Mullein

Nutritious annual green with Culinary and Medicinal Benefits

Nutritional, Culinary & Medicinal Uses

Culinary: The flowers, roots, and leaves of mullein are edible. Do not consume the seeds. The leaves are a bit hairy and as a result often do not taste good. The roots, leaves, and flowers can all be used in a medicinal tea. Roots and flowers can be eaten directly such as in salads [4].

Nutritional Benefits: Mullein contains antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer effects. It was found to be particularly effective as an antioxidant in eliminating DPPH free radicals [1]. This is likely as a result of their containing flavonoids, saponins, phenylethanoid, and iridoids, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties.

Medicinal Uses: As mentioned, the plant is anti-inflammatory and also has a settling effect on the respiratory tract [2]. It has also been used to help with diarrhea, migraine headaches, and asthma [3].

How to Cultivate and Harvest

Planting: Plant so that the seeds germinate in autumn or late winter. It can grow well even in poor soil. Soak the seeds in fresh, clean water for about 12 hours. Plant three seeds for every one inch of ground and cover with ¼ inches of soil. Water the soil regularly, keeping it moist but not saturated. [3]

Harvesting: Snip the top inches of the stems and flowers. All parts of the plant are edible. [3] 

Preservation

One can dry chickweed in a food dehydrator on 95 F or simply air dry it in a screen in a dry location with good airflow that is warm. Store after drying in an airtight container in cool, dark location. [4]

History

Chickweed is native to Europe, including Great Britain and has been naturalized in North America. It came up in European folklore and magic to promote fidelity and attract love. Sailors used its vinegar to prevent scurvy. [1]

chickweed growing low res

References

1. Mahdavi S, Amiradalat M, Babashpour M, Sheikhlooei H, Miransari M. The Antioxidant, Anticarcinogenic and Antimicrobial Properties of Verbascum thapsus L. Med Chem. 2020;16(7):991-995. doi: 10.2174/1573406415666190828155951. PMID: 31456524.

2. Grigore A, Colceru-Mihul S, Litescu S, Panteli M, Rasit I. Correlation between polyphenol content and anti-inflammatory activity of Verbascum phlomoides (mullein). Pharm Biol. 2013 Jul;51(7):925-9. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2013.767361. Epub 2013 Apr 29. PMID: 23627472.

3. Turker AU, Gurel E. Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): recent advances in research. Phytother Res. 2005 Sep;19(9):733-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1653. PMID: 16222647.

4. Talerico, Deanna. “Chickweed: How to Identify, Harvest, Dry and Use Stellaria Media.” Homestead and Chill, homesteadandchill.com/chickweed-identify-harvest-dry-use/

5. “Delicious Chickweed Recipes: Turn Wild Weeds into Meals,” Survive Ready, surviveready.com/chickweed-recipes/

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