The Plantain is really growing like crazy in our yard this year. I’m so glad we didn’t plant grass when we first cleared the land. So many amazing wild edible and medicinal plants fill our property now. It’s always exciting to discover new varieties each Spring.
It was late afternoon, when the sun had softened its glare and the trees were casting a shadow over the side of the garden where the Plantain especially thrives.
I carried a pint jar half full of olive oil to a particularly abundant patch, and sat down to pick leaves from the Narrowleaf variety, which is said to have stronger medicinal properties than Broadleaf Plantain.
As I was breaking the foliage to fill the glass jar, my littlest guy cruised by in his play car. When he saw what I was doing, he quickly got out of the toy, walked over to where I sat cross-legged, and plopped himself right down in my lap. He wanted to help.
I handed him a leaf brushed clean of dirt and told him to break it into small pieces like Mommy was doing. He contented himself for quite some time helping me. I soaked in the quiet moment while it lasted.
When we filled the jar about 3/4 full, I took it inside and finished filling the jar with Organic Cold Pressed Olive Oil, to cover the leaves by 1-2 inches. I’ll let it sit for a few weeks before straining it off and storing it for use.
If you’d like to try to find some Plantain in your area, here’s what a nice cluster of Narrowleaf Plantain looks like:
And this is Broadleaf Plantain:
Notice the straight veins in the leaves:
Both varieties grow in most lawns. I’m betting you wouldn’t have to go far out your front door to find one or the other.
We use them all the time for stings. Just chew up a leaf and place it over a bee sting or insect bite, and hold it there for a few minutes. It’ll soak the poison and pain right out. The Narrowleaf would be the best choice between the two, but Broadleaf works as well.
I like to make an infused oil from the fresh leaves, to use during the winter when the plants are dormant. You can use the strained oil as is, or you can use it to make a salve by adding melted beeswax and other herbs and essential oils if desired.
The oil or salve is great to use on insect bites, skin irritations (like Eczema), wounds, cuts, scrapes, diaper rash, poison oak/ivy, and burns.
Wellness Mama has a great article with more info on Plantain and its many uses, if you wanna check that out.
It’s also perfectly edible, and really nutritious. You can eat it raw in salads, but I’ve found that even young, tender leaves are a tad too bitter and veined to be purely enjoyable. A good survival food? Yes. But to eat it on a daily basis… meh. I’ll have to experiment with cooking it to see if it’s better that way.
Do you harvest Plantain in your area? What’s your favorite way to use it?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.