Wednesday, July 2, 2014

When I was little, I used to earn a nickle for each weed I pulled from our yard. Little did I know that one of those pesky weeds I pulled was an herb with many great health benefits. The plant I'm talking about is called plantain (no, not the bananas). There are several varieties of plantain, but all of them look similar. You might recognize the plant in the pictures.

Plantain (also called ripple grass, waybread, waybroad, snakeweed, slan-lus, and white man's foot) has been known as a healing herb for many years. It was highly regarded by the Saxons and mentioned in their writings as one of the nine sacred herbs. Pliny mentions the plant, as do Chaucer and Shakespeare.

The plantain seems to have followed the migrations of colonists to every part of the world. Wherever the English took possession of the soil, plantain grew. Thus it's one name: white man's foot.

This little weedy pest is a true healing power house. It's main claim to fame is its drawing power. As a poultice, it draws out dirt, stingers, insect venom, and (it's claimed) infection from an abscess. It also stays a bleeding wound. An ointment of plantain can ease itching. Plantain oil can relieve the inflammation of a sprain. 

And along with it's medicinal use, plantain can be eaten. The young leaves can be used in salads, and the seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids

So next time you're looking around your yard and see plantain and think you need to get out a heavy duty weed killer (or pay your kids to do the dirty work), stop and remember how helpful this little herb can be. 

For more information, check this link at A Modern Herbal.


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