Plantain, wonder herb
This is plantain. You probably have it growing in your garden. It’s a very common weed, even growing between concrete in the city. It is also a safe and useful herb, as long as you don’t pick it from the side of the road. Plants growing near heavy traffic may be contaminated, or it may have been sprayed.
When you’ve found some clean plantain, you can use it to heal cuts and scrapes or heal a cough. The easiest way to use it is pick a leaf and scrunch it in your hand until it becomes juicy. Then dab that juice onto insect bites, cuts or scratches. You can also eat about one leaf a day to help soothe and relieve a cough, but it doesn’t taste very nice. A tea sweetened with licorice or honey is more palatable. Pills are easier to swallow also.
Next week I’ll show you how to make a healing balm and herbal pills from plantain. Stay tuned.
[…] Plantain. This common urban weed is welcome in my garden for two main reasons: it’s the best herbal remedy for coughs and can be made into cough pills; and it’s also an effective remedy for bites and stings. It works best when it’s fresh, rather than stale dried leaf, but this is easy to do as it grows most of the year round. This is a handful of seed that I collected from a walking trail nearby, and I spread it over the vegetable garden today. I’ll pull out the seedlings that are too thick or in the way, and let it seed itself around the garden. You can eat the leaves (they don’t taste that nice), make a tea (add honey or mint to make it palatable), or dry and crumble the leaves to make pills. To treat bites and stings, crush a leaf and roll it in your hand until the green juice is pressed out, then dab this onto the area. If you know it hasn’t been sprayed, you can also chew a leaf or two and spit them onto the bite. I’ve used this for bull-ant bites for my son and it works beautifully. Incidentally, psyllium is the seed husk of a related plant. […]