Monday, 21 October 2013
Plantain (not to be confused with the cooking banana Plantain) is one of those perennial "weeds" that grows near dandelions in many untreated lawns and meadows. There are 2 easy to identify species, one with longer narrow leaves and the other with broad leaves. These deeply ribbed leaves can be snipped at the base and steamed for a chard-like green. The leaves can be used fresh in soups or dried for use during the winter. Narrow Leaf Plantain Plantago lanceolata To make a urinary tract or sore throat tea blend, combine dried plantain leaves with wild mallow leaves, nettles, and rosehips. Plantain leaves are high in silica and have a diuretic effect as well as expectorant and emollient properties to soothe sore throats. These antiseptic and anti-inflammatory leaves make a great addition to topical skin salves. Plantain leaves are also one of those safe green leaves that can be picked straight from the field, crushed to activate the healing juices, then rubbed directly on bug bites and wounds. The astringent tannins in the leaves also help to stop bleeding. On some species including Plantago psyllium, the central stem that develops over the season produces psyllium seeds in the Fall that can be added to water as bulk laxative. Next time you see Plantain, do not pass it by.