Scientific Name:Plantago major
About this Herb:This common weed is a herbaceous perennial plant with oval leaves with 5 to 9 conspicuous veins. Tiny greenish brown flowers with even tinier purple stamens are produced on a 5 to 15 cm long stem. It grows best in compact soils and can be found along road sides, paths and your own back yard. The leaves are edible and have medicinal uses. Similar to spinach, Plantain can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a bitter taste that lingers on the tongue. Young leaves are more tender and better suited for eating and drying to make a tea with.
Common Names:Broadleaf Plantain, Broad-leaved Plantain, Cart Track Plant, Common Plantain, Dooryard Plantain, Greater Plantago, Healing Blade, Hen Plant, Lambs Foot, Roadweed, Roundleaf Plantain, Snakeroot, Soldiers Herb, Waybread, Wayside Plantain, White Man's Foot Prints.
Uses:Plantain has been used to prevent uterine bleeding after childbirth (made into a tea and inserted via a douche). A potent coagulant, Plantain was used on battlefields to dress wounds. A leaf tea is an alternative medicine for asthma, emphysema, bladder problems, bronchitis, fever, hypertension, rheumatism and blood sugar control. Plantain also causes a natural aversion to tobacco and is currently being used in stop smoking preparations. Plantain leaf ointment is great to use topically for insect stings, to stop itching, to heal wounds, and relieve pain. If you get stung by an insect or bitten by a snake, chew the leaves of Plantain and put it on the site. Chewed leaves are an excellent poultice to heal wounds. Plantain in the southern states of America, Plantago psyllium, seeds can be cooked in cereals, muffins, and breads to ease constipation, reduce blood levels of cholesterol, and possibly lower the risk of some cancers.
Applications:Poultice: Spit poultice: Pluck a fresh plantain leaf and chew it well; then spit it on the wound.
Pounded poultice: Pound a large fresh plantain leaf between two stones; apply to wound.
Tea: Place dried or fresh cut leaves in boiling water and allow to steep, drink 1 cup a day. You may want to add honey and or lemon.
Ointment: Fill any dry glass jar, large or small, with chopped fresh plantain leaves. Then fill jar to the very top with olive oil. Cover well. Label. Place in a bowl or on a plate. After six weeks, decant and use. Warm infused oil. Add a large spoonful of beeswax to the warm (not hot) oil and stir with your finger until it melts. Then pour your liquid ointment into small jars. The more beeswax you use the harder the ointment will be.