What To Look For
This is a low growing plant whose broad leaves look like an arrangement of ribbons. The leaves grow all the way down and have a very short tiny stem. They have parallel veins that have really strong fibers in them.
The flowers on it are small and aren't very brilliant. They are cylindrical and come from stems that have no leaves. Little spikes stick out of them and their stem will grow right out of the middle of the plant.
Although ten or so species exist, they all look pretty much the same and all of them will have the flowers which sit atop leafless stems.
Why Plantain is Important
The leaves of this plant are powerful healers.
They can be removed from the plant and applied directly as a bandage or made into a poultice and applied to bee stings, burns and wounds that are not healing quickly.
You can use a diluted Plantain juice for sore throats and mouth or gum inflammation. Syrup made from the juice can be used for coughs, especially if your throat is swollen or inflamed.
A Recipe to Get You Started
This recipe comes from one of my all time favorite herb books written by Marie Maczak, D.Sc., Ph.D.: Nature's Weeds, Native Medicine, Native American Herbal Secrets.
Plantain Leaf Salve
3 cups fresh, plantain leaves finely chopped
4 oz olive oil
1/2 oz vitamin E
2-4 oz beezwax
Dr. Maczak says this recipe makes a soothing salve for "diaper rash, itchy bug bites and other skin irritations." She goes on to say that it can be used for small wounds. It will "check bleeding, speed healing and take the pain away."
Attention Use At Your Own Risk
I am not medically trained in anyway. I am simply
a student. I read and experiment with ancient herbal techniques. I am simply passing on the knowledge I have gained from studding many texts on the subject and I am in no way responsible for anything you do with this information.