People often consider plantains as common weeds. But this herb has a wide variety of medicinal uses. In the 10th century, the Saxons included plantains among their nine sacred herbs. While plantains are not as used today, they make excellent home remedies – and even medicine in case of an emergency.
There are many different kinds of plantain, but the most common varieties are common plantain (Plantago major) and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Both can be used for consumption or medicinal purposes. (Related: Plantain, a common driveway weed, is one of nature’s most powerful medicines.)
Before using plantains, make sure that they have not been exposed to pesticides or other chemicals.
Use plantain for these 4 home remedies
You can use plantain leaves for these four home remedies:
REMEDY #1 – PLANTAIN TEA
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of fresh and mature plantain leaves
- 2 cups of water
- Heat-proof bowl or a container that has a lid
- Wash the leaves thoroughly and place it inside the bowl with a lid.
- Pour two cups of hot water into the bowl and let the mixture sit.
- Strain the leaves out and place the tea inside the refrigerator.
- Drink one to two cups every day.
REMEDY #2 – PLANTAIN POULTICE
A poultice is a homemade healing paste that can be applied to wounds or an injury. It is often covered with a bandage or wrapped in cloth. Follow the instructions below to make one:
- Harvest plantain leaves: Make sure to pick the more mature leaves because they contain more healing compounds.
- Wash the leaves: Remove any dirt or other contaminants.
- Mash the leaves: You can also chew them until they start to look and smell like fresh grass clippings.
- Apply to the affected area: Gently cover the problem area with the poultice.
- Replace: The poultice may become ineffective after a few hours. Replace it with a new one every few hours.
REMEDY #3 – PLANTAIN SALVE
A salve is like a poultice, except it is infused with other substances and has a smoother texture.
What you’ll need:
- Plantain leaves
- 4 ounces of coconut oil
- ½ ounces of beeswax
- An 8-ounce heatproof jar
- A saucepan
- Tear the plantain leaves and pack them tightly into the jar. They should fill up the jar about halfway.
- Pour the coconut oil into the jar.
- Place the jar unto the saucepan. Fill the pan with water until it reaches the halfway up the jar.
- Let the pan simmer for two hours to allow the oil to infuse. There should be a fair amount of light green oil.
- Strain out the leaves.
- Mix the beeswax and infused oil. Put them in a jar and place them back on the saucepan until the beeswax melts.
- Pour into another clean container and let it cool.
REMEDY #4 – PLANTAIN TINCTURE
A tincture is a concentrated liquid mixture of one or more herbs made by soaking herbs in alcohol. It is often diluted first with water before application.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of plantain leaves
- 1 pint of 100-proof vodka or brandy
- 1 glass jar with a tight lid
- Place the leaves in the jar and submerge them in alcohol. The mixture should fill the jar. Stir it well.
- Firmly close the jar with a lid and store it in a dark place. Shake the jar once in a while.
- Let it rest for six to eight weeks. After that, place the tincture in a clean jar and store it in a dark place.
If stored correctly, the tincture may remain potent up to three years.
Where to apply plantain herbal remedies
Here are a few conditions that plantain remedies can help treat:
- Boils and acne – Apply a small amount of salve or diluted tincture on the area.
- Burns – Apply poultice then cover it bandage afterward. Follow it up with a plantain salve.
- Sunburn – Put some fresh poultice on the sunburn. Wash it afterward with plantain tea and apply the salve.
- Cuts and open sores – Stop the bleeding first with crushed leaves. Wash it with plantain tea or diluted tincture to prevent it from getting infected.
- Dandruff – Slowly pour plantain tea unto the scalp. Let the tea soak on the scalp for an hour before washing it off.
- Mouth ulcers – Take two to three tablespoons of plantain and swish it around. Spit them out afterward. Do this three to four times a day.
- Poison ivy/sumac/oak – Apply the poultice to the irritated areas as soon as possible. Wash it afterward with plantain tea to offer some relief.
Plantain tea has a long list of medicinal uses, including more serious conditions like constipation and ulcer. However, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional first before consuming plantain remedies. This is especially the case for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and people taking medication.