Plantains have been used for their medicinal properties for thousands of years. The Native Americans took advantage of the fruit to heal wounds, cure fever, and draw out toxins from stings and bites, including the bite of rattlesnakes.
A weed that grows out of cracks and invades your garden might seem like the last thing you would use for medicinal use, but it’s probably more nutritious than most of the leafy greens popular in today’s cuisines. The young leaves can be eaten raw in salads and sandwiches, while the older variety, which tends to become stringy and tough, is best cooked. With a taste that resembles that of Swiss chard, you may find more of a palate for it than you anticipated. Plantain seeds can also be dried, ground into a meal, and used for flour.
Rich in magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, the herb can fuel your body with quality nutrients.
Plantains have wide-ranging medicinal properties. It can not only soothe insect bites and superficial wounds but also prevent infections.
Another substance called allantoin in the herb is used for its healing, soothing, and anti-irritating properties. Allantoin extracts can be found in anti-acne products, sun care products, and clarifying lotions because of its ability to help heal minor wounds.
Plantains even have an astringent property that provides a cleansing effect on the body by drying up excess secretions in the respiratory tract as well as the digestive system.
Identifying And Collecting The Plantain Herb
While the herb provides amazing medicinal and nutritional values, it is still a weed, and very invasive. This is why it’s better to pick where it’s already been planted, as opposed to introduce it into your land.
Because they are used mainly for herbal needs, it’s best to only pick the leaves rather than digging up the entire plant. Simply pinch off unblemished leaves, picking the slightly mature ones first, as they offer a higher concentration of potent phytochemicals. Opt for the young leaves for salads and other raw foods.
Using Plantains For Healing: Getting Started
- For burns – Immediately apply a bandage with leaves.
- For cuts and open sores – To stop the bleeding from fresh cuts, apply crushed plantain leaves. You can wash with plantain tea or diluted tincture (1 tbsp to a glass of water) to prevent infections and accelerate healing.
- For boils and acne – Apply a drop of tincture or salve.
- For mouth ulcers – Swish 2-3 tbsp of plantain tea in your mouth 3-4 times a day, or you can use 1 tbsp of tincture diluted with a cup of water as well.
- For throat pain/infection – Gargle with plantain tea or diluted tincture of 5-10 drops under the tongue and ingest it slowly.
- For dandruff and various scalp problems – Apply plantain tea or oil infusion to the scalp, washing out after an hour has passed.
- For poison ivy/sumac/oak – Immediately apply a poultice, then wash the area with plantain tea.
- For sunburn – Apply a fresh poultice liberally, wash the area with the tea, and finish by applying the salve.
- To improve liver and kidney function – Consume 1-2 glasses of plantain tea daily.
- For relief from gastrointestinal inflammation – Use the tincture under the tongue, or drink plantain tea.
- For cold, flu, and respiratory infections – Use the tincture under the tongue or drink freshly brewed warm tea with honey.