Written by Deborah on January 4, 2013 – -
by Heather Gardner Regarded as a weed by most and generally trampled underfoot without any thought, plantain is a wonder herb and far from being a pesky weed. It is an unassuming little plant that easy blends into the greenery until you know what it looks like and then you will start to see it everywhere. The leaves are bitter but make an excellent salad ingredient, infusion, or in green smoothies or juices and are best eaten young, as they grow more bitter with age. To use it as a first aid remedy in the field, just chew up the leaves to soften them and extract the properties and apply to the affected area. Perfect for scratches scrapes and cuts. There are 2 types of plantain, greater plantain with a larger broad leaf and ribwort with a long narrow leaf; both have very similar healing properties. You can identify it by the strings running through each leaf. Plantain has a tall seed pod, with up to 15,000 seeds and is coated with tiny husks. These husks are collected and ground up into the psyllium husk that you see in the health store. Plantain can be found all year round, though for making herbal salves and preserving, its best to collect during the summer. Ribwort plantain is also good for coughs, bronchitis, irritable (not dry) coughs and as an expectorant. Something I know very well, as a teen I was researching solutions to my asthma and creating herbal potions for relief. The ribwort plantain growing outside the door was very much on the menu for me! Native American Indians used the larger great plantain leaves to soothe weary feet and would keep a leaf in their show until it dried out and they would replace it with another one.
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