Congestion affects many folks this time of year, and although it may seem paradoxical, smoking particular herbal blends can clear mucus clogging the throat and sinuses. According to herbalist Dani Solorio, mullein is an effective herb that has been traditionally used for relieving respiratory issues and is a common ingredient in cough syrups and cough drops. Solorio has spent the past several years of their life working to bring Indigenous knowledge and accessible medicine to their community as the founder of Compton Health Bar in California. Born in Zacápu, (located in Michoacán), Mexico, they aim to restore the connections between people and plants, as well as with ancestors.
"So many of us come from cultures that are very connected to the earth," Solorio said in an interview with POPSUGAR. "When we start using something as simple as making a tea for ourselves, it starts bringing back memories, whether the memory is my grandma or a family gathering or just chisme. It helps us reclaim that connection once you start feeling the connection with the plant itself. Plants are connected to us; we are one being. Reestablishing that connection to our ancestors through plants helps our psyche reconnect with our true essence, and I think it brings us into balance and into our best health when we discover and strengthen that connection."
Solorio grew up using their abuelita's herbal home remedies of peppermint, basil, and rue, and carries her knowledge into the next generation. During the fall and winter seasons, Solorio recommends incorporating mullein, lavender, and mint to smoke or take in tincture form to clear congestion. Mullein clears mucus and relieves chest constriction from asthma or stress, lavender mitigates sinus infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and asthma, and mint has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antispasmodic properties that adds a moistening and cooling effect useful in dry coughs.
"Usually within minutes of smoking it, you start dripping," Solorio said. "Some folks even believe the small flowers even look like lungs. My abuelita always referred to mullein as "gordo lobo" and used it with cinnamon to help anyone with a cough. If you have one of those intense coughs that won't go away and almost hurts you, lavender can really help especially when combined with mullein. In the Mesoamerican curandera tradition, particularly in Mexico, lavender and mint are used for spiritual, cleansing baths because it's gentle when folks are cleansing out trauma and heavy energies/emotions. Lavender can really hold you through that."
If you want to give this mullein smoking blend a try, go for it, but be sure to do your best research, and keep in mind that if you're dealing with an issue, it's never a bad idea to ask for guidance from a licensed professional or a medical professional.
Image Source: Dani Solorio
Image Source: Dani Solorio
Ingredients½ ounce dried mullein leaf or flowers
½ ounce dried lavender flowers
½ ounce dried mint leaves