Mullein is found all over Europe and in temperate Asia as far as the Himalayas, and in North America it is exceedingly abundant. It is known by many names: Velvet Leaves, Mule ears, White Mullein, Torches, Mullein Dock, Our Lady's Flannel, Velvet Dock, Blanket Herb, Velvet Plant, Woollen, Rag Paper, Candlewick Plant, Wild Ice Leaf, Clown's Lungwort, Bullock's Lungwort, Aaron's Rod, Jupiter's Staff, Jacob's Staff, Peter's Staff, Shepherd's Staff, Shepherd's Clubs, Beggar's Stalk, Adam's Flannel, Beggar's Blanket, Clot, Cuddy's Lungs, Duffle, Feltwort, Fluffweed, Hare's Beard, Old Man's Flannel, and Hag's Taper.
The down on the leaves and stem makes excellent tinder when quite dry, readily igniting on the slightest spark, and was, before the introduction of cotton, used for lamp wicks, hence the basis of one of the old names: 'Candlewick Plant.' An old superstition exists that witches, in their incantations, used lamps and candles having wicks made of such, and another of the plant's many names, 'Hag's Taper', refers to this. (The word 'hag' is said to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Haege or Hage (a hedge) - the name 'Hedge Taper' also exists - and may imply that the sturdy spikes of this tall hedge plant, studded with pale yellow blossoms, suggested a tall candle growing in the hedge, another of its countryside names being, indeed, 'Our Lady's Candle.') 'Torches' is another name for the plant, since it is said that the ancients used the stalks dipped in suet to burn as torches at funerals or otherwise. Both in Europe and Asia the power of driving away evil spirits was ascribed to the Mullein. In India it has the reputation among the natives that the St. John's Wort once had here, being considered a sure safeguard against evil spirits and magic, and from the ancient classics we learn that it was this plant which Ulysses took to protect himself against the wiles of Circe. An infusion of the flowers was used by the Roman ladies to dye their hair a golden color, while according to an old authority the ashes of the plant, made into a soap, will restore hair which has become grey to its original color
Mullein leaves are excellent to use to treat asthma - a fact not overlooked by pharmaceutical companies. The dried leaves are sometimes smoked in an ordinary tobacco pipe to relieve the irritation of the respiratory mucus membranes. Mullein is said to be of much value treating diarrhea. The seeds of Mullein are said to intoxicate fish when thrown into the water, and are used by poachers for that purpose, being slightly narcotic. It has been found to be beneficial for pectoral complaints and bleeding of the lungs and bowels. The whole plant seems to possess slightly sedative and narcotic properties and has been proved a very effective, long standing treatment for migraines or sick headaches. Mullein oil is a valuable destroyer of disease germs hence it makes an admirable bactericide. An infusion of the flowers in olive oil is used as earache drops, or as a local application for the treatment of piles or other mucous membrane inflammations and used as a treatment for gum and mouth ulcers is very effective. A decoction of the roots is used to alleviate toothache and also relieve cramps and convulsions.
Mullein is also associated with Witches in general. Mullein burned will offer protection from sorcery and the herb can also be used in exorcisms. It is also recommended when employing magics involving courage, general protection, health, love, and divination. Ground Mullein leaves can be a good substitute for graveyard dust in spells. Mullein can be carried in an amulet bag to keep venomous beasts wild animals away from you when you are walking in the woods, camping, or back-packing. A Mullein amulet is also good to carry for courage. You can use Mullein as a substitute for candles (but do not light them) when performing magic outdoors where no flames can be lit. Mullein is an excellent herb to use for the cleansing of ritual and psychic places before and after working there. Mullein also can be used for cleansing and purifying ritual tools and altars. It can be placed in a dream pillow to prevent nightmares. It should be carried in sachets to bolster one's courage, for protection and to repel negativity.It can be hung over the doors and windows of the home to protect it from evil. Powdered leaves of Mullien are the ingredient "Graveyard Dust" sometimes called for in spells. Torches may be fashioned of the whole plant, dipping the head in paraffin or beeswax and these may be used as a part of the Samhain celebration.
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