Monday, June 6

Wild Food- Plantain

  Today I bring you a plant that I am sure you have seen everywhere, in your yard, sidewalks, meadows, cities or farms. Meet the Plantain weed. This "weed" is so much more than a weed and deserves some respect.  Not only is great to eat raw or cooked but it has a ton of medicinal properties that even your kids should know about. There are 2 kinds that grow just about everywhere, the broad leaf plantain and the english plantain. Basically one has wide leaves and looks like spinach and the other has thin leaves. Both plantain types work the same.


     Plantain has a long history in herbal medicine, and many of its remarkable medicinal qualities have been confirmed by modern science.  Externally, it is effective on any kind of skin disorder when the leaves are bruised and simply rubbed on the skin.  Alternatively it can be made into an oil or ointment and stored for convenient external use.  This is an amazing plant, folks, and it will help with a long list of skin complaints, including rashes, wounds, ulcerations, cuts, swelling, sprains, bruises, burns, eczema, cracked lips, poison ivy, mosquito bites, diaper rash, boils, hemorrhoids, and blisters.  It is also effective as an agent that draws out the poison for bee stings, snake bites, and spider bites, and it effectively draws out splinters or thorns and reduces the risk of scarring with more severe cuts and scrapes.  Placed in the shoes, the leaves will help prevent blisters on the feet.

                                                                   English plantain
                                                                 Broad leaf plantain

If that's not enough, internally the list is even longer for this amazing "weed."  Drunk as a tea made from the leaves, Plantain is effective as a general detoxifier in the body, and works remarkably well as a remedy for colds, flu, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, fevers, hypertension, rheumatism, bladder problems, gastritis, ulcers, irritable bowel, cystitis, sinusitis, coughs, kidney stones, intestinal complaints, goiter, PMS, regulating menstrual flow, hoarseness, congestion, hay fever, diarrhea, and as a blood sugar stabilizer in diabetics.  The seeds can be dried and infused in water for a soothing eye lotion, as a laxative, and for intestinal worms in children.    There is also some indication that taken internally, Plantain can help with smoking cessation by detoxifying the body and thereby reducing cravings. 
Though I don't usually recommend pointing out herbs to children for fear that they will start sampling plants inappropriately, this is one that they should know of and that will provide instant relief from stinging insects and minor wounds and irritations that they routinely encounter in the yard.  There are no side-effects whatsoever for most of us, but in certain sensitive individuals, minor dermatitis may result from external use.
{courtesy of  Gardens Ablaze }

Plantain Tea

Use the dried leaves to make either an infusion or tea, for daily consumption for what some say assures good over all health.

Mix dried leaves with equal amounts of dried thyme. Use about 1 teaspoon to 1/4 litre of boiling water for tea. Let steep 5 to 10 minutes. Do the same, omitting the thyme and steeping, to make the infusion.

Plantain Oil

Chop plantain leaves up and fill a glass jar with the leaves. Then cover with olive oil and leave on the counter covered with paper towel for a few weeks. Strain leaves and what is left is a wonderful green plantain oil.
Here is a more detail recipe courtesy of Earth Heart

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