Weeds As Food and Medicine

Plantain (Plantago sp.)

Plantain is one of the most useful and valuable of our common weeds found in most gardens, paddocks and roadsides. Ribwort or narrow leaf plantain appears more common than the broad leafed variety – both are equally valuable. The juice of the plant will quickly neutralize stings and bites almost instantly. If you have a blender you can liquefy the entire plant, roots and all. (ensure you wash it thoroughly first) Add some water to the blender and liquefy into a dark green soup. This will keep for around one week in a cold fridge. The juice is effective in the urinary tract to help stop minor bleeding, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. In the digestive tract, it relieves diarrhea and the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, and for inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestinal tract.

Plantain has mucilaginous and astringent qualities and is an excellent remedy for reducing inflammations inside and on the body. It also has antibacterial properties, especially against staphylococcus aureus and bacillus subtilus. It is useful in a wide range of urinary, digestive, respiratory and skin ailments.

It is more nutritious than many vegetables and is high in vitamins A, C and K. A poultice of plantain is one of the best topical first aid remedies for insect bites, stings, burns and contact dermatitis. It is excellent made into a tincture or hot oil infusion and for ointments and creams.

Now is one of the best harvesting times. Also may be used for pets and livestock.

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