 hours, strain the oil and discard the flowers. Mullein oil is ready. One can also add a few peeled garlic cloves, about 1-2 tablespoons to this mixture to make garlic mullein oil.
Store this oil in the refrigerator.
Whether it is mullein oil, or mullein essential oil, both of them contain the properties exerted by Mullein. This herb has tremendous health benefits.  
- Expectorant – It helps to detach phlegm and spit it out.
- Analgesic – Mullein oil is a pain reliever.
- Antioxidant – It is a herbal oil with high antioxidant capacity.
- Anti- arthritic – it alleviates the swelling in arthritic joints.
- Anti-inflammatory – This oil is strongly anti-inflammatory.
- Antiseptic – It is used to wash and treat wounds so that they don’t catch infection.
- Tranquillizing – The essential oil of Mullein can help a person relax.
- Anti-microbial – It kills many species of fungi, bacteria and even viruses.
- Febrifuge – It alleviates a fever, an antipyretic.
- Diuretic – It promotes the release of urine, thus getting rid of water retention.
- Anti-tumor – It exhibits activity against certain tumors.
- Muscle relaxant – It is used in balms, ointments and creams to relive muscular tension and pain.
Color and Aroma
There is not much color in mullein oil. It resembles olive oil in color. However, its aroma changes completely. It has a pleasant aroma, unlike that of olive oil. If garlic is used too, then the aroma is dominated by garlic. The oil smells much like garlic while sauteing. Mullein essential oil is a pale yellow in color. It has a strong, nutmeg like aroma.
There are many health benefits of mullein oil and its essential oil due to its healing properties.
1. Home remedy for Earaches
Mullein oil is a powerful remedy for earaches. One should put 3 – 4 drops of the mullein oil ( not the essential oil ) in both ears. The oil should be at the right temperature, that is at human body temperature. This is suggested because our ears are sensitive to changes in temperature. If the oil is too cold or too hot, it can induce dizziness or vertigo in the person. So, use a thermometer to check its temperature and then use it inside the ears. Drain out the ears after 3 minutes. It helps to curb even sharp ear pain. Mullein oil helps to get rid of ear infections, whether they are bacterial or fungal. It is only applicable for outer ear infections ( otitis externa ) and middle ear infections ( otitis media ). Since ear infections are common in children, it is really a very useful thing to keep at home.
( Photo credit : schani )
2. Mullein Oil for Cough
Mullein essential oil helps to alleviate cough in many conditions like bronchitis, asthma, whooping-cough, sinusitis, tuberculosis and pneumonia. Add a few drops of mullein essential oil to a large pan of boiling water. Inhale the steam coming from the pan for about 10 minutes. Mullein oil soothes the respiratory passage, alleviates congestion and promotes release of phlegm. It also calms down the coughing reflex, as it is antitussive in nature.
3. Mullein oil for muscle pain and arthritis
Mullein is a very soothing herb for muscular pain and cramps. One can apply this oil directly to the aching muscles. However, there is a better formulation which provides lasting relief from sore muscles. For this home remedy, many ingredients are needed . Take glycerin, whole egg powder and mix them up. Then add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil and mullein essential oil. Mix them all together and apply a paste on the painful muscle. This paste is also effective in reducing the pain caused by arthritis in the joints. For more effectiveness, one can add Arnica oil as well.
4. Migraine Headache
Apply mullein oil directly on the temples as a massage oil. Perform a gentle massage using mullein oil. It relieves a migraine headache.
5. Skin Rashes
Mullein oil is used to treat a number of skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory effects. One can apply mullein oil directly to skin rashes, boils, hemorrhoids, carbuncles, ingrown hair and cysts. It may not be very fast acting, but with regular application, it provides improvement in terms of swelling and appearance of lesions.
6. Reduce a Fever
Mullein oil can be used to relieve a fever. Add about 10 drops of mullein essential oil to a bottle of water and spritz it all around the body. Mullein has fever reducing ability and can help to lower body’s temperature.
7. Cradle Cap
Mullein oil is a nice home remedy for cradle cap. It can be applied undiluted on the scalp. Massage it gently on the scalp and then wash it after about 20 minutes. It should get rid of cradle cap in a few washes. Mullein is soothing for the skin and olive oil gets rid of all the flakiness.
8. Mullein Oil for Hair Care
Mullein oil can be applied on the scalp and hair as a hot oil treatment. It relieves dry, irritated scalp condition and helps to curb itching. This prevents the person from itching the scalp and worsening any scalp condition. Mullein oil is also helpful in scalp psoriasis.
9. Skin Care
Mullein oil can be used as a massage oil for the skin. It alleviates minor burns, cuts, wounds, eczema and psoriasis. It also gets rid of fungal infections of the skin, mainly ringworm.
Mullein oil is used as an ingredient in various kinds of products. It is used to make salves, ointments, syrups, creams and other formulations. Its main application is in skin care and to treat respiratory conditions.
Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
There is not much information about the safety of mullein oil or mullein essential oil. It should not be taken by pregnant women or nursing women. Mullein essential oil should not be applied directly to the skin as it is an essential oil. There are no known interactions of mullein or its oil with other substances, like medication and foods.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Mullein essential oil contains about a hundred major volatile organic compounds which have been detected. This incredible range of chemical compounds lend it its powerful healing properties. These are the nutrition facts of mullein essential oil.
Chemical composition of mullein essential oil
The major chemical compounds found in essential oil of Verbascum thapsus ( also called Verbascum oil ) are these :
- Coumarin – It has many powerful properties, like anti-HIV, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-osteoporosis and many other effects. It is also used to relieve arrhythmia, asthma, pain and swelling.
- Rotenone – It is a prominent insecticide. It kills scabies and lice.
- Tannins – These are a class of compounds which show activity against certain kinds of viruses and other pathogens. They are being studied as a cure for viral infections like herpes.
- Saponins – This class of compounds are beneficial in lowering cholesterol. They are believed to possess activities like anti-HIV, anti-hepatotoxicity and anti-virus. They are also powerful antioxidants. Mullein essential oil contains a special saponin called verbascosaponin.
- Aucubin – This compound protects the liver from damage. It has been found to aid the liver in recovering from damage caused by carbon tetrachloride. It also helps in healing oral wounds, like mouth ulcers and canker sores.
- Catalpol – This compound is believed to stimulate hormone production in the adrenal cortex, although this has not been proved.
- Flavonoids – These are a class of compounds that exert powerful health benefits in small amounts. They are also powerful antioxidants.
- Verbascoside – This compound is an antibacterial. It kills Staphylococccus aureus. This bacteria is known to be the cause behind cellulitis, boils and even acne.
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These are just the prominent compound. There are many other nutrients and compounds found in Mullein essential oil. Different species of Verbascum yield different chemical compounds in their essential oil. In one study, Mullein essential oil from Verbascum thapsus L was found to contain the following major chemical compounds. 
- 6,10,14 – trimethyl-2-pentadecanone ( 14.3 % )
- (E) – phytol – ( 9.3 % )
On the other hand, essential oil of Verbascum undulatum contained other compounds like α – bisabolol and nonanal. 
Mullein oil and Mullein essential oil thus hold immense promise in terms of their medicinal usage. Even now, they are used for a variety of health benefits. It is great to have mullein oil in the house because it really gets rid of ear pain in an ear infection.
Buying and Storage
One can either buy Mullein oil or prepare it at home. Mullein essential oil can be obtained from an essential oils store. These oils need to be kept in dark-colored bottle to prevent them from oxidizing in presence of sunlight.
1. Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): recent advances in research. Arzu Ucar Turker andEkrem Gurel. Phytotherapy Research
2. Biological activity of common mullein, a medicinal plant. Turker AU1, Camper ND. J Ethnopharmacol.
3. Arthritis and muscle soothing formulation containing whole egg powder. US 20060105055 A1
4. Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil of Verbascum thapsus L.Katayoun Morteza-Semnaniab*, Majid Saeedibc & Mohammad Akbarzadeh
5. Composition of the Essential Oil of Verbascum undulatum from Greece. Eleni Mellioua, Prokopios Magiatisa, Eleftherios Kalpoutzakisa & Eugenia Tsitsa. Journal of Essential Oil Research