Plantain (Plantago major, L., aka. Plantago Major, Ripple Grass, Wagbread and White Man’s Foot) is one of the world’s most common herbs. It offers many health benefits. Also known as the “Mother of Herbs,” plantain grows on most lawns, along with common dandelions. It is one of the top three common medicinal herbs along with dandelion and chicory. Most plantain plants have leaves with veins that fork outward from a central midrib. Plantain does not have a blossom, it only has a compact seed head that shoots upward and turns from green to brown as the seeds mature.
Plantain is both edible and medicinal, and it is a first-choice remedy for many skin ailments. All parts of the plant, including the seeds, are usable. The herb plantain is not related to the cooking banana, often known as a Mexican or Spanish banana.
The plantain herb is helpful for incontinence in children and elderly adults. It is an excellent astringent to stop bleeding and promote the healing of cuts, skin infections and poison ivy. The root of plantain can be chewed to ease the pain of toothaches.
Plantain can be used as poultice, you can chop a plantain leaf with a knife or other sharp instrument, add a little water and apply it to a wound. For an emergency treatment when camping or at the park you can make a poultice for insect bites and bee stings from the leaves of the plantain plant by chewing a plantain leaf, placing it on the wound, and covering it with a band-aid or strip of cloth to hold it in place. A plantain poultice can also be used for drawing out splinters or thorns.
According to “The Little Herb Encyclopedia,” by Jack Ritchason, “It is used to treat hemorrhoids, snakebites and coughs. Plantain is an excellent remedy in kidney and bladder problems and an effective remedy for poisonous bites and stings. The poison of fresh stings is extracted rapidly (often within an hour’s time) by the use of a Plantain poultice (179).”
Furthermore, Ritchason wrote of the particular elements of the plantain plant and their effects on specific organs: “The actions of the main glycoside of Plantain, aucubin, help heal bladder infections and stomach ulcers. An important constituent of the leaves in the Plantago genus is tannin and is an astringent which tightens tissues (179).”
Plantain oil is easy to make and is an essential, natural replacement for commercial antibiotic creams.
Recipe for Plantain Oil:
Harvest the green plantain leaves, clean them in cool water and dry off all moisture. Tightly pack the leaves into a clean, dry jar. Completely cover the leaves with olive oil. Place the jar out of direct sunlight and keep at room temperature for six weeks. Every day for the first week, top off the oil so that it completely covers the leaves. After six weeks, strain out the plant material and the plantain oil is now ready for use. Transfer the oil to brown bottles, preferably, or a glass jar away from direct sunlight.
Note: You should always consult with your health practitioner before undertaking any new herbal or alternative course of treatment.