Ingredients for Garlic-Mullein Flower Ear OilThis herbal oil has three ingredients:
- Fresh picked mullein flowers (see photo of a part of a stalk on the left); a good sized handful
- Fresh garlic - 3-4 cloves
- Organic olive oil - approx 1/2 cup
- A double boiler
- A strainer
- A glass jar
- Jars for storage
Harvesting MulleinThe key ingredient in this ear oil is mullein flowers, from a common mullein plant. Mullein plants spend their first year in a basal rosette of soft, fuzzy leaves and send up a tall flower stalk that produces beautiful yellow flowers in their second year. Each day during the flowering season (in this part of the country, July to late August) the mullein flowers bloom over a long period of time, slowly working their way up the stalk, day after day.
To effectively harvest them, you have two options. Once is to visit a place where there are lots of mullein plants growing, and harvest the open flowers and freshly fallen flowers from a number of plants. The second way is to visit a few plants over a period of days. If you put the flowers in the fridge in a bag with a piece of wet paper towel, they will keep good for up to a week while you harvest each day.
Step by Step Instructions1. Gather your ingredients (as listed above). Use the freshest garlic possible. You can have a little bit of green on the mullein flowers (like I do in this photo). Garble your mullein flowers (that is, check to make sure you have only mullein flowers and that you don't have any bugs--let the bugs gently back outside).
2. Peel and chop your garlic up finely.
3. Add your garlic, mullein flowers, and olive oil to a double boiler and coat in oil. Usually, for a small amount (like I'm doing today) you might need about 1/2 cup of oil.
4. The mullein flowers are quite delicate. You don't want to cook them or fry them, so keep your heat on low. Because this is a wet material operation (and we don't want water in our oil) don't add a lid (then the steam can evaporate off).
I typically heat this oil for 24-48 hours.
The photo below is at the end of my infused oil preparation--you will note that the garlic has not browned and the mullein flowers have browned only slightly, but are still intact and not crispy. If they get crispy, you've used too much oil.
5. Pour off your oil through a strainer and into a clear vessel. In this case, I'm using a wine glass. You want something that you will be able to see clearly to the bottom because, after it settles, you are going to check to see if there are any particles and/or water droplets in the bottom.
6. Let the infused oil sit overnight, or a minimum of 8 hours. This will give it plenty of time to settle and you can then check to see if you see plant particles and/or little bubbles on the bottom (those are water droplets). Both water droplets and plant particles will make your oil go rancid quickly so you want to pour those things off before bottling.
7. I strained my oil (avoiding the last little bit to avoid several small water bubbles) into small jars. These will keep for at least a year on the shelf.
Using your Ear OilIf you start to feel an earache coming on of any variety, you can use this ear oil. Warm the oil (I use a double boiler for this, putting it in some hot water while it is still in the jar); make sure the oil is only warm, and not too hot. Gently tilt the head to the side, and using a dropper, put 1-2 drops of ear oil in the ear, slowly and carefully. It is much easier if you get someone else to do this for you! Use the oil twice a day in both ears.
Please note that this should not be used for swimmer's ear (when water is stuck in the ear) nor if you have a perforated ear drum.