Plantain is a useful herb that is often considered a weed by most people.
It is native to Europe and parts of Asia, but was said to have been introduced to North America when the settlers came from Europe. It’s scientific name is Plantago Major, and it likely grows in your yard.
The leaves are actually edible and somewhat similar to spinach, though slightly more bitter. They can be used in salads or other culinary uses.
We dry and freeze the leaf from our yard and I also order it in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.
The leaves can also be made into a tea or tincture, and this is said to help with indigestion, heartburn and ulcers when taking internally.
Externally, Plantain has been used for insect and snake bites, and as a remedy for rashes and cuts. I use it in making my Homemade Healing Salve, which we use as a natural antibiotic ointment on cuts and bruises.
Its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it great for speeding recover of wounds, and for itching or pain associated with skin problems. A tea made from the leaf leaf can be sprayed on mosquito bites to ease the itch.
From Mountain Rose Herbs:
Plantain has been used as a panacea in some Native American cultures and with some very good reasons. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. The leaves, shredded or chewed, are a traditional treatment for insect and animal bites and the antibacterial action helps prevent infection and the anti-inflammatory helps to relieve pain, burning, and itching. There is some investigation ongoing to study its affects on lowering blood sugar.
When we are bitten by mosquitos, stung by bees, or come in contact with spiders or other insects, I use a salve containing plantain leaf (or just chew the leaves and apply to the bite) to help ease the reaction. I also used a this salve and and a poultice of the leaves when my son was bitten by a brown recluse and continued this daily for about 2 weeks and his skin never decayed at the bite.
A tea, tincture or salve made with plantain also greatly eases the itch of poison ivy, oak, or sumac and I keep it on hand for this reason.
A tea or infusion of the leaf can be poured into the ear for ear infections (as long as the ear drum has not burst) to ease the pain and shorten duration of ear infections.
There is unconfirmed information that a strong tea of this herb, taken internally, can help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and that a strong infusion can improve blood sugar. While taking plantain in these situations would generally be considered safe, one should still check with an attending physician before doing so.
I also make a lotion with plantain, calendula and coconut oil and it is extremely helpful for any skin irritation, including mosquito bites, eczema, psoriasis, chicken pox, rashes and sores.
Where to Find
Most people are able to find this common herb in their own yards. If you live in an area where your yard is sprayed with chemicals or fertilizer, organic dried leaves can also be ordered online. If you prefer pre-made remedies, there are: plantain leaf first aid ointment for kids, plantain tincture, and plantain and goldenseal pre-made salve (natural Neosporin). If you can’t find Plantain in your area, you can actually order the seeds to plant Plantain (though your neighbors might think you are crazy!)
Plantain is good for injuries because of its coagulating properties, but those with blood disorders or prone to blood clots should not use Plantain internally. If harvesting it yourself, make sure to get from an area that has not been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides and make sure that you have correctly identified the plant before consuming.
Ever used plantain or another herb that grows in your back yard? Tell me about it below!
Discussion (126 Comments)
Yes me too, please. My boyfriend has psoriasis. >_<
I have psoriasis and have spent thousands on creams i would like to know how to make the lotion with plantain, calendula and coconut oil.
I have made Plantain oil for 2 years now. I harvest the leaves in the morning, wash and dry them, loosely fill a sterilized quart mason jar about 3/4 full of leaves then add pure olive oil to cover all leaves completely. cover the jar with a coffee filter and ring or rubber band. Set it on the counter in your kitchen, shake it daily and keep the leaves under the level of the oil, adding more oil if needed. After at least 2 weeks the oil should start smelling a bit like pepperoni. At that point, it has steeped enough, but it could steep longer if you wish. I strain the mixture through a sieve and again through a coffee filter and store it in dark glass jars at room temperature, pouring it into smaller bottles as my friends and family need it. I label clearly. The oil will be ‘good’ for at least one year stored in this manner. Often I add a few drops of tea tree oil to each bottle. I recommend this oil be used ONLY externally for skin issues, including sunburn, bug bites, poison ivy, rashes, eczema, etc. My parents call it ‘hoo-doo oil’ and tease me about it, but use it religiously!
I recommend cleaning and drying the leaves, then placing them in a double boiler with coconut oil, bees wax, olive oil and coconut oil. The bees wax will help the salve remain thick so it stays on the skin longer. It’s a great antibiotic. You can cold infuse them also. Burdock flower buds add an additional antibiotic and anti septic property to the salve, also.
Plantain lotion recipe please.
Just found your sight and am looking forward to drenching myself with your knowledge. Can you tell me how long does an ointment made using Plantain & Yarrow would last on the shelf if jarred and stored in a dark cool area.
I have used plantain to heal deep open wounds wounds that normally need tobe stitched in the modern world butwhenyour in the mountains andthe nearest modern doctor is 50 miles away and you don’t have transportation you have to return to God’s natural ways and use these powerfull gifts you boil water chop up young leaves and steep 30 minutes use to to cleanse wound then pull wound together place steeped leaves on wound and bandage in place wait at least 6 to 12 hours better if you wait till leaves dry then your guaranteed that when leaves are removed usually 24 hours your wound will be almost fully healed with amazing skin ggrowth in most cases the scar disappears 6 months dependingonhow soon the herb was applied it istruly GGod’s golden thread .by, Alan Blackhorse
My son has been in a wheelchair for 3+ years, T6 complete paraplegic (avoid motorcycles, people)…he has several areas that are quite susceptible to pressure sores (back, butt, tailbone…he’s very thin below his line of injury) …has never had a full blown one but it is a constant threat. Would these plantain leaves be useful for that? …not quite an open wound but very, very inflamed, swollen, angry red, sometimes a little puss… i’ve been trying to find out about black walnut hull for this situation, as well. Any advice? If this stuff works would impact a whole community.
Yes I have used the leaves fresh on an open ulcer on my leg and was very effective. I just rinsed them under the tap, and dried them off and placed them smooth or under surface of the leaf over the wound, covered with a dressing and left it on for 24 hrs. When you take the dressing off the wound should start to look at lot healthier and cleaner. Just keep applying it daily till the wound has healed.
My husband is c6/7 and had pressure sores on both heals. I steeped whole leaves until the color changes to bright green. Leaves are flexible also. Fold a couple leaves to fit wound, apply to wound, add gauze & tape in place. Draws infection from wounds.
thanks for responding…appreciate it
Oh wow! I lived in Pennsylvania most of my life and plantain grew wild and free! Now I live in Utah and, well… not so much. I have been harvesting yellow yarrow and juniper from a friend’s yard. Do you have any thoughts on a yarrow/plantain/avocado oil infusion for skin? Living here for a while my eczema pretty much runs the show.
I live in Utah, and it’s in my yard. Where are you?
Stephanie Anderson Evans
My husband use to spray our backyard with chemicals to kill spiders ticks flees and such. I had him stop this practice beginning this year. How long do you believe i will have to wait before i can harvest the weeds and plants in my yard without the influence of the chemicals? Ever?
do not eat it. topical is good enough. plantain and jewel weed are gifts from god, but you do not know who sprayed what.
I think you will need to wait several years. One way to cleanse the soil is to plant sunflowers and they will draw up the toxins in the soil. Depending on how heavy the contamination will determine how quickly it will clean the soil. I would think within two or three years of growing sunflowers or other plants that draw out toxins, you should be good to go. You could also bring in some fresh topsoil (from a good source) with some organic manure and redo the lawn. Make sure when the sunflowers die you fully remove them and bag them as contaminated waste. Do not work back into the soil. They used sunflowers to clean the soil after Chernobyl. Amazing plants, others work too. Good reason to buy organic sunflower seeds and oil when consuming since they suck up the junk. You can research cleaning soil with plants and find lots of info out there. A lot of work I know, but if you want to use the soil to grow food or harvest naturally growing herbs, you might want to consider it.
they cleaned up Chernoble? I don’t think so. That place is contaminated for the next 1000 years.
Yes, they said Chernobyl would be worthless soil for 150 yrs, but bugs and mice have returned and been living there since at least 2008.
a field is considered organic after it has been treated organically (no non-organic chemicals used) for 7 years. certainly after 7 years you could do as you wish, but i think the new plants that have sprung up are probably fine… (what do i know)
Here in Hillbilly Hollow we use Jewel Weed for insect bites, poison ivy, etc. It’s an old Native cure. You just cut open the stem and apply. We’ve used it on mosquito bites in the evening after sitting outside and it relieves the itch right away. Then in the morning, there are no bumps…the mosquito bite is gone! Last summer, at a party, a girl got bit on the face by a mosquito and her cheek blew up (she was allergic). I found some jewel weed and she applied it to the bite. An hour later the swelling had gone down and the redness was gone…the bite was almost gone. I cut up jewel weed, put it in a pot and cover with water and boil, then freeze in ice cube trays for use over the winter. This year, I’ll be making it into a salve! 🙂
loved your post
My yard is COVERED in this stuff. I am so happy to hear that it has a practical use. Now I will be able to tolerate looking at it. I plan on harvesting it this summer.
Feel free to pick all you want in my yard too.
Just pick the leaves. Wash them and spread them out to dry and then put them in freezer bags in your freezer. That’s what I did last summer and I had them to use all winter on my chronic hives. They have been my savior!!!
I had to reply to this!
How do you use these on your chronic hives?
I have been battling chronic hives for a few months now (and have had them for year-long stretches in the past).
As much as I hate using medication, I’m living on Claritin and Benadryl now w/ the few spots of hives every morning when I wake up.
As a matter of fact, I looked up this plant this morning as my eye is swollen and I don’t want to hide out in the house all day.
Just take the clean leaves, cut them up with scissors, and steep them in a pot of boiling water [about 2 to 3 cups] for about 5 minutes. After it cools, strain the liquid into a spray bottle. Spray on your hives. Keep it in the fridge. I have it on hand 24/7. Plus, I have added this liquid to lotion and used it that way. You can also use it with cotton balls or rounds and apply it that way, too!
Thank you!!! I also have angioedema and I will try this for that as well!
Use about 15 plantain leaves. I’ve used it on cuts & on razor burn. Heals quicker !!!
I have seen this applied to someone who is allerguc to ant bites so bad the person carries an epi-pen and after immediately applying a mushed up leaf the person was fine, with no reaction. Totally amazing “weed”! I have also seen it work on scorpion bites when oral and external antihistamines did nothing to halt the pain, itching, and spread of poison up the limb. Kept cold in the fridge it brings a very welcome cooling sensation to bites. Apply (use tape to secure it needed) and remove and reapply a new leaf when pain/itching/etc returns until symptoms disappear permantly.
So to claify, you just pull up the weed and appy it to bite? Or do you wet it, or what to use for bites?
Chew it up or rub between fingers. I use this for bug bites and bee stings and I LOVE it.
I used the plaintain plant on a tick bite that was starting to show signs of infection. It worked wonderfully. I applied the plant twice a day for three days, and all the infection and redness is gone. The only thing that is there now is a small bump with a scab.
No, don’t pull up the plant just tear off a leaf or leaves.
Double O Seven
Oh yes, my good old friend plantain!
– one time my mother(who lives in a big city and is *not* into any of the natural stuff/herbs ) was standing in our front yard when she got stung by a bee. So, naturally, i lean-down and frantically look for a plantain leaf and chew it up quickly -all while my mother looks on it horror thinking I’ve gone nuts….even more so when i start to say that if she puts the gooey chewed-up plantain on her bite it will get better…long-story short she put it on (and reluctantly) she admitted that it helped! lol
One of only* many* times that good-old weed in my yard has been a life-saver!