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Plant Profiler

Mullein (Verbascum phlomoides)


Mullein (Verbascum phlomoides) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Aaron's rod, Adam's flannel, beggar's blanket, beggar's flannel, beggar's stalk, big taper, blanket herb, blanket leaf, bullock's lungwort, candlewick plant, clot, clown's lungwort, common mullein, cuddy's lungs, duffle, feltwort, flannel plant, fluffweed, golden rod, great mullein, hag's taper, hare's taper, Jacob's staff, jupiter's staff, molene, mullein, mullein dock, old man's flannel, our lady's flannel, Peter's staff, rag paper, Scrophulariaceae (family), shepherd's club, shepherd's staff, torch, torches, velvet dock, velvet plant, Verbascum densiflorum, Verbascum fruticulosum, Verbascum lychnitis, Verbascum macrurum, Verbascum nigrum, Verbascum nobile, Verbascum phlomoides, Verbascum sinaiticum, Verbascum songaricum, Verbascum thapsiforme, Verbascum thapsus, Verbascum undulatum, white mullein, wild ice, wild ice leaf, woollen, wooly mullein, wooly mullin.

Combination product examples: Naturopathic Herbal Extract Ear Drops (Allium sativum, Verbascum thapsus, Calendula flores, Hypericum perfoliatum, lavender, and vitamin E in olive oil), Otikon Otic Solution (Allium sativum, Verbascum thapsus, Calendula flores, and Hypericum perforatum in olive oil).

Note: The common name mullein is associated with many different species. The following species are covered here: Verbascum densiflorum, Verbascum fruticulosum, Verbascum lychnitis, Verbascum macrurum, Verbascum nigrum, Verbascum nobile, Verbascum phlomoides, Verbascum sinaiticum, Verbascum songaricum, Verbascum thapsiforme, Verbascum thapsus, Verbascum undulatum.

Mechanism of Action

Pharmacology:

  • Constituents: From the aerial parts of species of mullein (Verbascum wiedemannianum Fisch. & Mey.) four phenylethanoid glycosides (wiedemanniosides B - E) were isolated along with four known compounds; 6- O-acetylmartynoside (= wiedemanniosides A), verbascoside, martynoside, echinacoside and leucosceptoside B.1
  • From the aerial parts of species of mullein (Verbascum sinaiticum, Verbascum thapsiforme, and Verbascum fruticulosum) seven saikosaponin homologues, called mulleinsaponins I-VII, having 13,28-epoxy-olean-11-ene skeleton have been isolated together with eight known saikosaponin homologues, 3-O-beta-D-fucopyranosyl saikogenin F, saikosaponin a, desrhamnosylverbascosaponin, songarosaponins C, D, mimengoside A and buddlejasaponins I, IV.2
  • From the aerial parts of a species of mullein (Verbascum macrurum) a potent antioxidant, acteoside, a polyhydroxylated phenylpropanoid glycoside derivative, was isolated.3
  • From the flowers of a species of mullein (Verbascum phlomoides) an iridoid ester glycoside acylated with p-coumaric acid was isolate along with caffeic acid esters, verbascocide and forsythoside B. Also a saponin was also identified as desrhamnosylverbascosaponin.4
  • A-galctosidase was extracted from the roots of a species of mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.).5,6,6
  • Amino acids, flavonoids, free sugars, iridoids, mucilages, phenolic acids and saponins have been extracted from the flowers of a species of mullein (Verbascum thapsiforme).7 Also, two triterpenoid saponins songarosaponin E, F and buddlejasaponin I have been isolated and identified as 3-O-([β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->4)-β-D- glucopyranosyl-(1-->3)]-[β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)]-β-D-fucopyranosyl)-olea-11,13-diene-3 β, 23,28-triol, 3-O-([β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->4)-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->3)]-[β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)]-β-D-fucopyranosyl)-olea-11,13-diene-3 β, 16 β, 23,28-tetrol and 3-O-([alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1-->4)-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->3)]-[β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)]- β-D-fucopyranosyl)-13 β, 28-epoxyolea-11-ene-3 β, 16 β, 23-triol from the aerial parts of the species (Verbascum songaricum).8
  • Verbalactone was isolated from the roots of a species of mullein (Verbascum undulatum).9 Sucrose cerebrosides were isolated from common mullein.10
  • Forsythoside B, a phenylethanoid triglycoside acylated with caffeic acid has been isolated in the mullein species (Verbascum densiflorum, V. lychnitis, V. nigrum, V. phlomoides).4
  • The roots and the seeds of mullein contain a sapotoxin called rotenone, however the reports do not specify a specific quantity.
  • Mullein may contain mucilage, gum, saponins, volatile oil, the flavonoids (hesperidin, verbascoside), glycosides (aucubin), caffeic acid derivatives (caffeic, ferulic, protocatechuic acids and verbascoside), sterols and tannis.
  • Some sources have claimed that mullein contains coumarins, however this is not supported by currently available clinical data.
  • Antibacterial activity: Mullein (Verbascum sinaiticum) has shown antimicrobial activity against strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.11 Antibacterial activity of mullein (Verbascum thapsus) was observed with Klebsiella pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli.12
  • Antioxidant activity: A species of mullein (Verbascum macrurum) has shown to have more potent antioxidant activity than α-tocopherol. Assessment of antioxidant activities of ten constituents established that acteoside, a polyhydroxylated phenylpropanoid glycoside derivative, is the most potent free radical scavenger and showed the highest protection factor (PF(r)) against sunflower-oil-induced oxidative rancidity. Its activity is comparable to the synthetic antioxidant BHT and clearly superior to natural α-tocopherol.13
  • Antitumor activity: Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) has been studied for antitumor activity on five human liver cancer cell lines.14
  • A constituent isolated from mullein flowers, saponin glycoside and its aglycon, directly inactivates ribosomes, which may be beneficial in inhibiting protein synthesis in tumor cells.15
  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens-induced tumors in potato disc tissue were inhibited by all extracts of mullein (Verbascum thapsus).16
  • Antiviral activity: Mullein (Verbascum thapsiforme) has been studied in in vitro tests to have inhibitory and antiviral activity against Herpes simplex type 1 virus.17,7,18 In another study Mullein (Verbascum thapsiforme) showed antiviral activity in vitro against several influenza A strains, a strain of influenza B and Herpes simplex virus. Mullein (Verbascum thapsiforme) again showed antiviral activity against the Herpes simples virus, however did not inactivate the influenza strains.19
  • Serkedijieva et al. revealed in a study of the inhibitory effects of mullein (Verbascum thapsiforme) combined with three amantadine derivatives on the influenza virus A/chicken/Germany/27; strain Weybridge (H7N7) that the combination enhanced antiviral effects.20

Pharmacodynamics/Kinetics:

  • Insufficient available evidence.

References

  1. Abougazar, H., Bedir, E., Khan, I. A., and Calis, I. Wiedemanniosides A-E: new phenylethanoid glycosides from the roots of Verbascum wiedemannianum. Planta Med 2003;69(9):814-819. 14598206
  2. Miyase, T., Horikoshi, C., Yabe, S., Miyasaka, S., Melek, F. R., and Kusano, G. Saikosaponin homologues from Verbascum spp. The structures of mulleinsaponins I-VII. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1997;45(12):2029-2033. 9433773
  3. Aligiannis, N., Mitaku, S., Tsitsa-Tsardis, E., Harvala, C., Tsaknis, I., Lalas, S., and Haroutounian, S. Methanolic extract of Verbascum macrurum as a source of natural preservatives against oxidative rancidity. J Agric Food Chem  12-3-2003;51(25):7308-7312. 14640576
  4. Klimek, B. Hydroxycinnamoyl ester glycosides and saponins from flowers of Verbascum phlomoides. Phytochemistry 1996;43(6):1281-1284. 8987909
  5. Bom, I., van Wassenaar, D., and Boot, J. Hybrid affinity chromatography of alpha-galactosidase from Verbascum thapsus L. J Chromatogr A 5-29-1998;808(1-2):133-139. 9652115
  6. Herissey, H., Fleury, P., Wickstrom, A., Courtois, J. E., and Le Dizet, P. [Action of periodic acid and of alpha-galactosidase on the galactosides of sucrose isolated from the roots of the common mullein.]. Bull Soc Chim Biol (Paris) 1954;36(11-12):1519-1524. 14378851
  7. Slagowska, A., Zgorniak-Nowosielska, I., and Grzybek, J. Inhibition of herpes simplex virus replication by Flos verbasci infusion. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm 1987;39(1):55-61. 2823239
  8. Hartleb, I. and Seifert, K. Triterpenoid saponins from Verbascum songaricum. Phytochemistry 1995;38(1):221-224. 7766054
  9. Magiatis, P., Spanakis, D., Mitaku, S., Tsitsa, E., Mentis, A., and Harvala, C. Verbalactone, a new macrocyclic dimer lactone from the roots of Verbascum undulatum with antibacterial activity. J Nat Prod  2001;64(8):1093-1094. 11520236
  10. Courtois, J. E., Wickstrom, A., Fleury, P., and Le Dizet, P. [Glucose cerebrosides derived from sucrose cerebrosides insolated from the common mullein.]. Bull Soc Chim Biol (Paris) 1955;37(9-10):1009-1021. 13304586
  11. Tadeg, H., Mohammed, E., Asres, K., and Gebre-Mariam, T. Antimicrobial activities of some selected traditional Ethiopian medicinal plants used in the treatment of skin disorders. J Ethnopharmacol 8-22-2005;100(1-2):168-175. 16054532
  12. Turker, A. U. and Camper, N. D. Biological activity of common mullein, a medicinal plant. J Ethnopharmacol  2002;82(2-3):117-125. 12241986
  13. Aligiannis, N., Mitaku, S., Tsitsa-Tsardis, E., Harvala, C., Tsaknis, I., Lalas, S., and Haroutounian, S. Methanolic extract of Verbascum macrurum as a source of natural preservatives against oxidative rancidity. J Agric Food Chem  12-3-2003;51(25):7308-7312. 14640576
  14. Lin, L. T., Liu, L. T., Chiang, L. C., and Lin, C. C. In vitro anti-hepatoma activity of fifteen natural medicines from Canada. Phytother Res 2002;16(5):440-444. 12203264
  15. Galasinski, W., Chlabicz, J., Paszkiewicz-Gadek, A., Marcinkiewicz, C., and Gindzienski, A. The substances of plant origin that inhibit protein biosynthesis. Acta Pol Pharm 1996;53(5):311-318. 9415207
  16. Turker, A. U. and Camper, N. D. Biological activity of common mullein, a medicinal plant. J Ethnopharmacol  2002;82(2-3):117-125. 12241986
  17. McCutcheon, A. R., Roberts, T. E., Gibbons, E., Ellis, S. M., Babiuk, L. A., Hancock, R. E., and Towers, G. H. Antiviral screening of British Columbian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol 12-1-1995;49(2):101-110. 8847882
  18. Zanon, S. M., Ceriatti, F. S., Rovera, M., Sabini, L. J., and Ramos, B. A. Search for antiviral activity of certain medicinal plants from Cordoba, Argentina. Rev Latinoam Microbiol  1999;41(2):59-62. 10932751
  19. Zgorniak-Nowosielska, I., Grzybek, J., Manolova, N., Serkedjieva, J., and Zawilinska, B. Antiviral activity of Flos verbasci infusion against influenza and Herpes simplex viruses. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz) 1991;39(1-2):103-108. 1666504
  20. Serkedjieva, J. Combined antiinfluenza virus activity of Flos verbasci infusion and amantadine derivatives. Phytother Res 2000;14(7):571-574. 11054856




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