Verbascum Thapsus or Common Mullein is a cosmopolitan plant species that originated in Asia and spread throughout the entire world. This plant takes two years to produce fruit and the first year it is entirely vegetative with big fan blade shaped fuzzy silverish green. The second year, the plant sprouts a large flower stalk which then produces fruit and seed. I found them on the side of trail in a semi-shaded area growing in dense soil.
This plant has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years, however there is no documented or researched or verified accounts of its efficacy. People have commonly used Mullein as a pulmonary aid by smoking the dried leaves or drinking the dried leaves in a loose leaf tea. As people moved around the globe, so did this plant with them and this folk medicine use was about as widespread as the plants' prevalence.
This plant is valuable. It's dried leaves are sold at Natural foods stores and Health conscious establishments. Drying the leaves is simple and can be done by a number of easy methods. (i.e. hung as tobacco, dehydrated in oven or dehydrator, set on screen frame in the sun.) The dried leaves can be an excellent tobacco alternative for someone looking to continue smoking but get off of nicotine. I wouldn't mind, rolling a mullein smoke and drinking a cup of mullein tea together, with some lavender to complement flavors.
I found this Mullein plant as I was inline skating on the Little Miami Scenic Trail as I was passing through the Miamiville portion of the trail.
Have you ever found Mullein? If you encounter it on your next trip into nature, let me know!