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Plantain (Plantago Lanceolata & Plantago Major).
This is such a versatile, useful and incredibly abundant wild 'weed'. I use it in skincare, as a medicinal food, in herbal teas, smoothies & salad dressings for it's mineral & vitamin content, also in first aid.
Plantain has a long history of use. It was used in the 'Nine herbs charm' of the Anglo Saxons during the 10th century to heal infections. It was introduced to North America by the Europeans & quickly became known as 'White Man's Foot', as everywhere that the white invaders went, so to did the Plantain. It self seeds so easily and quickly, that it's now established on every continent on earth (except for the arctic regions). In Eastern Europe Plantain has been used for centuries as a cough syrup, as it has a lovely soothing effect on an irritated or dry throat.
Plantain is well known for it's ability to treat wounds and burns. It has blood clotting agents and the natural allantoin promotes cell regeneration whilst the natural silica aids tissue healing. It can be used as a poultice to draw out splinters, simply mash up a handful of leaves (in a first aid situation you can do this in your mouth), and then place on top of the wound or splinter. Wrap with muslin or fine cloth's to hold in place. It's also used topically to soothe irritation & infection, to treat skin problems such as eczema & acne and to relieve itchiness and stinging sensations from bug bites and stinging nettles.
The leaves have been used to draw out poisons, splinters, abscesses or infection from wounds. First heat the leaves & place the upper side of the leaf onto the wound to draw out infection/splinter/poison. Once the wound is clean and no longer infected use the bottom side of the leaves against the skin for their soothing properties. You can also use Plantain leaf juice to soothe ulcers, boils, burns & cold sores.
I use the young leaves in fresh salads year round, finely slicing them to avoid chewiness, or add them to soups and stews much like I would spinach. It's delicious in pesto.
Plantain retains a lot of body and color once cooked. It can also be brewed into a tea or added to juices and smoothies to benefit from it's nutritional properties: Vitamins C & K, and Minerals Calcium, Silicon, Zinc and Potassium.
Internally it has an antiseptic action which makes it good for treating infections of the digestive, respiratory & urinary tracts.