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Useful Weed: Plantain

It’s still very early in the gardening season here in northwest Montana.  Things are growing but we’re not harvesting much beyond herbs and greens at this point.  We’re also harvesting weeds.  We make use of dandelion, but there’s also lots of others coming up.  All those weeds that tend to annoy those folks looking for a perfect lawn are some of my favorite companions, the useful weed: Plantain among them. 

Useful Weed: Plantain - Homespun Seasonal LivingPlantain grows most everywhere and once you learn to identify it, no doubt you’ll be seeing it beneath your feet all the time.  It’s full of nutrition and completely edible.  The young leaves are the best for eating as the bigger leaves tend to be bitter and a little tough.  Beyond the young leaves being a great addition to salad, the plant has numerous medicinal benefits:

  • Fresh plantain works immediately on bee stings.  Just chew on the leaf a bit and place it right on the sting to help draw out the stinger and venom.
  • Rosemary Gladstar suggests using the seeds as a laxative.
  • Last summer, I had the privilege of attending an herbal seminar lead by Paul Bergner in which he mentioned treating leaky gut with Plantain and Calendula tea.  I’ve been drinking some several times a week to help with my Rheumatoid Arthritis, which some folks believe is caused by leaky gut.  I can’t say definitively that it’s helped but I know for sure my issues haven’t gotten worse.
  • Plantain is always one of the core herbs in my homemade healing salve.  My own personal healing salve is a mixture of infused oils (usually plantain, lavender, dandelion, comfrey, & calendula) from foraged herbs and tends to vary each and every year a little bit. 
  • In Backyard Medicine, plantain tincture is recommended for coughs, irritable bowel, hemorrhoids, and hay fever.

Additional Resources:

Do you make use of plantain?  If so, what’s your favorite way? If not, are you inspired too after reading all of its many uses.

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Thursday 6th of December 2018

I'm English and use plantain for insect bites and have picked up some more uses. Thanks.

J. Hyslip

Friday 19th of May 2017

It's one of the weeds we pick & feed our rabbits. They love it.


Thursday 2nd of February 2017

How do you make tea out of plantain?

Homespun Seasonal Living

Saturday 4th of February 2017

1 Tablespoon of dried leaves to 8 ounces of boiling water.

Dog Diva

Saturday 30th of April 2016

Plantain was first suggested to me by Grandfather Maple, an Abenaki elder, at a powwow in Newburyport, Massachusetts. While dancing in the circle, he had noticed that there were patches of it right beneath our feet and took the time to explain what a valuable plant it was.


Thursday 18th of February 2016

I made a tincture of the plantain with comfrey, clove oil and lavender oil and it has been quite amazing with the bug bites that normally flare up to quite an extent. Not easy when we now live in a biodiverse country such as Latvia, which does unfortunately have a diversity of biting things, along with its beautiful meadowlands.

Homespun Seasonal Living

Friday 19th of February 2016

What a wonderful sounding remedy! I'm going to remember to give that a try, thanks for sharing that.