There is no doubt in my mind, that you have seen plantain growing next to the road. Perhaps you thought, so many weeds, when are they going to mow the lawns and sidewalks in the public spaces? Or you may even have looked upon them and wondered, is there a purpose to this weed? If you are anything like me, you smile and say “hello beautiful… Oh my, your leaves are so healthy”.
Did you know, however, that Plantain has been used medicinally for at least the last 2000 years? It was well known and recommend in ancient Greece and Roman times.
When I decided to create healing balms, my recipe called for Plantain, after learning of their prolific growth in my local park, I decided that it would be so wrong of me to buy the dried herb to make my healing balm and that I should go and harvest them myself.
Like yesterday I remember going into the park one early Saturday morning and sitting amongst clovers, the tall grasses, dandelions and plantains, and opening up my heart to ask them if they wish to come with me to create a healing balm.
Just like that, the field of plantains came alive and one by one, those who wanted to be part of my medicine journey illuminated their leaves as a way of calling me. On that morning I had harvested two huge baskets of fresh plantain leaves. I felt recharged being in their presence and honored that they shared so generously with me. At home, I processed them in my blender and they had the most welcoming smell, as freshly mowed lawns do. It filled my heart and my senses with joy.
On another occasion in another park, I asked them “why do you speak to me?” and they replied, “we speak to you because you can hear us, and we want you to give us a voice”.
More recently, as I was healing from a broken heart, my ally said, “we can help you heal this wound; we do so much more than just heal the external”.
PLANTAGO LANCEOLATA BETTER KNOWN AS PLANTAIN OR RIBWORT
So why do I adore Plantain so?
- Plantain help to restore and heal broken skin and damaged tissues. It is the perfect accompaniment to your herbal apothecary or herbal home healing kit.
- Plantain is super antiseptic it is a powerful ally to reduce pains caused by poison ivy and bee stings. In my own experience, it also dulls the pain on new tattoos and helps them to heal much faster. Chewing up the fresh leaves of plantain into a poultice-like mush and adding this to sting bites will almost immediately reduce the pain, and start healing the skin.
- Plantain leaves can be drunk as a tea to strengthen weak lungs and can be helpful as an expectorant for coughs as well as aiding your recovery from flu.
- Plantain may also reduce the discomforts of hay fever, diarrhea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, bronchitis, sinus, asthma, mouth inflammation, throat infections, and earaches.
- It has even been used to treat psoriasis and first-degree burns, headaches, fevers and even bladder infections.
Plantain seeds can be eaten and swell up when cooked. The seeds contain Vitamin B1. Also interesting to know is that plantain is grown commercially for their medicinal properties, including the seeds and husks, which are sold as psyllium husks (bulk laxative) in health stores to ease constipation.
Plantain grows just about everywhere and once you recognize them, you will never forget them. I have some growing in my own garden; mostly because I brought some home from the park, and I of course are quite happy that they multiply as I use them in the medicines I make. You will find them in parks, next to the road, wastelands, next to waterways, just about everywhere the seeds fall that is where they will grow.
Plantain as food in salads are a wonderful wild addition, best to use young leaves for this purpose. You can also harvest the broadleaf plantain and make healthy chips with them, by slightly tossing with some olive oil and seasoning to your liking. Then bake them in the oven until they are crisp. I have seen plantain being chopped up and added to pizza, I am a huge fan of pizza and love them greener than most, so I will definitely be sure to add some to my next batch. Plantain has a highly nutritional value and contains vitamins A, C and K.
Harvesting Plantain for medicine is easy, as you just need to find that healthy patch of abundant plantain. I use fresh plantain to make a tincture, and I dry my plantain in the dehydrator for later use in salves and healing oils. You can harvest plantain seeds, although I would not do so, I love to sow them back into the earth to ensure more plantain grows again. It also seems like a too big a task as you would need to harvest hundreds of them to get even enough to fill a cup.
Plantain and her magical properties, she resonates with the planet Venus and the element of Earth. She is used in spells relating to strength, healing and protection, as well as a charm against snakebites. You can also use her to enhance the effect of other herbs ad to protect against thieves.
“This is the plant of Helheim, the land of the Dead. Its shamanic uses are many and varied and rather subtle. First, it can create a certain amount of invisibility for a short period of time. Notice how the weedy plantain manages to make itself so inconspicuous? That’s a power that you can harness, especially if you are journeying or pathwalking. Second, it can be used in recels to speak to the ancestors, or to find your way to the Helvegr. Its name “waybread” echoes this usage – waybread will help you find the way.”
“In Magickal lore, it is bound to Mars and Fire. Today, Plantain is brewed as a tea for divination and vivid dreams, and it is considered a protection herb when placed in a charm around the neck of a child. For healing and purification, place fresh or dried Plantain leaves or roots in a mesh bag hung under the faucet for bathwater. Pinches of dried herb can be tossed into a fireplace or over the flame of a candle, or thrown into an easterly wind for healing wishes. Burning Plantain leaves or roots enhances the magickal powers of other herbs.”
Plantain in Park
I found so many interesting recipes for you to try. In these recipes, both narrow leaf and broadleaf Plantains are used.
Roasted Plantain Chips, Created by Wildman Steve Brill.
Unlike the banana-related plantain chips of the supermarket, these wafer-thin chips are made with the leaves of the unrelated common plantain. They are great, and it took Steve only 26 years of downplaying this plants food value to discover how to prepare it properly, using a method his wife uses for kale.
- 2 cups young common plantain leaves, or kale
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, ground
- 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds, ground
- 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- A dash of hot sauce
Stir all the ingredients together. Spread onto 3 cookie sheets covered with non-stick mats (or oiled cookie sheets) and bake about 6 minutes, or until very lightly browned and crisp, in a preheated 425-degree oven. Stir occasionally, being careful not to let the leaves burn
Plantain Soup Recipe 1
Soak 1 cup of yellow or green split peas overnight. Gather a large handful of plantain leaves & chop up finely across the ribs. Stir fry a large onion, 3 garlic cloves and 1 tsp of ginger, 1/4 tsp cumin & 1 tsp turmeric in some nice olive or coconut oil. To this mix add 1 Liter of filtered water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer an hour or until the peas are soft.
Add tamari sauce, a dash of your own mineral-rich vinegar and salt to taste. Garnish with your favorite herb.
Plantain Soup Recipe 2, By Christopher Nverges
- 3 cups of diced plantains
- 4 cups of milk or water (milk from powdered milk works as well)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour, wheat or potato
- 1 turnip
- 1 Jerusalem Artichoke
- Salt and pepper to taste
Dice the plantains, remove any fibers. Simmer the diced plantains in the milk or water. Chop up the turnip and Jerusalem Artichoke and add to the liquid. In a separate cup add water or milk to the flour to get a non-lumpy consistency, then add to the soup. Separate the eggs and whites, beat separately, add separately to the soup, stirring constantly. Salt and pepper to taste.
Plantago Side Dish, By Pascal
Broadleaf Plantain leaves boiled for 4 minutes in salted water then placed in ice water right away. Seasoning: 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy, 1 garlic clove and, in my case because I didn’t have sesame seeds I used roasted white sage seeds. Mix and let rest for 5 minutes. Super yum! The plantain has a bit the texture and transparency of a seaweed.
Always remember when making anything with wildflowers or weeds, they should be free from pesticides!
There are so many reasons why you should make your own healing plantain balm and herbal tincture. Apart from the obvious healing it also grows abundantly just about everywhere and nature is really calling upon you to make use of the beautiful gifts she offers.
Plantain Healing Balm
To create a healing balm, gather fresh healthy leaves and dry them out. I use the dehydrator; you could also use your oven on a very low heat, or even your warming drawer. I like to use my plantain leaves crushed and then to add them to any oil you may have, be it grapeseed, olive, or coconut. I use a slow infusion method where I add my herb and oil into a CONSOL jar and then use the water bath method for 3-4 hours to infuse. After infusing your oils, you can strain the herb and add beeswax if you want to set your balm. Use this balm on pretty much anything and is wonderful for baby bums. It is also excellent for regular use on psoriasis and eczema skins conditions.
To buy this beautiful healing balm –> healing-plantain-balm-50ml/
The sludge obtained from draining the tea can be applied as a cooling and healing poultice on your face, shoulders and back red and raw from sunburn. Similarly, the residue left over from the oil infusion can be used to ease burns, eczema, and psoriasis. Grind it to get a more uniform paste.
Plantain Herbal Tincture
Tinctures are created by adding fresh or dried plant matter into alcohol to extract the medicinal properties of the herb and to preserve the medicine for later use.
The tincture of plantain can be used in the following ways
- Use diluted tincture to wash and clean sores and promote healing
- Apply a drop of tincture to boils and acne
- Add some drops to a cup of water for mouth ulcers, to gargle, same for throat infections
- For cold and flu and respiratory infections, take a few drops in some water.
- For the relief of gastrointestinal inflammations, take a few drops in some water
Plantain flower essence is a healer of hearts.
This beautiful essence carries not only the loving healing energies of plantain; it also carries the energies of Lemurian Jade, which heals the heart for those who had a difficult past. If you are looking for the strength to heal your heart and move upwards with your spiritual evolution, this essence will serve you well.
To read up more on this vibrational remedy, or to buy this beautiful essence –> plantain-flower-essence/
I am not a qualified herbalist, nor do I claim to be. I am passionate about natural healing and I share what I have learned and how I personally use or apply the herbs in my own life. Always do your own research, and only use herbs once you are certain they are safe and have consulted with either your doctor or a qualified herbalist. Your health is in your hands.
I welcome your feedback on my article.
In no particular order, information has been found from the following links which you are welcome to click on for further reading, should you wish too: