Plantain is literally everywhere. Growing in our gardens, along roadsides, on well traveled hiking trails and in between cracks on the city sidewalks. With its broad leaves and flower spikes, it kind of looks like a mini Hosta. It is abundant, important and highly efficient medicine. Due to its widespread growth, this is a great plant to get to know and harvest in the "wild". Plantain is such a cool plant! After this post, I hope readers will begin to see this plant as useful medicine, rather than an unwanted weed.
Plantain (Plantago major) was considered one of the nine sacred herbs by the ancient Anglo Saxons of Europe. The Saxons referred to Plantain as "Waybroad" and in Gaelic, it was known as "the healing plant". When early European settlers introduced this medicine to the New World, Native American tribes quickly utilized Plantain's medicine. Medicinal effects of Plantain has been documented in 10th century Herbal texts and used by different cultures all over the world. Knowing this, I think we should be paying attention to this wonderful plant
Plantain is the perfect herb for the ailments and mishaps of summer. It helps relieve insect bites and stings, soothes rashes, it's an antidote to poison ivy, heals cuts, and eases burns. Young plantain leaves are edible, add them to salads or treat them just like spinach. Internally, Plantain is taken as a diuretic for the kidneys, a decongestant of the lungs, and helps ease inflammation of the digestive and urinary tract.
A few simple ways to use Plantain:
Poultice: Find a fresh plantain leaf, crush it or chew it in your mouth and apply it to insect bites or stings. (I have tried it, it works). It quickly slows/stops blood flow, so try the poultice on cuts.
Oil Infusion: Add newly dried plantain leaf to olive oil, gently warm over very low heat for 2-3 hours. Strain and apply to rashes, minor cuts and bruises. A constituent of Plantain, Allantoin, is proven to be wound healing, cell regenerative, skin softening, and all around awesome.
Tea: 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of leaf in one cup of hot water is recommended. Steep 10-15 minutes. Drink daily or use as a skin wash for the ailments listed above.
Safe for kids.
Due to any unknown reactions or side effects, use with caution and use responsibly.