If you’re like most people I know, you have unfavorable feelings toward plantain. Plantain is usually known for its tenacious behavior as a “weed” in your lawn. But did you know it’s one of the greatest healing herbs you’ll find in your backyard?
Some of plantain’s many actions include drawing, astringent, and cooling. It will draw out poisons, infection, and foreign objects from the body. The astringent action will shrink and tighten tissues, helping to stop bleeding and help wounds heal faster. Plantain’s cooling and moistening energetics will soothe hot and irritated tissue. These actions alone make it the perfect ‘must have’ remedy for kids with their chronic scraped knees, slivers, bug bites, and random mystery rashes.
In the summer when the plant is prolific, my kids tend to skip the salve and go straight to the source, chewing or ripping and tearing the leaves to release its magic, then applying this poultice directly to the wound for instant relief. The poultice is the most potent method for stings and bleeding wounds, however that doesn’t make the salve any less healing! Having a salve on hand is a necessity in our house, especially in the winter, when our skin becomes annoyingly dry or even cracked. It’s a great ointment to use under bandages and it’s perfect for rashes. I happen to be using this salve recipe as a diaper ointment for my 1 year old. It is magnificent!
If you have kids, let them get involved. They will LOVE the safe and gentle yet super powered salve they infused with their energy, love, and excitement! Plantain imparts a fun green color to the salve which the kids (and myself) are drawn to – just because it’s cool. The waxy consistency makes it fun and easy to apply. Too often, after making the salve, I suddenly start hearing of invisible boo-boos that “need” boo boo balm! So, if the season is right, send them outside to pick a large handful of this medicinally giving and bountiful plant. Please make sure the area you harvest from has not been sprayed or poisoned.
- About 1/2 cup (ish) fresh plantain leaves
- 1/2 + cup olive oil (you’ll want a 1/2 cup left after straining)
- 1/2 ounce beeswax or approximately 5 teaspoons
- 10-20 drops lavender essential oil
- Collect, rinse, dry, and wilt the plantain leaf by placing it single layer on a towel for a night or two. The leaf does not need to be completely dry, but does need to be wilted to remove some moisture. This will help prevent early spoilage. I have used fresh leaves in the past and have not had any problems with mold or rancidity, but there’s no need to risk it!
- Chop your wilted leaves, place into a jar and cover it with 1/2 cup or so of olive oil. Let this infuse for 4 to 6 weeks in the sun for a solar infusion; adding sunshine and solar energy to your healing salve. If you need your salve asap, place the oil and herb into a double boiler and gently heat, without boiling, for about an hour.
- Strain out and compost the plantain.
- Add the beeswax to the oil and heat slowly in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.
- Add in the lavender essential oil, stir it up, pour it into a 4 oz glass jar, and leave it be until set.
Tierra, Michael. The Way of HERBS. New York: Pocket, 1998. Print.
Grieve, M, Mrs. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications, INC, 2013. Print.