This small, broad plant grows with incredible abundance in pastureland, meadows, lawns and along hedgerows. One source claims that it may be the most abundant ‘weed’ that was spread with European colonization. Lucky for us, it is a perennial and is readily available. It is highly likely that you’ve noticed this plant in passing but did not think twice about it as being useful.
Plantago major or it’s common name Plantain is not to be confused with the banana-like fruit. The leaves are broad and low to the ground with a small stem. In late summer, tall stalks appear with small, mucilaginous seeds (as seen in the photos). The counterpart to Plantago major is a different species called P. lanceolata, which has taller and thinner leaves, but both species share the same uses.
The Plantain plant (or English Plantain) is most notably helpful in its drawing properties. That means it is helping in drawing out venom, infection, or poisons from the system, which may be a result of bacteria, insect bites or stings, or imbalance in the kidneys.
If you get a bee sting or mosquito bite and then see this plant, immediately pulverize a leaf and apply it to the sting, repeatedly. It is known to draw out the poison within an hour’s time. And, I do believe that immediate application is crucial!
I have witnessed the magic of this plant where the pulverized, fresh leaves were applied to an infected wound and helped to expel infected fluids! The fresh leaves can be used at any time (during the plant cycle), and this the most common use for the plant. There are, however, many more ways in which the leaves may be prepared and used for healing…
In addition to the leaves, the seeds are known for healing, and eating! A wild food enthusiast who is bringing wild food to The People, taught me about the value of eating the seeds of Plantago major. This was the inspiration for my blog since I passed several stands of the plant will tall, luscious seed stalks. I did taste some seeds along the way.
I am amazed at the heroic ways in which a simple plant can be used in serious and perhaps life threatening situations, or helpful to incorporate into your diet (the leaves can be eaten in salad too!). It’s like the power of this plant is dormant to the population, but waking up slowly as consciousness grows around plants and their uses in our daily lives.