There is evidence that the Plantain has been used for millennia throughout the world, and here in England, the plantain was held in high esteem by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors who listed it as one of the 9 sacred herbs in their herbal Lacnunga (meaning remedies) compiled around the late 10th century. Its praises are sung by Nicholas Culpeper in Culpeper’s Herbal printed in 1652 and even King Henry VIII used it as a herb. Currently, it is used medicinally in Burma, China and Hawaii where they have done much Scientific research into the efficacy of this herb.
But sadly here in the UK, it’s immense medicinal value was lost to common knowledge and it is now considered a weed to be eradicated from every garden and allotment or crack in the pavement it grows from. And yet it was once described as a panacea herb.
Some facts about this wonderful wild herb:
- Plantain is loaded with vitamins and minerals including A, B1, C, K, Calcium, Iron and a considerable amount of potassium.
- Relative of the psyllium plant and the seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. Harvest seed heads, dry them and strip the seeds off.
- Seeds can be groun and mixed with flour to make bread.
- Plantain juice is very soothing for skin inflammation.
- Juice in the eyes cools irritated, tired eyes. Blend leaves with a little warm water to extract the juice. Strain well.
- Plantain is a natural antihistamine. For Hayfever tea– pick the leaves and steep them in boiling water for 10 mins. To enhance the flavour you can add basil, chamomile, or parsley which are all natural antihistamines too.
- As a Salve, it draws dirt and puss infection out of wounds and soothes cuts, grazes, rashes and eczema. Also used in cases of blood poisoning. To make a salve, shred the leaves and infuse for 2 to 4 hours on a gentle heat in coconut oil. The oil should not be warmer than body temperature at any time. Using coconut oil gives it a firm texture but beware – it is liquid in warm temperatures. If you want the texture of a salve, you can grate in some bees wax. I like to use a ratio of 1:4. Adding beeswax also gives it a little more shelf life stability.
- Plantain is not only fantastic for people problems, but is also a valuable Animal Remedy. Use infused oil or salve on cuts, wounds, rashes, stings and other skin conditions. The Plantain will draw out any contaminants before effectively healing the damaged tissue. Try blending the Plantain with a few drops of Tea Tree Oil for added antifungal properties; this mix is excellent for treating the many fungal complaints suffered by horses.
- Coughs and colds – in the form of a plantain succus. Blend the leaves with a little warm water to extract the juice. Mix equal quantities of juice with raw organic honey and keep in the fridge. Perfect for dry coughs and hayfever.
- Stomach ulcers, IBS and digestive tract infections. 1 tsp 3xpd
- Succus – apply topically for cuts or ulcers