Brewing tea is one of the best ways to enjoy medicinal mullein.
This velvety plant is packed with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting compounds, delivering a variety of health benefits in a deliciously aromatic package.
Want to try it out? Read on for a complete guide to making mullein tea at home so you can reap the rewards of this potent medicine all year long.
How to Make Mullein Tea the Right Way
1. Source Quality Mullein
Starting out with a high-quality product is critical to your success with any natural plant medicine. You can buy dried mullein from the market or online, but there’s no way to guarantee you get the best leaves without costly trial and error.
Foraging mullein is the best choice to ensure you consume leaves picked at peak freshness, free of charge. Search for it in the summer along forest edges and sunny fields. As you harvest, choose high-growing younger leaves over the larger ones below. These will have more concentrated medicine and better effects.
You can pick mullein whenever you see it, but I like waiting until midsummer. This is when mullein flowers and its tiny yellow blooms are also edible. They add a mellow, sweeter aroma to the brew. Pluck the flowers off from the stalk, but do not remove the entire cob.
2. Clean the Crop
Always clean foraged plants thoroughly, especially those you plan to consume. Trim away rotten or insect-eaten parts, and rub away dirt and debris with a damp cloth. When mullein is particularly dirty, you can rinse it off in water, but this isn’t always necessary. Wet mullein acts like a sponge, so try and avoid submerging it in liquid or it will take ages to dry.
Once you’ve cleaned up your crop a bit, trim it into pieces. Mullein leaves can get surprisingly large, and breaking them down will help them dry quicker. You can remove the tough, woody stems in the middle of the leaves at this stage. These are difficult to work with and don’t add much flavor to the tea.
3. Dry the Mullein
You don’t have to dry the mullein, but I recommend it. Fresh mullein is covered in tiny strands of fuzz, which release into the brew and could cause mouth irritation. Drying won’t eliminate fuzz entirely but can make it less irritating. There are two ways you can dry mullein:
- Dehydrator: I recommend a dehydrator like the Nesco Snackmaster, but you can use any unit with temperature controls. Simply set the temperature to 95°F and leave the plants inside for four to five hours. Avoid higher temperatures when dehydrating mullein since it can lose its beneficial qualities when exposed to intense heat.
- Air-drying: To air-dry your mullein, set the chopped pieces on a screen and leave them for about a week. Keep in mind that even when it’s completely dry, mullein retains a bit of give and may feel soft because of the fuzz. This is normal. If your mullein crackles when you touch it, it’s dry and ready to be used.
4. Crumble Into Loose-Leaf
The next step is to crumble dried mullein into loose-leaf tea. Use your hands to break the leaves apart. If they are dried properly, they should crack and crumble down quite easily. You don’t need to break the flowers down since they’re already so tiny.
While you could make tea from the larger pieces of dried leaf, breaking it down will condense it and allow you to extract more health benefits. Making loose-leaf also allows for easier storage, so you can toss the tea in a mason jar or bowl and use it at your leisure.
5. Ready Your Mug
Pack your strainer with two to three tablespoons of mullein leaves and several flowers.
Do you really need a strainer?
In my opinion, yes. Even when dried, mullein retains some of its fluff. Enclosing it within a filter will keep the wooly strands from fuzzing up your mouth.
6. Boil and Steep
Put the kettle on. When the water boils, fill your mug with hot water. Cover the strainer fully and let the mullein tea steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
Why so long?
Most tea takes three to five minutes to steep, but we always leave mullein tea for longer. The extra steeping time will soften its fuzzy parts, break down fibrous strands, and make the drink more palatable.
7. Strain and Enjoy
Finally, you’re ready to enjoy your hard-earned cup of tea. Remove the strainer and drink to your heart’s content! Some people find mullein tea bitter, even with the addition of flowers. Don’t despair — you can add a variety of things to make it taste better.
I always add a few teaspoons of natural honey and a couple of mint leaves. Other options include regular table sugar, molasses, chamomile flowers, stevia leaves, or any other additive you find appealing.
Ready to get your drink on? Now that you know how to make mullein tea, you can start enjoying the curative rewards of this natural medicinal plant today!