Summer Weed Walk
Plantain, Yarrow, comfrey ...
What a Great Remedy!
Plantain is my go-to herb for any injury, bug bite, scratch, wound, bruise, scrape, tear, sprain, cut, or abrasion. It is positively amazing in its ability to stop itching, whether from a mosquito or flea bite, poison ivy, or any other irritant. Plantain works fast to counter reactions to bee and wasp stings. Some allergic friends say they keep dried plantain leaf on hand to try first, before resorting to their epi-pen, if stung. While plantain salve, ointment, and oil work well to counter rashes and skin irritations of all sorts, to counter allergic reactions to stings, the leaf must be chewed and applied directly to the wound. Directions for making a Fresh Herb Spit Poultice follow.
There are two different species of plantain where I live: the broad leaf (P. majus) and the narrow leaf (P. lanceolata). Both can be used for food and medicine. Some people believe the narrow leaf is a more potent medicine. I prefer the broad leaf, tender new leaves chopped fine, in my salads. The mentored students and I have been exploring plantain cuisine this month and we have found some tasty recipes indeed. Dear plantain, the peaceful Quaker lady who wants to help.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Madame Yarrow runs a school of self-defense. She may small, but she packs a punch. There are few bacteria – gram-positive, gram-negative, or antibiotic-resistant – that can resist her. I use yarrow tincture as an insect repellent as well as a wound treatment. A spritz or two on exposed skin keeps mosquitoes, black flies, and even the ticks at bay. Horses are so appreciative of a spray or two to discourage flies. Of course I use the fresh leaves as a spit poultice, but I prefer the flowering tops for tincture. Oh, and by the way, be sure to use the wild white yarrow, not yellow or red cultivars, which have poisonous amounts of volatile oils. The more you use yarrow, the more ways you will find to use her. She is truly one of the Great Remedies.
Comfrey (Symphytum uplandica x)
Comfrey the comforting is one of my favorite herbs for tending to all injuries, whether external or internal. After surgery, after an accident, after bone has broken, comfrey is there to comfort and restore intregrity. (One of her old names is “knit-bone.”) She strengths, knits, mends, and heals the skin, muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. She soothes, repairs, and nourishes the mucus surfaces of the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. Oh, and, don’t forget, comfrey contains a unique amino acid that is needed in the formation of short term memory. Comfrey makes everything in my body stronger, more flexible, and more cooperative. Is it any wonder I drink at least a quart a week of comfrey leaf infusion?