Mullein is one of my favorite medicinal herbs. It has many proven benefits, including for treating earache and cough. It is also one of the easiest plants to find growing in the wild, which makes it ideal for making your medicinal extracts.
The downside of making your own mullein extract is that it takes at least a month. There are ways to make it faster, such as by heating the mullein oil in a crock pot. However, the heat will also kill many of the healthy compounds in the mullein: cold extraction is always the way to go. If you are in a hurry, you are better off buying one of these good brands of mullein extract.
Below are the instructions for making mullein extract. It’s incredibly easy.
How to Make Mullein Extract
1. Put dry mullein in a clean glass jar
For cough, you can use mullein leaves and/or flowers. For earache, use just dry mullein flowers. If you can’t forage your own mullein, you can use loose mullein tea to make extracts. I like the one by Starwest Botanicals.
Mullein extract goes bad in about 1 year, so don’t make more than you will use within a year. I would recommend starting with no more than 1 cup of dry mullein. You can always make more when you see your supply starting to run low. If you make too much, give it to your friends. 🙂
2. Pour oil or glycerin over the dry mullein
You want to put just enough oil to cover the dry mullein. The dry mullein will absorb the oil. To make sure the mullein is completely covered, I usually do this: Pour the oil over the mullein. Wait five minutes for the mullein to absorb the oil. Then add a bit more oil.
For most medicinal plants, alcohol is the best solvent for making extracts. This is not the case with mullein. The mucilage in mullein (which is what makes mullein great for cough and earache) does not break down well in alcohol. You need to extract it with glycerin or oil.
When buying mullein extract, I prefer glycerin because it has a longer shelf life than oil-based extracts. But, when making my own mullein extract, I prefer oil because it is better for ear drops. It’s really up to you though: some people prefer one over the other.
I usually use extra virgin olive oil for mullein extract. You could use other cold-pressed oils too though.
3. Cover the jar
Put it somewhere cool and dark. Don’t forget to label it with the contents and date, especially if you are making other plant extracts.
4. Wait 4-6 weeks
There’s really no way to speed up the process without killing the healthy compounds in the mullein. So be patient!
5. Strain the oil
Here’s how I do it:
- Line a large funnel with cheesecloth.
- Put a jar under the funnel.
- Pour the mullein/oil into the cheesecloth and let it drain.
- After an hour, I squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any remaining oil left in the plant matter. Yes – it gets a bit messy!
- If there is still a lot of plant matter in the oil, filter it again through a clean cloth or a coffee filter.
- I then pour the oil into smaller medicine jars.
6. Store somewhere cool and dark
Mullein oil will retain its potency for approximately 1 year if stored somewhere cool and dry. Mullein glycerin extract will last a bit longer. Make sure you label your mullein extract with the date so you know when to use it by.