Monday, August 02, 2010

Common Plantain's Place In The Natural Medicine Chest


Common Plantain growing all around our homestead!

Common Plantain (Plantago Major L.) and Narrow-leaved Plantain (Plantago Lanceolata L.) is all around me. The juice is what you need for bee stings or bites, you just chew it a bit and take that juice and apply. I have used it many times for bee stings and in about five minutes you cannot see the bee sting at all. Works fast. I also add it to our salads and stir fries. 

One time I was at my friend's house and we were out on her deck when a bee stung me. Very suddenly! I looked around real quick and spotted the Common Plantain growing in her yard...........I ran down the steps and grabbed some and started chewing. She looked at me as if I was crazy. She was feeling bad that I got stung but didn't really know what to do. As soon as I applied that juice from the Plantain on my sting, it stopped hurting immediately. And in just a couple minutes or so there was absolutely no red spot. I knew it would work as I have used it many times before that.

Now I am not saying it works every time. One other time I was stung by three yellow jackets at the same time and it did not relieve those painful stings one bit. My husband also got stung by yellow jackets last year and they made his hand turn black and blue............but nothing would relieve it. We burned those guys out with boiling hot on their hive. Their ground hive was hidden in a bale of hay we were using for insulation up against our house. So for the most part yellow jacket stings are hard to soothe with Plantain.

A close up view of Common Plantain (Plantago Major)

It was known as "white man's walk" as that is what the Native Americans called it. That is because it grows along paths. I have it all over my yard and paths. It is very plentiful from May through October. It is a perennial and grows from 6-18 inches tall. The leaves are broad oval shaped with wavy margined or toothed, ribbed with a grooved stalk. It's flowers grow in a slender, elongate head. Most people think of it as a weed. Not me! I love my weeds. I think of it as medicine or food and that is more important to me than a nice lawn (now I don't believe my husband thinks the same way on that........men love their lawns!).

For eating you can chop and add it to your salads or sandwiches in place of, or with lettuce. Or boil it for 10-15 minutes and serve with butter. Try to use very young leaves as they are sometimes very stringy and you might not like them. I like to pick a variety of greens growing wild and cook them all together or put them all in our salads raw and chopped. Why let them go to waste when they are full of rich vitamins and minerals?

 Common Plantain growing in our lawn.

Common Plantain is used widely in folk medicine world wide. It is a confirmed antimicrobial and stimulates the healing process. In Latin America it is believed to be a cancer remedy. Traditionally both varieties of Plantain are used as leaf tea for coughs, diarrhea, dysentery and bloody urine. Science research has confirmed bronchodilation action (widening the air passages of the lungs and eases breathing). Leaves can be applied to blisters,sores, ulcers, swelling, insect bites and stings, also used for earaches, eye ailments and to reduce the pain of inflammation. The mucilage from any plantain seed may lower cholesterol levels.Be careful though as some Plantain seeds may cause rare instances of Dermatitis when being handled. Not for everyone but sensitive individuals may contract it. So just be aware and be careful. 

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
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