Friday, November 9, 2012
Plantain - Super healing plant
Plantain is a plant that grows everywhere in Wisconsin. You can find it in driveways, alongside railroad tracks and bike trails....pretty much anywhere in a sandy soil or areas that are frequently mowed. My hunt for healing plants kept leading me back to this plant that I have been familiar with my whole life yet never appreciated what it can do. Knowing now the healing powers this plant posesses, I can't stop looking for it or collecting it wherever I find it in clean, chemical free environments.
The young leaves are edible and can be added raw to a salad. To be honest, you'll know when you hit a plantain leaf but the taste isn't all that bad. The seeds, leaves and root can all be dried and taken as a tea. Now let's get the the healing properties....
Recently a friend of mine had a piece of something imbedded in her thumb. The area become swollen and red as well as quite painful. We mashed up the plantain and added water to create a poultice and put it on the area. Within 24 hours, whatever had been lodged in the thumb was pulled out and the sore had started to dry up and heal over. Nothing sort of miraculous!
The history of this plant's medicinal properties go as far back as the 1500's when it was considered a cure for a huge variety of maladies. It was used as a treatment for dog bits, ulcers, ringworm, jaundice, epilepy, liver obstruction and hemorrhoids! Oh, yes, and it possesses allanton, a proven wound healing chemical that speeds up cell regeneration and has skin softening effects. This quality is what prompted me to add it to the list of must haves in my medical kit. The plantain can be added to a simple salve to maintain its healing qualities for a longer period of time.
To make a plantain salve, simply harvest the leaves, let dry and add them to a jar and fill the jar with olive oil. Leave it in the sun for a couple of weeks. The oil will turn a deep green as it draws out the healing oils of the plant. Strain out the leaves until just the olive oil remains. Simply add melted beeswax to the warmed infused oil over low heat until they are uniformly combined and pour into your salve container. Everyone should keep one with their first aid kit!