Mullein: In Scotland (Aaron’s rod, shepherd’s club, donkey’s ears, cuddy-lugs, Rox) In North America (Indian tobacco, among many other names)
Mullein grows wild in Virginia and most everywhere else in America. I like mullein, a stately plant. The leaves are soft and fuzzy, and the flower heads impressive. Granted, it’s weedy and I don’t want it to take over, but it’s among my favorite weeds. A key herb in America, mullein is mentioned, but without nearly as much emphasis, in Scotland. Apparently, the Indians better mastered its medicinal uses, however, they are similar to those in the UK.
Perhaps because the plant is widely distributed in America, it was more greatly appreciated. The Indians smoked the dried leaves or made a smudge of them over the coals of a dying campfire and inhaled the medicinal smoke for treatment of asthma and lung conditions. The fumes were used to revive an unconscious patient. Mullein was used to ease coughs. An ounce of dried leaves were simmered in water or milk for ten minutes, strained, sweetened with honey or maple sugar, and the infusion sipped warm. This was also considered useful for diarrhea.
I've read of mullein leaves placed inside moccasins to sooth sore feet. The dried flowers were soaked in edible oil for several weeks, and the oil then used externally for earaches, piles, sunburn, rashes, inflammation, and internally for coughs, lung and chest trouble. Mullein oil was considered effective against disease germs and a natural antibiotic.