Medicine Underneath Your Feet
This post is part of the Natural Living Series. Guest Angie is educating us on the herb, plantain. For more information about Angie, be sure to check out the bottom of this post and for more posts on Natural Wellness, check out our week of Natural Wellness posts.
Weeds. The majority of people in the world consider those wild plants pesky invaders. Not me. I love weeds. Dandelion, chickweed, plantain (not the banana like fruit!), yarrow, and yellow dock grow abundant in my yard. And I LOVE it. I can treat a variety of maladies with these fabulous allies.
By far my favorite go to weed is plantain. Easily recognized by its leaves, plantain is the most common local plant around. You usually don’t have to look for more than 30 seconds to find it.
Plantain is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and astringent. You can drink it as a tea to reduce fever. You can apply it topically for most any skin ailments. One day I was standing in my backyard with a friend. I realized too late I was standing in an ant hill. I shocked my friend by picking a few leaves of plantain, chewing them up, and then spitting them out and coating my bites with the chewed up leaves-thus creating a spit poultice. My bites never swelled or itched.
One thing I like to do is make a salve out of plantain. Simply put the leaves in a clean dry jar and cover them with oil (olive, almond, grapeseed). Let it sit in a dark place for two weeks. Strain. For each cup of oil, melt in a few tablespoons of beeswax. Add more wax to harden it or more oil if it’s too hard. Put it in a small container and take it with you everywhere! It is great for cuts, scrapes, burns, rashes, bites, or any other skin irritation you can think of! Seriously, I have had people tell me it clears up eczema!
Something I recommend, if you have kids, is to help them identify plantain in your yard. Because it is abundant and easily recognized, it is a great way to introduce herbal health to your children. There is nothing more fabulous than to see your kids take their wellness into their own hands! My daughters know that if they get bit or stung while playing outside, the first thing they need to do is look for plantain-or “the bug plant” as my 10 year old calls it.
Not only does plantain have fabulous healing properties, it is highly nutritious. Full of iron, calcium, vitamin A, and other minerals, a salad or sauté of the leaves is very nourishing. As with most greens, young leaves are the tastiest-they get more bitter as they grow. Including plantain in your diet, whether an edible or tea, will tone your organs, purify your blood, and cleanse your bladder and kidneys. It really can’t be beat! Consider plantain to be your green ally, you can’t go wrong. Just be sure that you always harvest from an area that you know hasn’t been treated.
These statements have not been verified by the FDA. I do not intend to cure or treat any illnesses. Please consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.
Angie Shuman first became interested in alternative healing in 1998 when she became a parent. Wanting to find more natural holistic ways to raise her daughter, she was drawn to homegrown remedies. Six years ago, she started working with the birth community as a doula. While working with pregnant mothers, she began researching herbalism as a complementary practice as many doula clients were interested in herbal teas and natural induction methods. After 4 years of independent studying and research, she began formal training with Heart of Herbs School of Herbalism and will soon be certified as a Master Herbalist. Her passion for community and wellness has led her to recently open Herb & Renewal, an herb shop that sells bulk herbs, in house made tinctures, salves, and oils, locally crafted gifts and home wares, and more.
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