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Mullein is a common roadside weed (Verbascum thapsus) that produces large downy leaves and, in its second year of growth, a tall flowering spike. Indians and early settlers often smoked the leaves as a tobacco substitute and used them medicinally to treat respiratory ailments. Tincture of mullein relieves chest congestion and dry, bronchial coughs. Take a dropperful in a little warm water every four hours. This plant has no toxicity. When you shop for mullein tincture you may also find mullein oil offered for sale. This is made by steeping the flowers in olive oil and is intended as a treatment for ear infections, much like garlic oil. Warm it slightly, instill a few drops in the ear, and plug loosely with cotton. You can add garlic for extra effectiveness.

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