Chances are, if you Google Plantain you will see a fruit that looks a lot like a banana. But if you walk through your yard and look down at your feet, you will see the herb ‘Plantain’ everywhere. But did you know that this “weed” could be keeping you and your family healthy every day?? That it could be your go to for most First Aid? I make a salve with it that is my family’s first line of defense for cuts, scratches, bruises, ….heck, we use it for everything! We will get to that more later. Let me tell you more about this AMAZING herb. We are just going to start with the topical uses: Blisters, Cuts, Scrapes, Bruises, Swelling, Insect Stings, Bug Bites, Rashes, Dry Skin, Boils, Acne, Sunburn, Burns, Basically any skin condition.
How can it be good for so many things?? Plantain has these natural properties: Anti-Fungal, Decreases inflammation, decreases pain, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, Dilates bronchial tubes in the lungs, speeds wound healing by almost half. Now if you choose to eat it or use it in a tea that opens up a whole new set of possibilities. It is a tasty spinach type green if you pick it while young, before it gets tough. Medicinally, the seeds have been shown to reduce cholesterol. The leaves have been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells, decrease blood pressure, help heal sore throats, lung inflammation issues like bronchitis, asthma and the list goes on. These are the most common and well documented uses.
Wow! How do you use it?? Pick it and make it into a tea, a salve or eat it raw or cooked, make an extract or salve out of it. Remember, teas can be used topically also. And remember we have that salve already made for you if you are interested.
There are two different types of plantain that have naturalized in the united states. One is known as Broadleaf Plantain and one is more commonly called ‘English’ or narrow leaf plantain. They both have similar healing properties, yet different. While they are both made up of the same chemical properties, some of those characteristics are stronger in the English and some are stronger in the Broadleaf. So it is best to have about half and half. Both are Plantago.
Broadleaf is Plantago Major and English is Plantago Lanceolata. The second word refers to the shape of the leaf. The broadleaf plantain is what I showed you in the picture. Narrow leaved, Hmmm You know when you mow your yard in late spring and two days later the grass is still low but it has those 8-10’ tall seed heads on a stalk that pop up all over it so it looks like you haven’t mowed it in a month? My husband calls them “Buckhorn”. Yes that is English plantain. It grows in a clump with narrow ribbed leaves.
Our plantain salves has a few other beneficial ingredients. It contains Arnica, Essential Oils and Calendula. I will talk more about Arnica in a later post.