Today I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite herbs: Plantain.
While the word, plantain, may bring to mind a banana-like fruit, this plantain is actually a plant, often thought of as a weed. It is found all over the United States, and may even be in your own backyard.
Plantain is also known as: ripple grass, white man’s foot, and ribwort.
Plantain is useful for treating:
- bee stings
- snake bites
- cuts and scrapes
- poison oak & ivy
Plantain can be consumed as a tea, cooked as greens, or sprinkled in a salad.
Plantain really shines as a healing agent for inflamed or wounded skin. It can be used internally as well as externally, but I find myself using in externally most often. Along with calendula, it is my go-to herb for most skin ailments.
A few ways to use plantain:
Make Plantain Salve
Plantain salve is very simple to prepare and can be used to treat scrapes, cuts, and other external wounds.
Step-by-step instructions for making plantain salve can be found here.
Plantain Vinegar Tincture for Acne
Creating a simple treatment for acne and other skin conditions is very easy. All you need to do is steep plantain in apple cider vinegar for a few weeks. To see more details and further instructions, visit Jill’s Home Remedies’ post: Natural Remedy for Acne.
Mix plantain powder with a little water or steam dried leaves for a few minutes and apply to skin. Cover with a cloth or a bandage and let sit for on the skin for a few hours. Can be re-applied as needed.
Use a Plantain Leaf as a Bandage
Image by: Yastremska/Bigstock.com
Plantain leaves will actually stick to the skin. They provide protection against dirt and germs, while soothing the skin. A poultice is usually the best method for administering plantain, but a beating a fresh leaf a few times (to release the juices) will help in soothing irritated skin. Plus, it’s kind of fun.
Treat Poison Oak and Poison Ivy
Plantain can be an effective method in treating poison oak and poison ivy. Drink plantain tea a few times a day and also wash the affected areas with plantain. To wash with plantain, make an herbal infusion or strong tea by steeping plantain leaves in hot water. Strain out the herbs and dip a washcloth in the infused water, using this cloth to wash the affected areas.
Don’t wash the tea/infusion off, but let it air dry. Repeat multiple times a day (5 or 6), for a few days.
A plantain poultice could also be used over the area and changed a few times a day.
Treat Bee Stings
Plantain can stop the pain that accompanies a bee sting. The best method is to apply a plantain poultice to the sting. A poultice can be prepared using fresh or dry leaves. A cotton ball steeped in plantain tea and taped over the area, can also do the trick. (I learned this method in A Kid’s Herb Book.)
Where to find Plantain
Plantain can be found in many backyards, vacant lots, and parks. I don’t recommend gathering wild plantain unless you are absolutely certain that you are picking the correct plant (of course, there may also be laws against it, depending on where you live).
I generally purchase dried plantain from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Have you used plantain to treat any type of skin ailment? I’d love to hear about it.
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I am not a doctor or certified herbalist. This post is intended for informational purposes only. Information has not been approved by the FDA. Use caution when treating with herbs.
Top image by: Kletr/Bigstock.com