How To Use Plantain as Herbal Medicine


plantain is so common that to herbalists
it’s one of the first plants we learn about plantain is a versatile plant with
many uses the most common use is to draw out material from the skin this applies
to splinters beestings pieces of glass or any other unwanted material that it’s
made its way into the skin even for open cuts plantain can help remove dirt and
debris and even pus from the wound plantain has added benefits for open
wounds in that it’s antibacterial so it will help prevent an infection even
better plantain actually helps heal the wound this is because the plant contains
a compound called allantoin which helps regenerate the skin as well as a mucilaginous compound which is slippery the slippery attribute is soothing and
calming to hot irritated conditions both inside and outside the body the best way
to use plantain for external purposes is simply to pick a leaf chew it up and
place it right on the afflicted area just as I’m doing here this is called a
poultice it really is just that simple you can then place a bandage over the
area and hold it in place I would replace it with a new one when the plant
dries additional uses for a plantain poultice would include acne poison ivy
eczema and burns including sunburn a good idea is to make a salve from the
plantain leaves so it will be readily available for you and your first-aid kit
this is helpful for times outside of the growing season or for travel the mucilaginous quality of plantain helps to soothe mucous membranes when used
internally these include the mucous membranes of the lungs so plantain is
often used for coughs where there is hot and irritated conditions such as a
dry cough the intestines and the bladder also have mucous membranes so plantain
is soothing to these areas as well conditions that would warrant the use of
plantain include urinary tract infections colitis and even
ulcers it’s best to use a tea for these conditions the common plantain has
its origin in Europe as well as northern and Central Asia it has now found its
way around the planet and is naturalized and established nearly everywhere once
you learn to identify it it’s easy to find and readily available in many
places it prefers poor soils that have been disturbed and it’s one of the
plants that first populates areas that see a lot of foot traffic which is
really interesting plantain moves right in and withstands those stresses that
other plants would never be able to survive in each plant produces lots and
lots of seeds so the plant quite easily spreads look for plantain on any walking
trail whether it’s in the sun or the shade it really thrives in yards that
have been mowed and this is what makes it such a great remedy when you need it
it’s often not far away to identify plantain look for wide leaves on short
stocks all emanating from a basal rosette that looks like this a basal
rosette is where all of the leaf stalks come directly from one point at the base
of the plant the leaves are oval and leathery feeling with a bit of a point
at the tip they’ll be smaller than the size of your hand when they are tread
upon a lot and then they can be larger if they aren’t they don’t have any teeth
but they are a bit wavy on the edges another distinguishing feature are the
deep parallel veins as you can see on these leaves they start together from
the base of the leaf and end together again at the tip of the leaf to really
make sure that you have the correct plant pull one of the leaves from as far
down as you can from the base of the plant look closely at the base and
you’ll see fine threads extending from the
to the stem this is a unique feature and I’m not aware of any other plants
that have it the flower is not showy at all it arises out of the basal rosette
on a single stem and it looks like this when it’s in full bloom and you can see
how many seeds there are that will be spreading there are a number of
different types of plantain but the most often encountered is the common plantain
which is the one we’re talking about in this lesson it’s also called broadleaf
plantain another frequently encountered plantain is the narrow leaf plantain
which is also often called English plantain the botanical name for that one
is plantago lanceolata this plantain is similar in appearance to the common
plantain but the leaf is much more narrow and longer and the flower is also
a bit different but it can be used in the same way as the common plantain for
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