Plantain: The Pharmacy in the Sidewalks
Every spring, summer, and fall you can find this little plant right there in the cracks of the sidewalk, mixed in with the dandelions and somehow always staying alive no matter how many times it gets stepped on.
Those are the Plantains, both the Broadleaf and the Lance, though their habit of growing wild in the American colonies earned them the name of “White Man’s Footprint”. It is these two leafy herbs with their spear like stalks rising up above them that you may want to take a moment to spare from your annual weed spray or trimmer this year and instead add them to your pantry or First Aid kit, and here’s why:
1. Can I eat it?
Yes! In fact you can eat this plant! Though if you wish to dice yourself up a salad using the leaves it’s recommended that you harvest them while they are young as the leaves get tough and fibrous the older they get. But either way they are a great source of calcium and vitamin A.
Plus, as a bonus for all those out there suffering with digestive issues, either from prolonged use of anti-inflammatory, analgesic, or antibiotics our leafy friend as the right stuff to help soothe and heal the irritation. Finally, if you wish to take the time to gather them the seeds located on the stalks of the plant can be used as a flour substitute for those with a Gluten allergy.
2. This bug bite REALLY itches!
Did someone forget their mosquito repellent and become the bug’s personal smorgasbord? Take a leaf, grind it up, and place the poultice on top of the bite and let the astringent nature of the herb suck out the toxin for immediate relief. But it doesn’t stop there as its properties extend to rashes and skin disorders, acne and infection from slivers and glass splinters.
Simply apply the ointment and cover it with a clean and soft cloth, preferably cotton, and leave for four to twelve hours for results.
3. I hate being sick.
Make yourself a nice cup of tea using the leaves of a plantain and let the natural expectorant contained within it help you get over that cold, ease that cough and help sooth that lung disorder.
4. I cut myself shaving
A final, but handy use for that “weed” growing out of that crack in your concrete is to use its styptic properties and apply it to that nasty cut to ease the bleeding before you put a bandage on. Plus a bit of this in your diet not only conveys the bonuses listed above but also help take the edge off of a woman’s menstruation by slowing down the blood flow.
Not a bad list of benefits to come from a plant that most think nothing of tearing up out of the ground and tossing away is it? So next time you come across one of these little guys popping up where you wish they wouldn’t go ahead and pull it up, but save it from the waste bin and give some of the above properties a try!
5. Treatment of All Blood Diseases, and Nearly All Other Diseases
“Plantain is almost a panacea for the human body, treating everything from all menstrual difficulties, all digestive issues, to nearly all skin complaints, and even arthritis,” claims Life Advancer about the amazing healing potential of plantain.
To be on the up and up, there seems to be very few health conditions that plantain can’t treat. According to The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, written by Dr. Finley Ellingwood, MD, in 1919, plantain is effective against virtually all blood diseases, diarrheal conditions, female disorders, injuries, bites and rashes on the skin, many glandular diseases and mercury poisoning.
To sum up, simply use this miracle whenever you can: “add it to salads, chew to ease thirst, or enjoy it in stir fries. This versatile wild vegetable will keep you healthy and satisfied for years to come!”