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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 239237, 7 pages
Review Article

What's in a Name? Can Mullein Weed Beat TB Where Modern Drugs Are Failing?

Cork Institute of Technology, Rossa Avenue, Bishopstown, Cork, Ireland

Received 20 April 2010; Accepted 31 August 2010

Copyright © 2011 Eibhlín McCarthy and Jim M. O'Mahony. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Common mullein weed (Verbascum thapsus) has a large number of synonyms and old local “nick names” which connect the plant with mycobacteria. A strong history of medicinal use has been uncovered for the treatment of tuberculosis, tubercular skin disease, leprosy, and mycobacterial disease in animals. Here, we examine problems encountered in treating such diseases today, the historical and scientific links between mullein and pathogenic bacteria, and the possibility that this common weed could harbour the answer to beating one of the world's biggest infectious killers.