Latin Name: Plantago major
Description: Plantain has a unique combination of astringent and demulcent actions. Its effects upon moisture are a bit paradoxical, as we see it has both astringent and demulcent actions at the same time. Astringency is one of our primary herbal actions associated with the drying energetic quality, and the demulcent action is primarily associated with the moistening quality, and we have them both in Plantain. This makes this remedy quite unique in its energetics, as it has the ability to both tonify and astringe tissues while at the same time moistening, softening, soothing and cooling them down. Plantain is used for its cooling properties to counteract hot conditions, such as swelling, inflammation, burns, and hot, itchy rashes.
This plant is a common weed. It thrives in hard packed soils with lots of foot traffic and is commonly known as white man’s footstep. It grows close to the ground and blends in with surrounding grass.
Parts Used: Young leaves, roots, seeds
Plant Properties: demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, slightly astringent, vulnerary, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, nutritive
Uses: Plantain is a good first aid treatment for insect and spider bites, wounds, and treatment for drawing out splinters. It is also used for urinary infections, dry coughs, ulcers and GI inflammations.
Spit poultice: This is the most common way that plantain is used as a first aid treatment, because of its availability outdoors. Chew up a fresh leaf or two until the plant is broken down into a gooey, green leaf mess. Place this on the affected area, cover with a bandaid, gauze or a clean rag. It will immediately soothe the pain, swelling, or itching.
Plantain infused oil: Fill a glass jar with freshly chopped plantain leaves, add olive oil until all the leaves are in the oil. Label and cover the jar, place the jar on a plate, and leave in a warm place for six weeks. Decant and use the oil.
To make a salve, warm the infused oil and add a large spoonful of beeswax to the warm oil and stir until it melts. Then pour your liquid ointment into covered containers. The more beeswax you use the harder the salve will be. Use the salve on bug bites/stings, rashes & other skin conditions, wounds & sores, sunburns & burns, moisturizing cream, night/wrinkle cream & as a chest rub.
Plantain tea: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil & add 2 Tbsp. of cut-up fresh plantain leaves, cover and steep for 5 minutes. You can sweeten with raw honey, if desired. Drink through the day, by sipping.
Uses for the tea:
- Coughs & colds, flu, allergies, congestion, bronchitis & asthma
- As a stronger infusion, this tea is used for inflammatory digestive problems including leaky gut, ulcers, inflammatory bowel diseases, and acid reflux. Plantain soothes and heals inflamed tissues and prevents bacterial overgrowth.
Plantain Tincture: Fill a jar with cut up fresh plantain leaves, leaving about 1 inch at the top. Completely fill the jar with brandy or 100 proof vodka. Put the lid on & shake. Label, date & put in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks shaking every few days. This is a medicine with the power of plantain, & it can last for 2 to 3 years. Safe for internal & external use. Internally, it is used to draw out toxins, infections, phlegm & mucus from mouth, sinuses & body.
Directions for use:
- 10 drops added under your tongue & held there 20 to 45 seconds, then swish in mouth & swallow, or
- Add 10 drops to a glass of pure water & sip making sure to swish around in mouth before swallowing.
Plantain infused vinegar: Use any size glass jar with a non-metal sealing lid, Fill the jar 1/2 full with your cut plantain leaves, then fill the rest of the jar with apple cider vinegar. Screw the lid on & shake the jar, sit in a room temp cupboard or by a window, shake the jar every day or 2, for about 2-3 weeks. When it is ready strain out the leaves & label your vinegar. The vinegar should last a long time.
Uses for the vinegar:
- Mix 50/50 in warm water as a conditioner for your hair.
- Add to misting spray bottle & use to spray bites, stings, cuts, burns & sunburns.
- Use as a spray underarm deodorant.
- Use as a face wash, face spray, astringent etc in your DIY beauty routine.
- Spray on skin conditions
- Add to your bath water & soak for sunburns, bites & stings.
- Make into a poultice with baking soda
- Add to warm water for a foot soak to relive blisters & athletes foot.
- Can also be used as a surface cleaner