The continuous innovations in the food and drug industry have resulted in new products being released in the market all the time. A quick visit to your local pharmacy today will show you that there is a corresponding medicine for every ailment you may complain about.

But if you are the practical and conservative type, an all-in-one product that would treat various conditions with the least side effects is the obvious choice. And medicinal herbs have been consistently in demand for that exact reason.

The common Mullein has been long established as an effective anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral plant species. Several studies have reported about the medicinal uses of the different parts of the plant.

In this article, we will focus on the plant’s leaf extract and the potential benefits and risks of using products with Mullein leaf extract as the main ingredient.

Mullein Plant

The common Mullein, scientifically known as Verbascum thapsus L, is an herbaceous stout weed that follows an annual plant life cycle. It is widely distributed in the Himalayas, temperate Asia, Europe, and North America. 

The locals describe the plant as having characteristic yellow flowers that are densely arranged, while its leaves grow alternately along the stem. Its fruit is in the form of a star-shaped or ovoid capsule that splits into two at maturity. [1][2]

What is Mullein Leaf Extract?

mullein leaf extract
Source: Canva

Mullein leaf extract has been reported in many studies as a food supplement and an alternative medicine containing the following bioactive constituents contributing to its biological and medicinal properties. [1][3][4]

  • Flavonoid – a group of bioactives that are well-known for their antioxidant activities. They act as scavengers of free radicals, the body’s waste products. They also provide anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Saponin – phytochemicals in Mullein leaf that are responsible for the extract’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antitumor activities
  • Iridoid glycosides – the most abundant chemical constituent in the Mullein leaf. They work together with flavonoids to reduce inflammation.

You can take Mullein leaf extract as tinctures, capsules, lozenges, powders, and dried tea leaves. It can also be applied on the skin as creams and oils, and is also formulated for specific use, such as ear drops.

Benefits of Mullein Leaf Extract

mullein leaf extract
Source: Canva

The documented significant pharmacological activities of the common Mullein leaf extract aim to cure, prevent, and improve diseases. [1][5][6]

Antioxidant activity

Bioactives found in Mullein leaf extract have been reported to be capable of neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals, which are big contributors to the development of chronic diseases.

Antibacterial activity

Studies have shown that Mullein leaf extract is effective against four gram-positive and five gram-negative bacteria species. The most notable are Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Vibrio cholera.

Wound-healing activity

The topical application of Mullein leaf extract showed a good healing effect on the regeneration of skin wounds in one study.

Antiviral activity

A study highlighted the inhibitory effects of Mullein leaf extract against Herpes simplex and Influenza A viruses.

Lipid-lowering activity

  Researchers have discovered that the polysaccharides obtained from Mullein leaf extract significantly decreased the cholesterol and triglyceride levels of their study population.

Specific Uses of Mullein Leaf Extract

mullein leaf extract
Source: Canva

Because of its numerous active ingredients, taking Mullein leaf extract is good for managing several diverse conditions, either as the main or additional therapy. This may range from acute to chronic diseases afflicting different body parts.

A common theme among the listed below is the inflammatory process involved in the course of the illnesses and the infection of a pathogen. [1][3][7]

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Periodontitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Hepatitis
  • Cholecystitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatism
  • Gout
  • Acne
  • Eczemas
  • Wounds
  • Burns and bites
  • Otitis media
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Parasitism
  • Cancer

Mullein Leaf Extract Risks

mullein leaf extract
Source: Canva

Dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that these products did not undergo clinical trials to prove their safety and efficacy before being sold in the market.

For this reason, there is no consensus on the recommended dose of Mullein leaf extracts. Consumers are advised to follow the dose on the product label of their chosen preparation.

The lack of formal investigation of its safety also implies that certain vulnerable populations should practice precaution before taking Mullein leaf supplements. This includes young children, pregnant and nursing women, and those diagnosed with liver and kidney problems.

However, it is worth mentioning that Mullein leaf extract is considered safe since it is included in the FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe or GRAS list. Hence, it can be consumed by a generally healthy individual. [8]


The common Mullein has long been used in traditional medicine in many parts of the world to treat many different diseases. The wide and diverse application of this plant, especially its leaf extract, supports the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial claims that are reported in several studies. Although the use of the leaf extract lacks FDA approval, it is considered generally safe for healthy individuals.


Depending on the formulation of the drops, it may be used in several ways. For tinctures which are highly concentrated extracts in drop preparation, the usual instruction is to take the extract sublingually (under the tongue). 

This is to bypass the digestive system and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream for faster delivery. Other drops preparation may be taken directly orally or mixed with a small volume of water.
There are no existing credible reports about the side effects of Mullein leaf extract in either experimental models or in human beings because of the lack of clinical studies with this supplement.
In traditional medicine, mullein leaf has been used as a remedy for respiratory tract conditions to treat symptoms such as cough and congestion. 

And research has revealed that this is because Mullein leaves extract contains saponin, iridoid glycoside, and polysaccharide mucilage that imparts the supplement correspondingly with expectorant properties, anti-inflammatory activity, and relieves irritation.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  1. Riaz, M. et al., (2013) Common mullein, pharmacological and chemical aspects. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia. Vol 23. Issue 6. PP. 948-959.
  2. Shahbaz, F. et al., (2022). Ultrasound Assisted Extraction and Characterization of Bioactives From Verbascum thapsus Roots to Evaluate Their Antioxidant and Medicinal Potential. Dose-Response. doi:10.1177/15593258221097665
  3. Blanco-Salas, J., Hortigón-Vinagre, M. P., Morales-Jadán, D., & Ruiz-Téllez, T. (2021). Searching for Scientific Explanations for the Uses of Spanish Folk Medicine: A Review on the Case of Mullein (Verbascum, Scrophulariaceae). Biology, 10(7), 618.
  4. Turker, A. U., & Gurel, E. (2005). Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): recent advances in research. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 19(9), 733–739.
  5. Mahdavi, S., Amiradalat, M., Babashpour, M., Sheikhlooei, H., & Miransari, M. (2020). The Antioxidant, Anticarcinogenic and Antimicrobial Properties of Verbascum thapsus L. Medicinal chemistry (Shariqah (United Arab Emirates)), 16(7), 991–995.
  6. Gupta, A., Atkinson, A. N., Pandey, A. K., & Bishayee, A. (2022). Health-promoting and disease-mitigating potential of Verbascum thapsus L. (common mullein): A review. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 36(4), 1507–1522.
  7. Ali, N., Ali Shah, S. W., Shah, I., Ahmed, G., Ghias, M., Khan, I., & Ali, W. (2012). Anthelmintic and relaxant activities of Verbascum Thapsus Mullein. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 12, 29.
  8. Western New York Urology Associates 2023. Mullein. Verbascum thapsus L.,does%20present%20some%20toxic%20risks.


  • Dr. Kara Marcella Barro, M.D.

    Dr. Kara Marcella Barro is a licensed physician who has been serving as a General Practitioner at her local health center. She has devoted her skills and knowledge as a public health doctor to serve the poor and marginalized. At the same time, she is also an educator who passionately promotes preventive medicine through her lectures and writing in the hopes of a better health outcome for everyone. LinkedIn


Dr. Kara Marcella Barro is a licensed physician who has been serving as a General Practitioner at her local health center. She has devoted her skills and knowledge as a public health doctor to serve the poor and marginalized. At the same time, she is also an educator who passionately promotes preventive medicine through her lectures and writing in the hopes of a better health outcome for everyone. LinkedIn