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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Herbal Medicine Chest ~ Wildcrafting Wednesday ~ Plantain

Plantain ~ Plantago spp.

One of the most well known lawn weeds is also a very medicinal herb.  Are you familiar with plantain?  The Anglo-Saxons called the broad leaved variety, P. major, waybread.  It was considered to be an important healing herb even in Pliny's day when he claimed that it could aide in rejoining flesh.  The narrow leaved type, P. lanceolata, is the one most often used as an herbal medicine.  Both kinds grow in lawns and fields with abandon.

Today I'm teaming up with Kathy @ Mind, Body and Soul and Laurie @ Common Sense Homesteading to host Wildcrafting Wednesday.

A Blog Hop for old time, traditional and new fangled ways to use plants harvested in the wild...or even in your own back yard!
For how-to instructions, run your mouse over the article to find links about various topics discussed here. 
What is wildcrafting? It's gathering plants from their natural habitat for food and medicinal use.
When wildrafting, there are some important things to remember, like proper identification and if the area you're gathering from has been exposed to pesticides or herbicides.  You can read my guidelines here.

The leaves of Plantain contain mucilage, glycosides, tannins, and starch.  They are expectorant (good for coughs and congestion), astringent (for bleeding and inflammation), anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and anti-microbial.  Plantain is an easily accessible home remedy we should know how to recognise and use.  It's on my list of "trail herbs" that can be used on the spot with little preparation to treat injuries while in the yard or in the wild.
The leaves can be harvested year round and used in the following ways.

Poultice - My favorite use for plantain's soothing and healing properties is one that can be used on the spot.  Simply pick a leaf, chew it slightly and apply to insect, spider and snake bites or inflamed rashes for immediate relief.

Tincture - (P. lanceolata) is slightly astringent making it useful for heavy mucous conditions.  Make from fresh leaves if possible.

Salve and Ointment - Very healing for skin injuries including burns.  The tannins are also soothing when applied to hemorrhoids causing them to shrink.

Infusion - The tannins are helpful in cleansing sores and inflamed skin.  Make an infusion or dilute juice to soothe sore throats and ease coughing.  An infusion made from the Ribwort (P. lanceolata) may soothe urinary tract infections and inflammation while the leaves from the easily recognizable common broad leaved variety seem to work better with gastric issues, like irritable bowel.

Ever wonder where psyllium seeds come from?  They are the mucilaginous seeds of the common yard weeds P.psyllium and P. ovata.  This well known over the counter laxative coats and heals the lining of the intestines with a protective mucilage while the seeds create bulk making them very beneficial for constipation and irritated bowels.  The mucilage is also very healing for wounds and skin infections.

Syrups - made from the juice are great for soothing coughs, especially when accompanied by a sore throat.

As you can see, Plantain is one of those wild, weedy plants most folks already recognise as a common weed.  Little do they know it is a must have in your Herbal Medicine Chest.

Wildcrafting Wednesday is an opportunity to gather and share information about traditional uses for wild plants and how folks harvest, prepare and use plants found in their natural habitat for food, home remedies, and cleaning.  You may be surprised to find some craft ideas or traditional skills and old time wisdom that's been passed down from days of old.

We'd love to have you join Wildcrafting Wednesday share a favorite of your own. 
Guidelines for Participation:

1. Please link up your blog post using the Linky widget below. If you are posting a recipe, only real food recipes are permitted please. This means no processed food ingredients!

2. Please link the URL of your actual blog post and not your blogs home page. That allows future readers who find this post and go to your link to be able to find what they’re looking for.

3. Please place a link back to this post. That way your readers can benefit from all the ideas too. This also helps out the other participants who are hoping to get more traffic to their blogs. If you’re new to blogging here’s what you do: Copy the URL of Wildcrafting Wednesday from your browser address bar. Then edit your post by adding something like, “This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole” at the end of your post. Then highlight “Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole”, click the “link” button on your blogging tool bar, and paste the URL into that line. That’s it!

4. Please only link posts that fit the carnival description. Old and archived posts are welcome as long as you post a link back as described above. Please don’t link to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. That keeps our links valuable in the future since a link to a giveaway three months old isn’t going to be worth browsing in three months time, but a link to an herbal tip will be.

5. Please leave a comment.

6. Don’t have a blog? We still want to hear from you! Please leave your herbal tip, recipe, or home remedy in the comments.

7. And bloggers, please check out the other posts and leave a comment for them too. I know that we would all love to hear from each other.

Much herbal love,


1 comment:

  1. Great post. I just located your blog and wished to let you know that I have certainly loved reading your blogs. At any rate I’m going to be subscribing to your feed and I really hope you are writing again soon.


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