Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17, 2014 - Plantain

Weed?  No, I don't think so.  This is plantain (Plantago majus) and it grows just about everywhere.  People try to kill it, put down herbicides to curb its growth.  They pull it out of the soil roots and all and throw it out.  Oh, what a tragedy!  I love when this herb appears beneath my feet everywhere I go because I know that a veritable medicine chest is right within reach.  If you have never used plantain before, here are a few things it can do.  For bee or wasp stings, pull up a leaf or two and quickly chew it to a lumpy paste.  Put the paste on the sting and watch the redness and the swelling disappear.  If you have an eczema rash, use plantain oil (the leaves soaked for six weeks in olive oil and then strained).  It will bring prompt relief to itchiness.  The oil is great for diaper rash too, and you can use it on "hot spots" on your animals as well.  It's great for scratches and bruises, and some people say it even helps with the pain of sprains.  In fact, anytime you have any skin problem whatsoever--from a mosquito bite to a small wound--look down at your feet and you'll almost certainly find the medicine you need!  I prefer the fresh leaf, but do be sure to make some oil every year so you have it in the winter as well.

A variety of plantain seeds known as Plantago psyllium is used as a fiber supplement and laxative, only you probably know it as Metamucil.  That's right.  Expensive psyllium seed husks you see in the stores are none other than plain old plantain seeds.  This particular variety grows in South America, but I know many people who use the seeds of the plain old "weed" variety plantain that we have around here in the same way.  So the next time you decide to get rid of that weed, think twice!  You might be throwing out something you need!

Plantain, the "weed" (Plantago majus).

(Yes, I have to put a disclaimer in.  This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailment.  If you need medical advice, seek a physician.)

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