Herb Series 5: Plantain

Homesteading

Today we are talking about Plantain (Not to be confused with the banana-like fruits Plantains). This plant is technically considered a noxious weed…but one I would be happy to find growing on our property. Much like Dandelion in the sense that not all weeds are bad!!

broad-leafed_plantain

Plantago major (and minor), Broadleaf Plantain, White Man’s Foot, Common Plantain, Patrick’s Dock, Ripple Grass, Snakeweed, Waybread, Englishman’s Foot.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

“The common plantain is of Eurasian descent, but has since been naturalized around the world with particular prominence in the United States. Native American populations referred to it as Whiteman’s Foot due to its tendency to spring up around European settlements.

Plantain has been used by many cultures the world over, and the Saxons considered it one of their nine sacred herbs. It was considered an early Christian symbol and many cultures today refer to it as an aphrodisiac. Despite its usefulness, plantain is considered a noxious weed in some regions outside of its native range.”

Plantain is said to have antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-toxic and coagulating properties and is used both externally and internally.

It is said to help with minor wounds, bruises, burns, skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis, sores, chicken pox, itching, healing and soothing mosquito/ant/spider/other insect bites, soothing bee stings, ease the itch of poison oak/ivy/sumac, snake bites, ear infections, indigestion, heartburn and ulcers.

Some research suggests it may be helpful in lowering blood sugar and protecting the body against the side effects of chemotherapy but it is not confirmed.

The leaves are edible and can be used like you would any other green such as spinach. They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens for a side dish. The older leaves have a stronger taste that some find offensive but are fibrous and stringy, making them useful for homemade cordage or fishing line.

Plantain can be eaten raw or cooked, used for teas, tinctures, salves and external compresses.

We have used it for spider bites, cuts and in salves for skin troubles, and it worked wonders. I also have used it in homemade mouthwashes for its antibacterial properties.

Have you ever used plantain?

*As with all natural remedies and medicine there are risks and warnings associated with Plantain. Consult a doctor and/or do your own research before consuming/using it to treat any condition.

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