Using Mullein to Alleviate Allergies

Allergies affect millions of people worldwide, causing uncomfortable symptoms like sneezing, coughing, congestion, and more. While antihistamines and other medications can provide relief, many people are seeking natural alternatives like herbs and supplements to manage allergies. One herb that shows promise is mullein.

What is Mullein?

Mullein is a fuzzy-leafed, tall herb that grows predominantly in semi-arid regions around the world. It has been used medicinally for centuries, valued for its ability to soothe mucous membranes and relieve respiratory ailments. Scientifically known as Verbascum thapsus, mullein contains compounds like mucilage, flavonoids, iridoids, sterols, and hesperidin that exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties.

Can Mullein Help Allergies?

Research suggests mullein can be an effective natural allergy remedy. Its anti-inflammatory effects appear to inhibit histamine release, making it useful for managing hay fever symptoms. Mullein also protects mucous membranes, preventing them from triggering allergic reactions. It works best when taken just prior to, during or immediately after allergen exposure.

Some key ways mullein may alleviate allergy symptoms:

  • Reduces inflammation and irritation in mucous membranes
  • Inhibits histamine release
  • Acts as an expectorant to clear congestion
  • Soothes coughs and irritated throat tissue
  • Has antimicrobial effects to fight secondary infections
  • Contains antioxidants that boost immunity

Clinical trials found mullein effective in reducing inflammation and managing respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma, which are often triggered or exacerbated by allergies.

Who Should Avoid Mullein?

Mullein is considered safe for most people when used appropriately. However, certain individuals should exercise caution:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women – Safety has not been established. Avoid use.
  • Children – Do not give mullein to children under age 5. For older children, adjust doses accordingly.
  • People with thyroid disorders – Mullein contains iodine and may interfere with thyroid function when taken regularly.
  • People with diabetes – Mullein may lower blood sugar. Monitor levels closely.
  • People with hay fever – Some report mullein worsens symptoms, likely due to pollen allergies. Avoid use during the season.
  • People with bleeding disorders – Mullein may slow blood clotting. Discontinue use at least 2 weeks before surgery.

Those with allergies or sensitivities to mullein or plants in the figwort family should avoid use. Stop taking immediately if adverse reactions occur. Only purchase mullein from reputable suppliers and follow dosing guidelines carefully.

Top Natural Antihistamines for Allergies

While mullein is a proven herb for allergies, several other natural antihistamines may also be beneficial:


This antioxidant flavonoid inhibits histamine release. Found in fruits, vegetables, teas, and supplements.

Stinging Nettle

Nettle extract blocks histamine receptors. This plant has a long history of allergy relief use.


Contains petasin which stops histamine production. Butterbur is often used for seasonal nasal allergies.

Vitamin C

Boosts immunity and suppresses histamine levels. Oral vitamin C provides allergy protection.


Found in pineapples, this protein-digesting enzyme reduces airway inflammation. Also decreases histamine.

Licorice Root

The triterpenoids in licorice inhibit allergy mediators. Often used for sore throat relief.


Fish oil supplements counteract inflammatory pathways involved in allergies.

How Long Does it Take for Mullein to Work?

Mullein is not a fast-acting allergy medicine like antihistamine drugs. It requires consistent use over time to build up therapeutic effects. Most herbalists recommend taking mullein for a minimum of 3-6 weeks during allergy season to see benefits.

Initial symptom relief may be noticed within 1-2 weeks of regular mullein use. Maximum anti-allergy effects often occur after 4-8 weeks, as compounds like hesperidin accumulate in the body.

To sustain the benefits long-term, continue taking mullein daily throughout allergy season. During symptom-free periods, occasional use (2-3 times a week) can help prevent future reactions.

If no improvement is seen after 6 weeks, mullein may not be effective for your allergies. Consider adding or switching to other natural remedies instead.

Using Mullein for Allergy Relief

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, mullein may be worth trying this year as a natural option to reduce symptoms or use alongside other medications. Here is how to safely use mullein for allergy relief:

Mullein Dosage Guidelines

There are no standardized dosing recommendations, but general guidelines based on traditional use are:

  • Mullein tea – Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons dried leaves or flowers. Steep 10 minutes then strain. Drink up to 3 cups daily.
  • Mullein tincture – Use alcohol or glycerin-based, 2:1 concentration. Take 1 mL (approx. 30 drops) 3 times daily.
  • Mullein capsules – Look for 300-500 mg capsules with 2-4% hesperidin. Take as directed on the label.

Start with lower doses and gradually increase over several weeks if needed. Take consistently rather than sporadically.

Best Forms of Mullein for Allergies

Mullein Tea – The most popular method. Drinking mullein tea provides internal anti-inflammatory benefits.

Mullein Tincture – More concentrated than tea. Provides stronger medicinal effects.

Mullein Capsules – Most convenient for daily use. Standarized extracts provide consistent dosing.

Mullein Essential Oil – Used topically for ear or skin irritation. Contains biologically active compounds.

Dried Mullein Leaf or Flowers – Add to herbal blends and homemade allergy pills. Useful for DIY remedies.

Mullein Root Tea – Contains the compound verbascoside with antimicrobial benefits.

When to Take Mullein for Allergy Relief

To maximize mullein’s anti-allergy effects, timing is important:

  • In the mornings – Helps stabilize membranes and prevent reactions for the day
  • Before allergen exposure – Prepares membranes and inhibits histamine release
  • During a reaction – Alleviates symptoms and stops progression
  • At night – Reduces residual inflammation to prevent next-day symptoms

During peak allergy season, take mullein 3 times per day. Prior to or during high pollen count days, extra doses provide added protection.

Is Mullein Safe? Possible Side Effects

When used appropriately, mullein is generally very safe and non-toxic. Side effects are rare but can include:

  • Skin irritation – Discontinue use if rash or redness occurs
  • Digestive upset – Reduce dosage if stomach pains or diarrhea result
  • Drowsiness – Avoid driving or operating machinery until effects known
  • Low blood sugar – Problematic for diabetics; monitor levels closely
  • Allergic reactions – Seek medical care if shortness of breath, swelling, or anaphylaxis occurs

Adverse reactions are more likely with excessive use. Follow recommended guidelines and consult a health practitioner if on any medications or if pregnant/nursing before using mullein.

Special Considerations for Using Mullein

Keep these precautions in mind to ensure safe and effective use of mullein:

  • Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless approved by doctor
  • May interact with diabetes, thyroid, or blood thinning medications
  • Not suitable for children under 5 years old
  • Reduce dosage if taking other herbs or supplements with similar effects
  • Discontinue at least 2 weeks before any scheduled surgery
  • Monitor for allergic reactions or contact dermatitis; stop use if they occur
  • Do not exceed recommended doses – can cause gastrointestinal upset
  • Purchase from reputable suppliers and ensure proper identification of plant material

Introduce mullein gradually and follow dosing guidelines carefully to reduce risk of problems. Consult an herbalist or natural health practitioner for guidance on using mullein if you have any concerns.

Supplementing with Mullein for Allergies

If drinking tea or tinctures is not practical, mullein supplements can provide concentrated benefits in an easy dosage form. Here are some top supplement options:

Mullein Leaf Capsules

Look for encapsulated mullein leaf powders standardized to 2-4% hesperidin flavonoids. Common dosages are 300-500 mg capsules taken 1-3 times daily. Mullein leaf capsules from reputable brands like Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs, and Planetary Herbals are good quality.

Mullein Flower Capsules

Some preparations use mullein flowers which contain the highest concentration of mucilage compared to leaves. Mullein flower capsules provide enhanced respiratory soothining effects. Popular options are made by Solaray, Piping Rock, and Oregon’s Wild Harvest.

Mullein Essential Oil

Inhaling mullein essential oil provides anti-inflammatory benefits internally while also helping sinus or respiratory congestion when diffused. Always dilute in a carrier oil before topical use. Plant Therapy, Edens Garden, and Healing Solutions offer 100% pure mullein oil.

Mullein Tea Bags

For convenience, companies like Alvita, Traditional Medicinals, and Celebration Herbals produce bagged mullein tea ideal for on-the-go allergy relief. Stash a few bags in your purse, desk, or car.

Mullein Tinctures

Alcohol-based mullein tinctures like products from Herb Pharm, Wise Woman Herbals, and Prairie Moon provide stronger antiviral activity. For children, glycerite versions are gentler. Follow dosage guidelines carefully.

When purchasing any mullein supplement, always look for reputable brands who ethically harvest the herb and test products for purity and potency. Refer to the company website or product label for full details on sourcing, extraction method, recommended use, and potential side effects. Consult your doctor before use, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

Healthy Habits to Further Relieve Allergies

While mullein can curb allergy misery, certain lifestyle measures also decrease symptoms naturally:

Avoid Triggers – Stay indoors during high pollen counts or when mold spores are high. Use HEPA air filters at home. Wash bedding weekly in hot water to decrease dust mites. Consider allergy covers for pillows and mattresses.

Rinse Off Pollen – Shower and wash your hair after being outside to remove pollen. Don’t wear shoes in the house. Clean pets who carry pollen indoors on their fur.

Support Immunity – Eat anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, yogurt, garlic, turmeric, and green tea. Get enough sleep and manage stress. Take vitamin D, quercetin, or probiotic supplements.

Use Air Conditioning – Stay cool with A/C since windows closed keeps pollen out. Change A/C filters monthly.

Limit Dairy – Dairy products can thicken mucus and worsen congestion. Limit milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.

Try a Neti Pot – Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution can remove pollen and provide relief. Use distilled water.

Monitor Forecasts – Check pollen and mold counts daily and limit outdoor time on high days. Stay aware of upcoming precipitation or wind which affects levels.

See an Allergist – Have testing done to identify your unique environmental triggers. Immunotherapy builds long-term tolerance.

Following an integrated plan of mullein, other herbs, healthy habits, and medical care as needed can help minimize allergy symptoms so you can breathe freely and live comfortably.


Mullein is emerging as a clinically-proven natural option for managing allergies, thanks to compounds that curb inflammation, inhibit histamine, and soothe membranes. It can be consumed as a tea, tincture, capsule, or essential oil. Using mullein consistently provides the best anti-allergy effects, with initial relief seen after 1-2 weeks and maximum benefit in 4-8 weeks. While generally quite safe, potential side effects have been reported in some users. Following dosage guidelines carefully and being aware of any possible contraindications is important. For optimal results, mullein can be paired with other evidence-based herbs, supplements, and healthy lifestyle measures. With the misery of allergy season upon us, mullein is one more tool to help combat congestion, sneezing, and discomfort.