By Emily Dickerson, ND
The respiratory infections that spread and persisted across the Treasure Valley this past winter and spring were brutal. Sinus congestion and coughs lasted for weeks, and often for months. Following respiratory infections came seasonal allergies, which caused bronchial irritation and respiratory symptoms to linger for even longer. Many of my patients have had difficulty differentiating between infection and allergies. Their lungs continued to be irritated and inflamed, and they have had difficulty getting their coughs to go away. Soon we will transition into the heat of the summer months, with potential for forest fire air pollution to irritate our airways. A mullein cold infusion may be just what the doctor ordered.
My favorite remedy for chronic lung irritation is a mullein (Verbascum thapsus) cold infusion. Mullein is a soothing lung tonic and is safe for all ages. It helps to resolve chronic coughs and lung irritations and promotes restoration of lung health.
Why cold infusion instead of hot infusion?
A cold infusion extracts the components of mullein that are beneficial to the respiratory tract. A hot infusion extracts different properties, so it is important to focus on herbal extraction via cold infusion for respiratory benefit. A mullein cold infusion is indicated for dry, harsh, hacking coughs, weak lungs, kidneys, and as a nervous system support. It is a great herb for hoarseness, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, hay fever, and respiratory conditions in general. A mullein hot infusion may be used for colic, constipation, facial neuralgia, and urinary tract irritation. You will also find it in a garlic-mullein combination for external ear drops used for earaches.
I recommended a mullein cold infusion to many of my patients this year. I would like to continue to share it in hopes that it might help any of you that are still suffering or will suffer from chronic lung irritation.
Parts used: The leaves are used for lung support, so that is what I am focusing on in this article. Mullein is a biennial plant, meaning that it lives for 2 years and changes from its 1st year to its 2nd year. The leaves that are best for a cold infusion are those in the 1st year, which is before it grows a stalk. If wildcrafting, make sure that you harvest mullein that is not polluted. Focus on areas away from heavy car or foot traffic.
Simple instructions for how to make a mullein cold infusion:
Infuse 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh mullein leaves (chopped or crushed) per cup of water; or 1 handful of mullein leaves per gallon of water. A cold infusion is very simple to do! You simply place the herb in cold water, let it soak overnight, remove the herb, then store in your refrigerator. Using cold water instead of hot water optimizes the lung-benefiting, demulcent properties of mullein.
- Adult, acute: Drink 1 cup every 2-3 hours.
- Adult, chronic: Drink 1 cup three times per day.
- For kids, the strength of the infusion should be decreased, but dosing intervals are the same.
To schedule with Dr. Dickerson for medical evaluation of respiratory infection, asthma, allergies, or other chronic lung infection, please call Boise Natural Health Clinic at (208)338-0405.