April 29, 2013

Plantain

"A weed is simply a plant that you don't know what to do with."
Author Unknown

Plantain is a plentiful "weed" that is usually overlooked in the landscape, yet it is a beneficial herb.
It grows along our driveway and in the front yard - I won't use the term "lawn" because I think we have everything growing BUT grass. Plantain is a low-growing plant and is most easily recognized when the flower spikes are reaching for the sky. The seeds are known as psyllium and are used as dietary fiber in products such as Metamucil.


Plantain is very versatile. The leaves' most common use is to relieve pain from insect stings and bites, and burns. Fresh leaves are bruised (usually by chewing the leaves for a moment or two) and applied to the wound, refreshing with new leaves as needed. It also helps to close the edges of wounds.


Plantain tea can also be applied to skin as a wash to relieve sunburn, windburn and rashes. To make tea, add a small handful of fresh, bruised leaves to a cup of water and bring to a gentle boil, then remove from the heat, let steep and strain out the leaves.


I also make plantain-infused oil. I fill a canning jar with fresh, bruised leaves, cover the plant matter with olive oil, and warm the oil by placing the jar in a saucepan of simmering water for several hours. When finished, strain the leaves from the oil and store in the refrigerator. The plantain turns the oil such a pretty green color.


I use the infused oil in soapmaking. I also make a plantain salve for insect bites and other minor skin irritations by adding beeswax to the warm oil. The salve and the soap both retain the oil's green tint.


5-30-2014 - Edited to add the above photo of narrow-leaved plantain in bloom.

Do you have plantain or other beneficial herbs growing wild?


Remember, before using this or any herb, please research it fully. 
You are responsible for your own health. 


Other posts in this series:
Plantain
Woolly Mullein
Wild Onions
Echinacea
Yarrow
How to Harvest Yarrow
Pokeweed
Lambsquarters
Curly Dock
Vetch
DIY Herb Field Guide



This post has been shared at the following:
What to Do Weekends
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
Funky Junk Interiors
Homestead Barn Hop
 Please visit my Blog Hops page for the links

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10 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this about this valuable herb...I have used it to help heal cuts before and it works great!

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  2. We have two different kinds of plantain in our garden: those with the broad leaves and the one with the narrow leaves. Those have a myriad of medicinal uses too. Not that I've used them much, but I plan to...

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  3. Thanks for the information!

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  4. What a great post! I just bought some of this herb for making my own salve (first time trying this) and I'm thinking it would be far more rewarding if I was able to grow this myself - not sure it's possible in central FL, but will certainly research it now. Actually, I never heard of this before visiting Stacie's blog "Life At Cobble Hill Farm".

    Thanks for sharing. I love your blog. :-)

    eli

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  5. Thank you, Elizabeth. I do have to say that it's quite satisfying to go outside, gather wild herbs, and make them into something wonderful like a salve. I hope it will grow in your area.

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  6. What a wonderful addition to the garden. I love plants that are pretty and healing as well.
    Thanks for sharing this on The Maple Hill Hop!

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  7. How do you make the salve?

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  8. Robin, I have two older posts on making salve - Salve Making and Herbal Salve. It's very easy, I hope you'll give it a try.

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  9. I knew about plaintain's medicinal uses but I had no idea that it was the plant that makes psyllium! VERY cool! I love learning about herbs. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Kim, aren't herbs and wild plants amazing?

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