Medicinal Weeds: English Plantain

Sunday, I gathered and dehydrated a half pound of English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) leaves. The plant can be easily missed as it often grows inconspicuously among grasses, but the distinct flower stalks are helpful pointers to the clusters of narrow basal leaves.

Photo of English Plantain flower

Some people eat the young leaves of this plant, but I've typically found them too strong for my taste.  Instead, I use this plant as medicine.  I'll chew up a leaf or two to get their juices flowing, then apply them as a poultice on bug bites and stings, and minor cuts.  I've found plantain often provides quick pain relief.

Photo of English Plantain leaves

Having some dried leaves on hand will allow me to utilize this medicine even in the off-season. Several years ago, one of the first plant-based medicines I made was a healing salve which included olive oil infused with purchased plantain leaves. Perhaps I'll make a fresh salve this year with some of the leaves I dehydrated.

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