This is the perfect drink for spring days when the weather can be variable. Last week we had several cold, dreary days of rain (and a bit of snow). This tea lifted our mood, warmed our limbs, and moved stagnant energy. Over the weekend it was very sunny and warm. Poured cold from the refrigerator, we had a refreshing beverage after hours pulling weeds from the garden. Make this in large quantities for any situation or occasion that presents over the course of a busy week. I have a Chinese thermos and chai goes perfect in it for a picnic or playdate at the park any time of the year.
Golden Mullein Chai
2 star anise pods crushed
2 TBSP fennel seeds crushed
4 green cardamon pods crushed
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 -2 TBSP of finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 pinch of powered nutmeg
2 cups of loosely packed whole dried/fresh mullein leaves (washed)
4 cups of milk of your choice
Honey, maple or brown rice syrup to taste
1 tsp of vanilla
Bring your milk to boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and add in the spices and mullein leaves. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the stove and strain through a wire mesh strainer. If you used dried leaves run the chai through a paper or cloth filter to remove any fine hairs. There is no need to do this extra step if your leaves were fresh. Add in the liquid sweetener and vanilla. Shake or stir well before serving hot or cold. Store in the refrigerator.
Mullein is a hardy biennial in the Scrophulariaceae/figwort family. For the first spring it produces a basal rosette of many large, lance shaped, light green, thick, fuzzy, felt like leaves. The following year Verbascum shoots up a very tall thick, woody, stout stalk with alternate elliptical leaves. Numerous, sessile, bright yellow flowers grow on several cylindrical spikes. Even though Verbascum is invasive and grows easily in the wild it can take a bit of effort to cultivate a usable patch of it. This plant prefers full sun, moderate water and soil with small pebbles/stones. Cut the wands after flowering if you do not want an overabundance of babies the following year. In the wild it prefers disturbed ground and dry soil along roadsides, pastures, fields, ditches or desert foothills.
This plant is best known for treating respiratory conditions. It has saponin that work as an expectorant combined with mucilage which is soothing. Mullein breaks up phlegm, moves lymph, relaxes the bronchial tubes/spasms and prevents infection. It has been used to treat coughs, hoarseness, sore throat, laryngitis, tonsillitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. This herb also has an affinity for the kidneys and urinary tract. If you have dry, irritated, atrophied, tissues of any type including joints that need lubricating or are swollen, consider this remedy.
Historically mullein had bee used to treat insomnia, anxiety, malabsorption, stomach cramps, a sluggish lymphatic system, slipped discs, back injuries, broken bones, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, swollen glands, plantar fasciitis, chilblains, cystitis, incontinence, the flu, allergies and mastitis.
The flowers infused in oil are a classic treatment for earache and infection or rheumatism. A poultice of the fresh leaves can be applied to boils, acne, eczema, bruising, abscesses open/bleeding wounds and sores or to remove splinters. In ancient times the long dry stock was dipped in tallow and used as a torch. Fresh mullein leaves make excellent emergency diapers or toilet paper.
Parts used: leaves (astringent) or flowers (demulcent)
Energetics: sweet and bitter, cool, moist
Element: fire and water
Contraindications: the tiny hairs on the dried leaves can irritate the throat. Infusions should be strained through a filter or cloth. Use with caution if you have liver problems or take blood thinners.