Medicinal Herb Profile: Plantain
Second only to dandelion as "most common and most useful weed" (Rosemary Gladstar, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginniers Guide).
Latin name: Plantago lanceolata (in your CSA) and Plantago major
Parts used: Leaves, seeds, root
Safety: Safe. No known reactions or harmful side effects.
Constituents: Mucilage, fatty acids, protein, starch, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, allantoin, bitters
Medicinal Uses: Plantain is an alterative (blood purifier), antiseptic, and astringent. It stimulates and improves function in the liver. Its antiseptic and drawing actions make it an excellent herb for treating wounds, bites, stings, slivers, and rashes. It can be used similarly in the mouth to treat toothaches and abscesses. It has hemostatic properties, meaning it can help slow bleeding when applied directly to a wound. It contains additional constituents beneficial for skin, making it useful for treating eczema and acne. Plantain has many other applications - learn more.
Recommendations for use:
Highly nutritious, the leaves can be chopped and added to smoothies, salads, or soups. Here is a recipe for plantain leaf chips (although this recipes calls for broad-leaf plantain, you can substitute the lance-leaf plantain in your CSA share.) Rosemary Gladstar's "Plantain Power Drink" recipe calls for pineapple juice, a handful of plantain leaves, and 1 banana blended together.
As a poultice: Have a sliver, insect bite, or wound? Chew a fresh plantain leaf and apply it directly to the affected area. Wrap it and leave it on for about 30 minutes if possible. Plantain has an amazing ability to draw infection and foreign objects from the body. Learn to identify plantain and you will often have this herbal ally nearby when you need it.
Tonic tea: Make a tea of fresh or dried plantain, mixed with other herbs of your choice. Drink this as frequently as you'd like for it's amazing nutrients and myriad health benefits. Especially delicious and fortifying in spring. Freeze extra tea in cubes and use for wound and skin care.