Featured Herb: Plantain

Plantago lanceolata is the botanical name for long-leaf plantain, which is what I wildcrafted on my property in Bayside that I affectionately and unofficially call Melody Farm. Many of you might be familiar with plantain as the ultimate “band-aid plant”, because it is so amazing as a topical first aid herb for cuts, scrapes, stings, insect bites, splinters, rashes, etc. For those of you who are new to this, I encourage you to learn how to positively identify plantain-there are many plant enthusiasts and great books to help you do this (always be 100% sure of the proper identification of any plant you intend to use internally or externally). Then, if you get stung by a bee, find some plantain, chew it up, and apply immediately to the sting. Plantain is great at drawing out infection or splinters. A splinter can have the same chewed up application, held in place by a bandaid. Check twice a day, and it’s very likely that the plantain will push the splinter out in a day or 2.

I have a plantain oil brewing in my Magical Butter machine as I write this. This can be applied directly to skin for rashes, but my favorite thing to do with the oil is to add beeswax and melt it together to make an all purpose salve, which can then be used for boo-boos, owies, insect bites, diaper rashes, burns, cuts, etc.

BUT did you know plantain is also wonderful as a tincture? Plantain has also been traditionally used internally for urinary tract infections (for this a tea is preferable but a tincture diluted in lots of water could be used in a pinch), and irritable dry coughs (NOT wet productive coughs-that’s another animal). Also the soothing demulcent activity of plantain is a reason it is also used for many types of digestive ailments, including leaky gut, IBS/IBD, ulcers, diverticulitis, acid reflux, and many other gastric disturbances. All of these reasons are why I had to put some up in organic Humboldt Distillery Vodka to macerate and eventually become a tincture.

I hope you can get outside and find some of this humble healer in your own yard. It is an abundant weed found in most temperate lawns. Again make sure you have positively identified it. And then have some fun experimenting with this lovely herb.

**This information is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, cure, or treat disease. I encourage you to do your own research on medicinal plants and see your practitioner if you have a medical condition.