Plantain (Plantago major LINN.) is one of those herbs that practically goes unnoticed. It is usually found in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic or just plain traffic. Here I found a very large patch of Plantain that was in an area used for recreation some years ago where a track was made for a quad, running around and breaking up the grass and soil as the quad would slide around corners.
In the past, I have taken Plantain and Jewelweed in equal amounts and added it to Witch Hazel to make a solution used on Poison Ivy that takes away the itch and helps to heal any skin irritation from scratching. It is a really effective remedy that works.
|Erasmus, in his Colloquia, tells a story of a toad, who, being bitten by a spider, was straightway freed from any poisonous effects he may have dreaded by the prompt eating of a Plantain leaf.|
It is one of those herbs that you can use as a poultice immediately simply by chewing up a leaf and applying it directly on the skin for abrasions, scrapes and bug bites. William Shakespeare referred to it ” Shenstone in the Schoolmistress: ‘And plantain rubb’d that heals the reaper’s wound.’ ”
Plantain has many common names that it is known by. According to ‘A Modern Herbal‘, these names tell us a little about the plant:
|–Broad-leaved Plantain. Ripple Grass. Waybread. Slan-lus. Waybroad. Snakeweed. Cuckoo’s Bread. Englishman’s Foot. White Man’s Foot.
Supposedly, it was a cure for snake bite and even cured a dog with the fresh juice being extracted and applied as soon as possible and curing the creature. A humble herb that has many virtues. The seeds are a great form of fiber and can be added to recipes like muffins, smoothies, and quick bread. The Herbal Academy of New England lists it as an herb that can be used as an eyewash, mouthwash and poulstice.