When I say plantain you undoubtedly think of the large green banana-like fruit that appears so frequently in Cuban food. While we do love those plantains (especially deep-fried into crispy chips) they are not the subject of this post. Today we are introducing you to the herb formally known as Plantago Major but herbalist know it better by its common name, Plantain. Native to Europe and Asia, Plantain made its way to North America along with the first European explorers. Since then it has set up residence all over the United States and can often be found in backyards across the nation where weary homeowners treat it as a weed, never realizing the medicinal wonder that they are overlooking.
Plantain has been used around the world for centuries to treat a myriad of conditions both internally and externally. With antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and expectorant qualities, plantain is a must have for herbalists and homeopaths. It has been safely used internally (either as a tea or simply eating the leaves) to treat everything from indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea and dysentery to lung congestion and persistent cough. There have even been unsubstantiated reports of its successful use as a uterine toner, tumor growth inhibitor, sugar modulator and cholesterol and weight reducer.
Externally plantain is just as impressive. Plantain’s healing properties make it the perfect choice for the treatment of bug and snake bites, rashes, cuts, inflammation and even ear infections (as long as the ear drum has not burst). Applying plantain to any of these conditions speeds up healing, provides relief from pain and itching and even reduces bleeding. As if all of that was not enough, plantain is also high in the well-known cosmetic ingredient, Allantoin. Allantoin stimulates new cell growth and renewal making plantain an excellent treatment for conditions such as eczema, dandruff, sunburn, diaper rash, and even signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots. Whether you apply plantain as a poultice, salve or tea, its medicinal properties are significant. Who knew that weed in your backyard had such amazing healing abilities?
One word of warning, while plantain is one of the safest herbs you can use, you do need to be careful. Before you go out and dig up the first plantain you find make sure that it is completely free of bug and weed pesticides. If you are prone to blood clots do not use plantain internally as its coagulating properties may cause you problems. Lastly, always be sure that you correctly identify all of the herbs you use. The internet and your local library are great resources for real life pictures of common herbs. If in doubt, do not use the herb.
Not the do it yourself type? Have no fear. At Homespun Apothecary™ we are true believers in the power of plantain. That’s why it is one of the main ingredients in both That Healing Feeling Balm™ and our Black Drawing Salve™. Not to toot our own horn BUT…For the healing of everything from scratches, cuts and burns to bug bites, stings, rashes and more, That Healing Feeling Balm™ truly is the best solution we have ever used. It seems like our customers and our family find a new use for this product every single day and it never disappoints. New to Homespun Apothecary? Give it a try today and receive 10% OFF with coupon code: NEWBIE.