Latin Name: Plantago major
Common Name: Plantain. Also called snakeweed, broad-leaf plantain, English man's foot.
Description: Plantain is a common every day plant or weed found in North America, but originates from Europe. It is antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties make it excellent for drawing toxins out as well as repairing the skin. It most commonly grows in areas of disturbed soil and is often under foot.
Parts Used: leaves, and roots, and seeds
Constituents: Polysaccharides, lipids, caffeic acid derivatives, flavonoids, iridoid glycosides and terpenoids, alkaloids, Vitamin C, K, beta-carotene, and calcium.
Actions: Cooling alternative, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, emollient, astringent, and diuretic.
Medicinal uses: Plantain is excellent for drawing out toxins. It can be used and works well for poisonous afflictions like snake and spider bites as well as bee stings. It is soothing on the respiratory tract. It soothes and moistens the mucous membranes. Especially helpful for a sore throat or irritating cough. Helps heal infections and repair the skin. Both the roots and leaves can be used to stimulate the cardiovascular and lymphatic system to help the body fight topical skin infections. It has been recommended for issues of the mouth as well including thrush and inflammed or infected gums.
Topical: It can be infused in oils or extracted in witch hazel or alcohol. We infuse it in carrier oils to add to our Eczema salve, detoxifying body oil, and add it powdered to our inflammation tamer poultice. The simplest method to use it topically, is when you can find it fresh is to pick the leaves and bruise them by chewing or smashing them to release the juice inside and apply to a bee sting for example. It draws out the toxins and helps reduce the swelling very quickly. You can also infuse the herbs in water to make a strong tisane(tea) and add it to the bath to help with skin inflammation.
Internal: Can be eaten fresh or used dried. I have added it fresh to pesto as an example. It can be infused in water to make a herbal tisane(tea) to help with mouth inflammation. Example, for a mouthwash, add 3 tbsp powder/2 cups hot water. Let steep 2 hours, then swish mouth with infusion twice per day.