Plantain (Plantago major) ~ First Aid Remedies
by Ellen Evert Hopman
The Plantains, called Plantago major, and Plantago lanceolata in the Latin, are plants that simply love people. I have never yet seen a yard or a lawn that didn't have some, somewhere
The Plantains, called Plantago major, and Plantago lanceolata in the Latin, are plants that simply love people. I have never yet seen a yard or a lawn that didn't have some, somewhere. Plantain is perennial and can be found in grassy areas all over the United States and Europe. It has large broad or thin, grooved leaves, depending upon the variety, and produces 6- to 18-inch-tall flower stalks that resemble tiny cattails, and which are tipped by small white flowers from April to October and are later covered with brownish seeds.
Everyone needs to know this plant because it is one of mother nature’s finest first aid remedies. If you happen to get a cut or an insect bite or sting while hiking or camping, simply chew the leaves of the fresh plantain and apply the chewed herb as a poultice to help with inflammation and pain. If you have a dirty wound which involves small, hard to discover slivers of glass or embedded dirt, add a little cayenne pepper to the Plantain as a drawing agent. Adding Cayenne will also help to stop the bleeding.
Plantain poultices can also be applied to poison ivy. To make the poultice, place the fresh leaves in a blender with just enough water to chop them. Add the powdered bark of the Slippery Elm tree, easily available from herbalists, or enough buckwheat flour to make a pie dough consistency. Roll out the poultice on a clean cotton cloth and apply to the affected area.
The fresh juice of plantain is taken in milk or soup to help in the healing of internal injuries and for kidney repair after repeated infections, for bladder conditions, and for gastrointestinal ulcers. Chewing the roots can give temporary relief from toothache.
Plantain leaves are steeped in boiled water for about twenty minutes to make a tea that will benefit diarrhoea, hemorrhoids, colitis, coughs, hoarseness, and any condition involving mucous congestion.
Plantain seeds are high in protein and can be ground and added to muffins and breads. The tea of the seeds can also be given to children with thrush. To make the tea simmer one ounce of the seeds in 1 1/2 pints of water until the liquid decreases to one pint. The dose is a tablespoon, taken several times a day. Plantain seeds can be ground or chewed and swallowed with water as a natural laxative.
Ellen Evert Hopman