Oh my goodness, Plantain! My FAVORITE herb! I know I shouldn’t pick favorites...but I can’t help myself! Actually I think my favorite herbs are like favorite children. I had a mother of six tell me once "I don’t have a favorite child, each child is just my favorite in a different way." This is of course paraphrased, but you get the idea!
Because I have so many favorite herbs I’ve decided to do a little series on them and who else would I start with but plantain, my favorite herb!
Why’s it my favorite?
When I decided to study herbs seriously I kept hearing about this wonder herb called Plantain. It was good for nearly everything as far as I could tell and I had to find this herb. When I finally found some good pictures of this plant I about fainted! This was plantain...that crazy lettuce looking thing that I used to make salads with when I was a young kid playing oldn’ days in the yard! It was everywhere around me!
Plantain is my favorite herb because it does amazing things but also because it is the herb that introduced me to backyard herbalism. Plantain did not require me to go any farther than my backyard for some powerful plant medicine!
Where does it grow?
Plantain grows everywhere! I was digging deep into herbs at the same time I began LPN school. I still remember standing in the parking lot at school and discovering plantain patches all over the parking lot. My sister in-law/partner through nursing school/ very tolerant to my crazy herbalist side, best friend, can also pick out plantain anywhere. Mostly because I would get weirdly excited every time I found it. So when I say it’s everywhere, I mean it! Yards, parking lots, gardens, fields. Plantain comes in many different shapes and sizes so keep your eyes open!
What does it do?
Plantain is a fantastic topical herb. It can be used fresh as a poultice, as a tea, infused into an oil and as a salve. Properties of plantain include anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, and analgesic to name a few. The constituents and properties of plantain make it wonderful for bites and stings. It works well to speed healing of wounds while also preventing any infections that may invade. It is great for itchy rashes or skin issues. As an astringent it is good for colds when you have a lot of mucus that needs dried up or if you are having issues with diarrhea.
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How have I used it?
I have used plantain for many things. It is a salve I make every year, sometimes multiple times. I sell it over on my Etsy shop if you’re not interested in making your own. I use it fresh, dried or in the salve.
I have used this for multiple rashes on myself and others. My grandmother had strange blisters that would pop up and itch like crazy, she loved my plantain salve to soothe these.
I slathered myself in it when I was covered in a poison Ivy rash. Because you can only use steroid creams a few times a day, Plantain was my savior, I could re-apply it as often as needed. I would love to completely avoid the steroid cream but when I was going through this I wasn’t so in the know about how bad that stuff is for you.
My nephew used it to combat his rash after getting allergy shots. These shots were given to help reduce is allergic reactions. They have been working but they would leave him with a terribly uncomfortable rash afterwards and they wanted to avoid the steroid cream. Plantain to the rescue!
I personally don’t find relief from mosquito bites when using plantain. However I have a friend who’s mosquito bites turn into huge welts and she swears by using plantain for this. She says it takes the swelling down right away!
I have used it on many unknown skin issues. Whatever strange or itchy predicament my nieces or sons find themselves in they always come to me for some “cream.”
Plantain is also amazing for bites and stings. My first experience with my plantain salve was an unfortunate wasp sting but one little dab of plantain salve and the sting was gone immediately!
I’ve chewed up the leaf and placed it on my kiddo’s bee stings before. The success of this depends on the child’s ability to hold still long enough to let it work.
Plantain is in nearly all of my combination salves because it adds so much!
These are just a few of the ways I’ve used plantain. There really are too many to list. I haven’t used it internally much because I haven’t found the need.
Have you used plantain?
Have you ever used plantain? What have you used it for? How well did it work?
If you haven’t used it would you like to? How can I help?
I hope you enjoyed this and there will be more of my favorite herbs to come! Let me know some of your favorite herbs!