Plantain usually kicks off the harvesting season for us on the herb farm. We picked our first crop this week and will be out harvesting it over the next few weeks. The very first growth is the most valued because it contains the nutrient in a denser form than later on in the year. Most perennial herbs store their nutrients in the root system over winter and the first growth is the most nutrient dense and contains the most medicinal value for us.
Plantain has a tremendous folk-history as a first aid herb to use ‘on the spot’. It is highly rated for many common outdoor happenings including bites, cuts, grazes, stinging from other plants etc. The fresh plantain leaf is remarkably soothing and provides rapid relief for pain, itching or irritation on the skin. We make an infusion with the fresh herbs and this goes into our popular Aloe Vera Gel for burns and insect bites.
At our Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants Workshop we will learn how to turn it into a topical healing salve.
We have all three commonly found plantains on the property with the narrow leaved (plantago lanceolata, image above) being the most abundant one. Nutritionally plantain is high in protein, vitamin C, E, K, boron, calcium, iron, molybdenum, potassium and sulphur. Medicinally it is used as an herbal cure for wounds and sores. It is nature’s own antibiotic, traditionally used to treat colds, coughs, fevers and sinusitis. It helps to expel phlegm and soothe inflamed and painful mucous membranes in the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs. Plantain is particularly useful to treat cough, bronchitis and asthma. That's why plantain goes into our Immune Boost Tea.