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.
Plantain 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.
- The Essential Herbal for Natural Health – Plantain is included in remedies for cradle cap, made into suppositories, included in cyst dissolving oil, and much more.
- Don't have access to plantain? You can buy dried plantain from Starwest Botanicals
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.