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PREPARATION.--Fill a bottle with the blossoms from the Verbascum
thapsus, cork tight, and hang in the sun for four or five weeks. By that
time there will be an oily liquid distilled. Mix with ten per cent. of
(Dr. A. M. Cushing introduced this now rather well-known
remedy to the medical profession in 1884. He writes of it
The history of it is this: My father's house was the home for all poor
tramps, as well as ministers, etc. He fell into the river, got water in
his ears and was quite deaf for months. A blind man called, heard loud
conversation, asked the cause, etc., then said for kindness received he
would tell us how to make something that would surely cure him, and it
was worth a thousand dollars in New York city. We made the oil, put it
in his ears at night, and he was well in the morning. For years we kept
a bottle of it, and it travelled all around the towns and did wonders.
That was when I was a youngster. When I studied medicine, or when I was
practicing, I wanted to know if it was homoeopathic, and made a
proving, and developed the symptoms of almost constant but slight
involuntary urination, keeping my pants wet.
I did not make any this past season, and have divided till I have but a
little, half-and-half alcohol, left. I could spare a little of that, and
next season, if I live, will try and make a quantity.
(The next item is from a letter of Dr. H. C. Houghton's,
of New York, addressed to Boericke & Tafel.)
I have been much interested in the clinical study of this remedy--new,
yet not new--but I have not succeeded in demonstrating what the
symptom--deafness means in this case. Dr. Cushing does not claim to be
an expert in this department, so time must help us out, and I am anxious
to learn all I can of its effects on the ear.
In an old note-book of Dr. Hering's, Hearing and Ears, copied for me
with the author's permission by my friend Dr. C. R. Norton, I noticed
the following: "In Germany, flowers of Verbascum thapsus put in a
dark-colored bottle, hung up in the sunlight, give in two or three weeks
an oily fluid which has cured many old people and children." This method
is impracticable, the amount produced being so small. Verbascum prepared
in olive oil or fluid petroleum has the same effect as any oil;
excellent in chronic disease of the integument; negative in middle ear
disease. When your house brought out Mullein oil under Dr. Cushing's
direction, I took it up again, and have prescribed it in a large number
of cases. In chronic dermatitis of the external meatus and drum-head, or
exfoliation after furuncle, it is excellent; in chronic catarrhal
inflammation of the tympanum I have not been able to see any effect, but
in chronic suppurative disease of the tympanum, or in accumulations of
detritus in cases of perforation, scarred drum-heads, etc., it acts to
dislodge accumulations, free the ossicula from pressure, and thereby
improves the hearing; this process goes on for months till the tympanum
has thrown out an amount of debris that is surprising. In a few cases
it has caused soreness and increased muco-purulent discharge, due, I
think, to excessive use.
My experience with it in chronic catarrh of the tympanum coincides with
that of my friend, H. P. Bellows, M. D., of Boston, as published by him,
but I purpose to continue the study of the drug, and hope for better
results. In sub-acute or chronic disease after suppuration its effect is
very gratifying; it aids exfoliation and checks irritation from
I am able to confirm the symptoms noted of its effects in nocturnal
enuresis in many instances. There is one effect I have not seen noticed
by any observers: relief of night cough. More than ten years ago, Dr. H.
A. Tucker, Brooklyn, N. Y., told me of a Glycerole of Mullein made by
macerating the plant in Jamaica rum for two or three weeks, expressing
it and adding to this product an equal quantity of glycerine. This led
me to the use of the fluid extract of the plant, glycerine and water,
equal parts, as a mollifier in cases where patients would resort to some
popular remedy containing opium or similar opiate. The same effect can
be produced by drop doses of Mullein oil, the teasing cough which
comes on lying down, preventing the sleep usually yielding to a few
(Dr. J. C. Wentz contributed the following bit of
The application of Mullein oil is of more general application than
anything I have found in print. I report to you some cases:
CASE I.--Mertie B., aged sixteen. Called to see her May 20, 1888. Found
her suffering great pain in right ear. Parotid gland very much enlarged
and painful. The right side of the head and face much swollen. Pulse
about 100; tongue coated.
Treatment.--Mullein oil in the ear, and used as a liniment twice
daily on the swollen parts. For the fever, Aconite. Great improvement
during the first twenty-four hours, and on the 23d found the case
CASE II.--Carrie H., aged twenty-two. Her second child four weeks old.
Called November 15, 1888. Right breast inflamed and sore. Two weeks
previous it had been lanced by another physician, a little above the
nipple, but now a place a little below and to the left of the nipple
gives evidence of forming pus. I told her that in my judgment it had
gone too far to check it then.
Treatment.--Mullein oil, one-half ounce in four ounces of water. Wet
cloths and apply. The inflammation and soreness disappeared in one week,
and by the use of the same remedy occasionally has entirely recovered
without breaking. Her husband, when he paid me, said: "Well you have
done better than any of the rest of the doctors."
CASE III.--Linford S., aged sixty-four. Called to see him September 20,
1888. Has just recovered from typhoid fever, but is able to be around.
Taken with inflammation of the right testicle. Swollen to the size of a
goose egg, and much pain. Red and shining appearance of the skin. Cause
unknown, unless it was in connection with chronic enlargement of
Treatment.--Mullein oil applied twice daily as a liniment.
Mercurius sol. internally. In three days the soreness and pain had
entirely disappeared, but the enlargement continued several days. He
walked around with ease three or four days before swelling had
CASE IV.--F. C., aged thirty. Called November 16, 1888. Found
inflammation of left kidney and of left testicle. Had been under
treatment by another doctor and had recovered partially, but relapsed.
Suffering much with pain in testicle, which ran up the spermatic cord
and through to the left kidney.
Treatment.--Cantharis and Aconite, as there was some fever.
Mullein oil applied to the testicle. Rapid improvement during the
first twenty-four hours, and made a quick recovery.
I have also cured a case of chronic inflammation of the eyes, and a case
of chilblains from which the patient had suffered, during the winter,
for about six years. * * *
Every drug has its exact range. This one being new to the profession, we
are just learning what it will do. In all these cases the Mullein oil
has had an outward application twice daily.
A short time ago I was in Dodge city and was talking with a friend about
the use of various remedies in veterinary practice, and amongst them I
mentioned an almost instant cure of earache in a boy and also the same
in a cat by the use of Mullein oil. He said: "Why do you homoeopaths
use that? I used to have the well sweep full of bottles of mullein
blossoms when I was a boy. We used the oil as a dressing for burns, and
it was the best thing we could get." He also related to me the following
case, which is of interest and may prove of great value: An old
neighbor, a Mr. Kemmis, had spent a large amount of money treating with
various physicians for what they pronounced a rose cancer and without
any relief. An Indian squaw told him to use Mullein oil. He distilled
it (as it is now prepared, by sun exposure), and for a short time bathed
the cancer with the oil. The growth of the cancer was permanently
checked, but was not healed. Mr. K. lived, perhaps, forty years after
the treatment was used, and the cancer never again bothered him.
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