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Plantain: The Healing Leaf
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Plantain: The Healing Leaf

Plantain leaf, Plantago major, is one useful little plant that is often viewed as a weed. If you look around, it is very likely that you will find it in your own backyard! This little leaf has many benefits and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Join us to explore the history and magic of this mighty little leaf.
Plantain leaf has shown up in literature and paintings for thousands of years. Its uses date back to the 3rd century AD, and possibly even before... it is just undocumented. One of the most recognizable mentions was in Romeo and Juliet in 1592. It was touted as a "cure all." It was traditionally used to treat issues like snake bites and scorpion stings earning its nickname "serpent tongue." The plant has been called "white man's foot" by native Americans because the plant appeared in places where they settled. The native Americans used the plant to relieve bites and stings as well as promote healing from various injuries, including bruising. 
My oldest son harvesting plantain:
plantain, harvest, foraging
Plantain's uses spread far and wide as it can be eaten too. The delicate smaller leaves can even be used for salad! The leaves are loaded with calcium along with vitamins A and C. The more common use for the leaf to help heal cuts, burn, or insect bites. This is largely due to its ability to reduce inflammation. Many components of the plant have shown to have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antitoxic properties as well. This makes the plant an excellent choice for so many ailments.
To use plantain, you can chew a little piece or crush it to make a poultice when you need fast relief outdoors. Simply lay it directly on the injury/bite. Another way to use it is to dry the leaves, crush them, then infuse an oil with it to have on hand when you encounter an injury. A plantain infusion is a wonderful thing to have in your natural medicine cabinet!
Plantain in our backyard:
plantain leaf
How to make a plantain infusion:
1. Dry your leaves.
You technically CAN do it with fresh leaves, but this can promote spoilage. I ALWAYS dry first for infusions so they are more shelf stable. Always wash and dry your leaves before you start the drying process. You can dry using a dehydrator or simply lay them out on a baking tray and bake at 250 for about 10 minutes.
2. Crush your dry leaves.
Crush using a mortar and pestle or simply rip them apart and crush with your hands in a bowl!
3. Fill a jar.
Fill your jar with dry plant plant material. Any size will do. I generally try to fill whatever jar I choose about 3/4 of the way with plant matter, then fill the rest with oil. You can use many type of oil, but the best for this use would be olive or jojoba oil.
4. Place in a sunny spot.
There are many ways to infuse an oil, but my favorite way is to simply use then sun. I let my oils sit in a sunny spot, like a window, for thirty days. Simply shake your jar every now and then to help the process.
5. Strain.
Strain your oil using cheesecloth or another very fine strainer. I have even done it using a coffee filter! To strain, pull your cheesecloth over a jar leaving a big divot for plant matter. I usually secure with a rubber band. Pour your infusion into the divot and let it strain.
6. Store for use.
Once your have strained your oil, simply cap off and store in a cool, dry place for later use. Infusions can last quite a while, but this depends on many factors, like which oil you used. I always try to use mine within 6 months for maximum potency.
There you have it! Making a plantain infusion is not only fun, but incredibly rewarding. This recipe can really come in handy.
Try it:
Help Me Heal Herbal Healing Salve
Try plantain in our very own herbal healing salve. This little number has healed many boo boos in our household and is ALWAYS in my bag just in case!
Live Pure.
About The Author: Alicia is a NAHA certified level 2 aromatherapist, skin care guru, organic product formulator, avid gardener, writer, wife, and mother to two boys. She is an organic living advocate on a mission to spread the word about living a natural lifestyle.
You can purchase her organic aromatherapy goods at

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