Could you tell me about a weed... | Almanac.com

Could you tell me about a weed...

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Could you tell me about a weed called common mullein?
Mullein belongs to the snapdragon family and is one of the easiest plants to identify. It lives on roadsides and in waste places and by its second year can grow to a height of six feet. Leaves cover the flowering stem. Yellow flowers peak in a terminal spike and are conspicuous because of their orange stamens. Mullein has many common names—beggar’s blanket, Aaron’s rod, and witch’s candle, among others—and it has been widely used since the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers used it for torches, and Roman ladies colored their hair with the yellow dye made from the plant. Quaker rouge is another common name, because Quaker ladies rubbed the mullein leaves on their cheeks to make them red (since cosmetics were forbidden). The leaves served as shoe liners to keep out the cold. Mullein has been used since ancient times for the treatment of pulmonary congestion in cattle. Native Americans applied boiled leaves to body joints for the relief of rheumatism and applied smoked leaves to the head as a headache remedy. During the early 1900s, a cough medicine made from mullein was popular in the United States.