Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Plantain to the rescue...again!

I called a dear friend to ask about her trip to the beach.  She related to me that after leaving they made a stop to do some shopping.  In the store, she felt something on her cheek and wiped at it and felt like there might have been blood.  She asked the little one with her but was told "no blood" so she went on shopping.    

A bit later, she looked in a mirror and there was a large, red, hard spot on her cheek!  The weird thing is that she said her skin felt very rough, like elephant skin.  By the time she got home, and I called her several days later, this was moving down her neck.

Someone had suggested an activated charcoal poultice - but she didn't have any. (Something I recommend you keep on hand!). I asked her if she had tried a Plantain (Plantago major) poultice. She had not and was not sure what it was.  We were headed that way and I told her we would stop on our way home and help her search the yard for plantain.

I was surprised at how she looked - it was evidently a nasty bite and my thought was probably spider.  Perhaps when she felt blood, she had actually squished a small spider - ew!  It had spread fairly far down her neck also and was still a bright pink.

Plantain grows profusely here in east TN and Elijah quickly found a handful.  We left her with instructions on how to make a poultice and apply it.  (You can learn how to do the same with this post!)

I was happy to hear that there was immediate improvement with the first application and after several her symptoms were completely clear!

I continue to be amazed, even after three decades, at how effective our Father's gift of herbs can be.  Plantain has so many benefits! It is high in Vitamins A, B1, C and calcium.  You can pick the young leaves and add them to your salads! It is considered an anti-toxin, which explains it's effectiveness on biting and stinging pests.

It is also considered to have antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory  properties...along with many others!  On our farm, we use it for compresses, poultices, in salves and in tinctures too.  I also use it in several of my soaps!  I am so grateful that it grows in abundance here in our area.

We try to keep it picked during the summer so we have a constant supply during the winter.  It does not disappear through the winter in our area but it does not grow much either.  I also don't want to have to go digging through the snow for it. 

Take a walk through your yard and look for Plantain now.  Begin picking a few leaves from each plant.  Bring them in and lay them out to dry.  I lay mine on cookie sheets covered with paper towels (small amount) or on my drying table which is set up in my hall at any given time during the year (large amount).  I just cleared the Jewelweed off of it and will now be filling it with Plantain.

If you aren't sure you have Plantain, or aren't sure you have identified the right plant, you can always purchase it here. Wherever you purchase it, make sure it is organic!  Anytime you are using herbs for medicinal or nutritional purposes, it really needs to be don't want to be adding unknown chemicals (fertilizers, weed killers etc.) into a medicinal or nutritional preparation.

Do you use Plantain and if so, what is your favorite use for Plantain?

Happy hunting!

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