Natural Health
Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Bring 'Hygge' Principles In to Your Home: How the Danish Lifestyle Can Change Your Winter


Homesteading attracts people wanting a simpler lifestyle and self-sustainability. In the most recent USDA census of agriculture, the government found that out of the approximately 2.1 million farms in the U.S., around 88 percent were small family farms.

In a 2017 survey of over 4,746 young farmers, about 75 percent stated they didn't grow up on a farm and 69 percent had post-secondary degrees. A first winter on the homestead seems long and cold when you aren't used to the lifestyle.

Fortunately, the Danish lifestyle called hygge — pronounced hoo-gah — makes things much more comfortable. Hygge is the concept of enjoying the simple things in life. Most homesteaders already live a relatively simple life, but for the winter months on a small farm, this means staying warm and cozy and enjoying the slower pace after the harvest passes.

1. Use Lanterns and Candles

Overhead lights eat up precious energy stores, especially if you rely on solar. Use candles and lanterns for a soft, homey glow without any energy usage. Just be careful to snuff out candles and turn off lanterns before bed. Never leave an open flame unattended.

If you must use electric light, use a table lamp with a soft watt bulb rather than a harsh overhead light. During the day, take advantage of natural light by opening drapes and blinds.

2. Rev up the Fireplace or Stove

Logs crackling in a fireplace or a woodburning stove add the scents and warmth of the season to your home. An indoor fire provides seasonal ambiance and keeps you warm.

If a tree fell on your property, you probably already chopped it up. You might as well put the firewood to good use and burn it up over the winter.

3. Adjust Humidity

Natural heat sources dry out the interior of your home. Adjust indoor humidity to between 40 and 60 percent to prevent damage to hardwood floors, doors and trim.

Some simple homesteading ways for adding humidity to your home include letting your clothes air-dry inside, adding a bowl of water near heat sources and growing houseplants, because they release moisture from their leaves as a vapor.

4. Add Soft Comfort

One element of hygge is soft warmth. Add details that feel cozy, such as fuzzy throw blankets across the end of the sofa or a thick quilt at the foot of your bed. Not only do blankets and throws add a touch of softness, but they also keep you warm during the coldest months.

5. Make Tea

Warm drinks are a must when the days become blustery and daylight hours are short. Make your own fresh tea blends by drying herbs such as alfalfa, lemon balm, mint and even wild herbs.

There are dozens of herbs and plants you can either grow or find in the wild that turn into delicious and nurturing herbal tea blends. For those who don't like tea, experiment with grinding coffee beans and making steaming coffee, hot cocoa or even hot cider cultivated from apples grown on your farm.

6. Decorate With Memories

Hygge is about simplicity and home. Surround yourself with only pieces with a story to tell. For example, if you own your grandmother's candy dish, place it on a small table and fill it with old-fashioned hard candies.

When people come to visit, share your memories of eating the same candy out of that dish when you visited your grandmother as a small child.

Use pieces that remind you of the past and have a story to tell. Keep things simple and uncluttered, though, in true hygge spirit. One beautiful piece with an amazing story is much better than a lot of clutter scattered around.

Time to Hygge

The most hygge time of year is winter, when you can bundle up in a cozy sweater, sip on hot cocoa and throw a few logs on the fire. Follow the Danish traditions and make your homestead cozy and comfortable this season.

A few simple touches turn the cold weather and your farm into a snug respite from the cold.

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living and has an especially strong passion for helping others increase their mental health and happiness by improving their daily productivity and positivity. Connect with Kayla on Google+Facebook and Twitter and check out her most recent posts on Productivity Theory. Read all of Kayla’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Roundup Exposure and the Battle for Justice


View full infographic below

Ever since Monsanto began the use of glyphosate as an herbicide in 1969, Roundup has grown to become the most commonly used herbicide in the world. You, as well as many others, may have long suspected the potential health risks of the chemical. Now, after nearly 50 years, its detrimental impacts on our health are slowly coming to be legally recognized. After all this time it looks like we are finally going to get some justice.

WHO Says Roundup Exposure is Possibly Carcinogenic?

It all changed in 2015, when the World Health Organization’s research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), assessed the carcinogenicity of 5 organophosphate pesticides, including glyphosate. In their paper IARC Monographs Volume 112, they classified each of the 5 pesticides into to groups and labeled them as probably carcinogenic, or possibly carcinogenic to humans. Probably carcinogenic meaning that there was both limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, as well as sufficient evidence of causing cancer in animals. And possibly carcinogenic meaning that there is convincing evidence that the pesticide causes cancer in animals.

Here’s the deal, the findings in the study caused the IARC to classify glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” in humans. The classification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in humans, by the IARC, was reached after the organization screened over 1000 studies.

The crazy thing is that amid the many studies they reviewed the IARC found that many of them showed that glyphosate is carcinogenic to animals. More importantly some studies showed evidence that glyphosate may be a cause of non-hodgkin's lymphoma in humans. Furthermore, the findings of the IARC cited evidence that glyphosate exposure has also been linked to chromosomal and DNA damage in humans as well.

This brings us to today.

Lawsuits Over Roundup Exposure Flood Courtrooms

Since the findings by the WHO’s IARC in 2015, lawsuits against monsanto have been flooding courtrooms across America. In fact, as of 2018, there are over 8,000 lawsuits pending in state courts, as well as over 600 in federal courts. The first federal court hearings are slated to begin February 25th, 2019, but the cases in state courts have already been started.^

In fact, on August 10th, 2018, the San Francisco County Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, DeWayne Johnson. The 46 year old, former groundskeeper, was left terminally ill with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a groundskeeper, he was exposed to higher than average levels of Roundup, and the court found that the evidence was sufficient that glyphosate was the cause of his cancer.

It gets worse, according to the attorney of the plaintiff Monsanto was deliberately hiding documents that showed exposure to Roundup had health risks for decades!  “We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that ... Roundup could cause cancer,” -Brent Wisner, Attorney for Mr. Johnson.

The jury found that not only did Roundup exposure cause the plaintiffs non-hodgkin's lymphoma, but it also found Monsanto acted “with malice or oppression” to cover up the potential dangers, which the company knew to be associated with Roundup. As such, Mr. Johnson was awarded $289 million in damages, $250 million of which was punitive damages. Although the judge later reduced the punitive damages to $39 million. It should also be noted, that Monsanto has appealed the case.^

Continued Litigation Against Monsanto

With over 8,000 cases against Monsanto over the health issues allegedly caused by their product Roundup, it will be interesting to see what happens from here. With the precedent already set against Monsanto, things are looking grim on their end of things.

As you and many others have long suspected, it appears that when you are exposed to inorganic pesticides or any chemical chronically, there is an increased risk of cancer. Those chronically exposed to glyphosate such as groundskeepers like Mr. Johnson, as well as the people in agriculture, lawn care, and gardening are most at risk when it comes to developing cancers from glyphosate.

What’s the Bottom Line on Roundup Exposure?

Whether you are in a profession which exposes you chronically to Roundup or not, it is wise to limit your exposure. This, of course, means eating organic foods and choosing natural alternatives to pesticides in the garden and lawn. But, for once, we have a win on behalf of the people injured by the agribusiness, Monsanto. Hopefully, it won’t be the last.

Also, for those interested in Roundup exposure as it relates to gardening and lawn care be sure to check out the in-depth Guide to Round Up Exposure, by GreenPal. Or, the Mother Earth News article Roundup Is Making Us Sick.

Monsanto Roundup Exposure Infographic


Image Source:

Douglas Dedrick is a professional landscaper, and writer on lawn care, plant nutrition, human health, and law topics. His writing can also be found at

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Combat the Cold with Fresh Oregano Tea

Fresh oregano tea

We had a bit of an extension on summer temperatures this October, so I have had quite a bit of extra time in the garden. Weeding, transplanting, and soil prepping has been on my agenda, and as the temperatures have dropped a bit, the weather has still be good enough for tackling garden chores.

Wednesday, I took on the task of cleaning out the herb garden, and the primary task each and every year is removing most of my oregano. As a member of the mint family, oregano (Origanum vulgare) spreads … and spreads … and spreads until it chokes out other herbs in the bed. Every fall, I rip out about 80 percent of my oregano, and every spring, it comes back stronger, providing me another season of one of my favorite herbs.

I primarily grow oregano for three reasons: it’s an easy-to-grow perennial, the bees love it, and it’s a great ground cover. About mid-July through frost, my oregano plants are covered in gorgeous purple flowers that are a bee magnet. Oftentimes, I’ll walk past the herb garden while doing morning chores to find that dozens of pollinators are feasting on the flowers.

As a ground cover, oregano provides a tight network of stems that strongly interlace and keep weeds at bay. Oregano also spreads rapidly with minimal attention, so I have to give it plenty of space throughout the growing season and it thrives (Like, I’ve never had a bad oregano harvest, ever.). At about two feet or so, oregano adds medium height to the garden, and the delicate purple flowers are pretty enough to be in anyone’s flowerbed.

And because oregano is, of course, edible (I mean, pasta and pizza wouldn’t be the same without it), I use it in as many culinary ways as possible. And because my husband brought cold germs home, and I’m currently nursing a massive sinus headache, I plan to head out to the garden to pick some oregano to make a fresh tea to soothe my symptoms.

Because of the numerous health benefits of oregano, many of us have learned or are learning how to use it medicinally. While I am not advising you to ingest anything without consulting your doctor, oregano is readily available at health-food stores and pharmacies in many forms.

Oregano contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which are beneficial for a variety of illnesses. But the most interesting of all the compounds found in oregano is carvacrol. While found in other herbs, such as bergamot and thyme, oregano offers the strongest concentration of carvacrol. It is the compound that is being studied for its effectiveness combating a variety of maladies, including the common cold virus, cancer, and E. coli.   

And oregano is an antioxidant powerhouse. Containing vitamins A, C, E, and K, oregano offers a nutritional boost to our diet. According to, oregano has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings, or 175,925, for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, ORAC.

While you can find oregano oil and supplements at your local pharmacy, my preferred way to use oregano in this situation is a fresh tea. Not only is it free because I’ve been growing oregano for years, but I like knowing that I can walk a few steps to harvest my herbs and feel confident about sourcing my remedies from a clean, chemical-free garden. I pick a few stems, using about a tablespoon or two of torn/crushed leaves per cup of hot water. I allow the leaves to steep for about five minutes before removing them (or just drinking them, if I’m being lazy). Now, I’ll admit it isn’t the best-tasting herbal tea, but I would rather drink this than take something over-the-counter, if my symptoms are mild and do not require a doctor’s care. Sometimes a cup of something warm does just the trick to get me back out to the garden to finish my work.

So, if you’re like me and sounding a bit like Alan Rickman (“Turn to page 394.”), and would like to try an herbal remedy, I hope you consider making a cup of fresh oregano tea.  Or, if Italian food is on the menu tonight, try adding a few fresh leaves of oregano instead of the dried stuff. Just keep in mind that fresh leaves are way, way stronger in flavor, and you won’t need as much in your recipe. If you have a recipe that includes fresh oregano, post it in the comments below.

Corinne Gompf is a writer and hobby farmer in Morrow County, Ohio. She is a graduate from the University of Toledo, with a BA in English, creative writing concentration. Along with her husband, Matt, and two children, Fletcher and Emery, Corinne raises poultry, Boer goats, rabbits, and chemical-free produce. Connect with Corinne on her Heritage Harvest Farm Facebook page.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

15 Kitchen Herbs and Spices with Powerful Health Benefits


Photo by Pixabay/kerdkanno

Herbs and spices in our foods have served the purpose of flavoring throughout the years, but also to provide boosts of nutrition and wellness. According to the Professor of Nutrition at the University of Miami, Dr. Moreno, “herbs and spices make food better while improving your health.”

Usually, one can easily decipher the cook behind a meal based on herbs and spices known to that cook. Much more than the taste, various herbs and spices can help to improve memory and prevents diseases and illness.

While their values may reduce during the heating process, several herbs and spices can restrain the oxidative effect from carcinogenic compounds and unstable fat.  Others simply add flavor or aid and protect the body from radical harm.

Here is a list of 15 herbs and spices with strong health benefits:

Thyme is found in many homes as it is an important ingredient in preparing rice. Thymol, the antioxidant in thyme, is known to prevent infection. Thyme can be used as a cleaner and mouthwash due to its minty properties.

Cinnamon is one popular spice used by bakers and food companies. The cinnamaldehyde compound of cinnamon triggers its medicinal importance and makes it a useful antioxidant to control inflammation as well as reduce the blood’s cholesterol level. Cinnamon reduces the sugar level thereby serving as a strong anti-diabetic spice.

Sage was lauded during the middle-ages for its healing properties. While its importance was not limited at that time, sage is now known to be an herb that helps in improving the brain’s function and memory. People with Alzheimer disease can also experience a significant improvement in the way their brains function with the use of sage.

Cayenne pepper: If you want to make a really spicy dish, you should go for Cayenne pepper. This type of chili pepper contains capsaicin, an active compound that helps burn body fat and reduce appetite. Most of the known weight loss supplement include Cayenne pepper as one of their active ingredients.

Turmeric: If you are familiar with curry, you should know that the active ingredient that gives curry its yellow color is turmeric. Recently, it has become a common ingredient used by beauticians in reducing acne and blackheads. The main compound for its medicinal importance is Curcumin. Curcumin is an antioxidant that fights and control oxidative damages. While oxidative damage is known to cause aging and diseases, Curcumin helps the body to release its own antioxidant to fight and prevent diseases. It is also significant for its anti-inflammatory element.

Ginger is popular for spicing for foods and homemade drinks. Amongst others, it is a popular flavor used in Soymilk to prevent a nauseating feeling. It is also used for morning sickness and seasickness. While functioning as an anti-inflammatory, Ginger can also help to manage pains.

Rosemary’s active ingredient in Rosmarinic acid. This herb serves as an active substance to reduce nasal congestion and allergy effects, making it a perfect spice for teas and soups. During food preparation, the inclusion of rosemary prevents heterocyclic aromatic amines that are formed when frying.

Oregano is known to be one of the herbs with high antioxidant activity. As an antibacterial and antiviral agent, oregano helps to protect your foods against food born pathogens. By adding it as a spice to your teas and soups, you can protect yourself from common cold and cough.

Garlic has come to be known over the years as a medicinal herb. The main ingredient in Garlic is Allicin and that is the ingredient responsible for its peculiar smell. Garlic supplement is useful in combating common cold and beneficial in reducing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Peppermint is known for its health properties. The peppermint oil can help manage pains and relief the bowels of irritable activities. Peppermint also reduces abdominal bloating in the digestive system. Peppermint aromatherapy is effective in treating nausea that is caused as a result of surgery or Labor.

Ginseng is an herb that helps in homeostasis. It keeps the body active without increasing or reducing its effect. With its ability to improve a person’s mood and mental performance, it is best used as a spice for home-made drinks. The significant study has also shown that Ginseng helps to cure dementia and aids in total cognitive development.

Cardamom is known as one of the top notable spices for the digestive system. It kills pathogenic bacteria that can be found in the mouth and the gut area. It also aids in a smooth flow of blood. It can be used as a spice in tea. More so, you can chew the pods to hold and reduce bad breath.

Black pepper is also commonly known as Peppercorn. It is known as one of the top ten commonly traded spice. Its bioavailability property makes it beneficial to add Black pepper with other spices as it transports the benefits of these spices to required parts of the body. It serves as a natural supplement for weight loss as well as provides respiratory relief.

Fennel seeds. Fennel seeds are used as a spice to aid proper digestion, reducing postmenopause symptoms, and a cure for bad breath. The essential oils derived from this spice also helps to inhibit infection as well as provide a known relief for the gastrointestinal tracts.

Curry leaf. Much more than adding the leaf to food and throwing it away after you think its effect has been maximized, curry leaf has proved to be a spice with great health benefits. Curry leaf helps cure diarrhea and with the presence of peculiar vitamins, its antioxidant properties cannot be overemphasized. Also, the dry leaf powder can be mixed with oil to improve your hair growth.

Kathy Mitchell is a freelancer who writes for health blogs, including on and In her free time, Kathy enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family. Connect with Kathy on Facebook and Twitter.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Elderberry Syrup to Build Immunity

elderberry ingredients 

As a follow-up to my previous article on ‘Master Tonic’ {also known as Fire Cider}, below is my go-to recipe for Elderberry Syrup. A proven elixir of elderberries, spices and often, raw honey, to help fight off the cold and flu.  Also known as ‘Sambucus’, many people swear by elderberry syrup during the winter months, either as a preventative measure when germs are flying around or to lessen the duration and severity of an existing infection.

Are you looking this season to try out more herbal remedies and want to start with a recipe that is simple to prepare? This is a great place to start, quick, easy and effective.

According to, elderberries are full of antioxidants and bioflavonoids that destroy the ability of certain viruses to infect healthy cells. They also contain tannins, carotenoids, rutin, viburnic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, vitamins A, B and high amounts of vitamin C. In addition to being helpful for colds and flu, elderberry has also been shown to lower cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, improve vision, act as a laxative, a diuretic, a diaphoretic, be antibacterial and antiviral.

Elderberries grow wild and are common throughout North America and Europe. If you are foraging for elderberry in the wild, it is important to know that many uncooked berries, unripe berries and other plant parts of certain varieties may be poisonous. Always pick ripe berries and cook them in a recipe such as this. Sambucus nigra, or commonly known as Black Elderberry, is the only variety known to be non-toxic when used raw, which may be helpful information should you decide to cultivate your own elderberry patch.

If you are not foraging for your own berries, there are many quality dried elderberry options available online to make your own syrup for a fraction of the cost that you will pay at a health food store. We are all about DIY here at Flicker Farm whenever we can, and this recipe is too quick and too easy to not cook up some of your own medicine. I have also found this syrup to be very kid friendly!


3/4 cup organic elderberries
3 cups of water
1 organic cinnamon stick
1 tsp organic ground ginger
4 organic whole cloves {optional}
1 cup of raw and unfiltered honey**


1. Add water, elderberries, cinnamon stick, ground ginger and cloves to a pot over medium-high heat. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer this mixture for about 30 minutes or until dark in color and reduced or thickened.

2. Set the reduced syrup aside to cool. You want it to cool down before adding the raw honey so that you don't kill off any of the natural enzymes found in raw honey- warm is fine, hot is not. Once the syrup is cooled, strain the solids and add 1 cup of the raw and unfiltered honey to the syrup and mix to combine. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Eldreberry ingredients

Take 1 tablespoon daily though the winter months, or as needed as a preventative measure. If you are currently sick, try 1 tablespoon, 3-4 times per day until you are feeling healthy again. You can drink the syrup straight or mix into smoothies, warm tea, water, or juice.

**If you are on a low/no sugar diet, you could omit the honey and use an alternative natural sweetener such as stevia. It should be said though, that raw honey has its own healing properties that may aid in recovery.

This recipe makes approximately 18 oz of elderberry syrup. Cheers to health!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Master Tonic and Natural Remedies

Master Tonic

It’s the perfect time of year to get your Master Tonic brewing for the season ahead! 'Master Tonic' is a natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic tonic to take through the fall and winter months of cold and flu season when you are surrounded by coughing, sneezing and contagious people, or whenever you're feeling under the weather.

Also known as 'Fire Cider', Master Tonic is made with raw garlic, horseradish, turmeric, ginger, onions, hot peppers, lemon and apple cider vinegar. These raw ingredients have pretty amazing medicinal properties on their own, and combined they give you a potent natural medicine!

There are many, many recipes online for this, some with less ingredients and some with more. I've tried finding the real history of this recipe and where it began, but no such luck so far. Many people believe that Master Tonic should be made with the moon cycles- make the tonic on the new moon and let it infuse until the full moon.  If you aren't following the moon cycles, letting the tonic steep and brew for 4-6 weeks will do the trick!

When selecting ingredients, choose the best hight quality organic you can find. Choosing organic ingredients ensures that no GMO’s or pesticides will end up in your healing brew. Bonus if you grow some of the ingredients yourself!

Master Tonic Recipe


1/2 cup chopped and peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped and peeled fresh turmeric
1/2 cup chopped and peeled fresh horseradish
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped HOT peppers {jalapeños, habaneros...go as hot as you can tolerate}
zest and juice of 2 lemons
apple cider vinegar {organic, with the 'mother'}


1. Add all of your chopped ingredients into a glass jar. I used a 1 gallon mason jar and it was about half full.

2. Cover well with apple cider vinegar by an inch or two. Some of the pieces will float to the top- use a plate, a fermenting weight or a large cabbage leaf...something to hold the bits under the apple cider vinegar to prevent any spoilage. The chunky ingredients will also absorb some liquid and expand, making sure to cover with an extra inch or two will account for this.

3. Let this tonic sit in a dark area such as a cabinet, at room temperature for 4-6 weeks to infuse. If you want to shake it up during this time and you are using a metal lid- make sure you have a barrier between the vinegar and the metal such as wax or parchment paper to avoid corrosion to the metal lid and contaminating your tonic.

4. After the Master Tonic has infused for at least 4 weeks, strain out the veggies and herbs and store tonic in a glass container. This will store indefinitely at room temperature.

5. The leftover chopped herbs and veggies can be used in other dishes to add flavor, composted, or I fed mine to our chickens hoping they get an immunity boost too!

Master Tonic

Will you be surrounded by sick kids, office mates or a sneezing spouse? Or you just want to keep your immunity in tip top shape? Preventative use of 1 tablespoon a day is a commonly used amount. If you're already feeling under the weather, take 1 tablespoon 3-4 times a day until you are back to your healthy self. You can drink this straight up as a Master Tonic shot, or add to hot water as you would a tea, for a toned down version. You can also add raw, local honey or a bit of stevia to taste if you need some sweetness. One thing is for sure, this tart and spicy drink will clear your sinuses and warm you up!

If you are looking to add even more natural remedies to your medicine cabinet this cold and flu season, in addition to your homemade Master Tonic, our favorites include oregano essential oil and colloidal silver. Both make great natural additions that may just get you through the season with no sick days!

Pour your Master Tonic and bottoms's to a healthy 'sick season'!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Mullein: a Gift From the Birds

Occasionally I find I have random plants popping up in my flower beds. These plants make an appearance despite me not planting them there. I call these my “gifts from the birds.” Let’s face it, seeds migrate. There’s evidence of plants moving across entire continents. Windblows seeds. Waterways carry seeds. Seeds can cling to animal fur. Birds eat the seeds and sometimes they leave droppings with still viable seeds in it.

Once of the summer gifts from the birds that I am overjoyed to see in the side ditches this summer is mullein. This is a distinctive plant that makes its presence known. It is described as growing one to two feet in height in most informational sources, but I have seen them taller than me. So, they have gotten over five foot three inches tall. They have one stem and around this stem fuzzy, broad leaves grow in a whorled pattern. The single flower stalk is home to the small balls from which the little yellow flowers bloom. They are native to Asia and Europe, but have made their way west to North America. It grows readily in the midwest and eastern states. Here in Ohio I get to enjoy this plant often.

The yellow flowers of mullein

Mullein is sometimes referred to Kings Lantern. Its Latin name is Verbascum thapsus, but there are a ton of different plants that belong to the Verbascum species. Mullein is listed in many herbals as being especially beneficial for the lungs and respiratory system. Through the ages, the fuzzy leaves were used to line the insides of shoes to insulate against the cold. There are wives’ tales about this being enough to help remedy lung congestion.

The flowers can be boiled in olive oil to produce an oil many people use to alleviate the pain associated with ear aches. Boil these same flowers in honey and you get a delicious syrup which is said to relieve cough and chest congestion. The leaves and roots can be dried, powdered and encapsulated. These capsules are then ingested to aid with a host of discomforts. It has emollient and astringent properties, so it can soothe irritated tissues, including skin.

Mullein is a treasured gift from the birds.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

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