Botanical Name: Plantago magus
Energetics: Cooling, moistening (and I find it drying at times - depends on what is needed)
Major Properties: Demulcent, astringent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory
Examples of Uses: Gum disease, mouth pain, clean and heal dirty wounds, cold sores, intermittent fever, sinusitis, plugged ears
Parts Used: Leaves (some herbalists also use seeds and roots)
Fresh - just macerate leaves with your fingers or teeth and apply externally
Tincture - of fresh, young leaves preferred
Oil - of fresh, young leaves preferred
Dry for winter use - just hydrate and use same as fresh
Plantain is one of the best "drawing agents" in herbalism - pretty amazing actually!
If you find yourself with a sliver or bite from a bug (be it mosquito, gnat, or bee), grab a leaf of plantain, gently macerate it with your fingers (or teeth), and apply. Plantain has great “pulling out” properties – be it dirt, slivers of any sort, and even the allergen (“the itch”) of a bug bite. Plantain will also help to heal up a wound, but only after it has cleaned it out. It will not allow the wound to close over until it is clean - another great benefit of plantain! This is of much benefit with gravelly knee scrapes or other dirty wounds
Out of season, just use plantain ointment (made from the oil you made in the summer...)
Sometimes I use ointment along with a fresh leaf with wounds, just to help hold everything in place.
Swimmers Itch - a strong tea of fresh plantain leaf, used as a skin wash, has helped greatly with some of my family.
My grandkids all have their own “itch stick” which I’ve made by using plantain infused oil and beeswax in a lip balm container, and they simply apply it to bug bites and itches as needed.
Gum disease - swish or brush with plantain tincture or oil to draw out infection and heal gums. My "numbers" at dentist appointments improved substantially by oil pulling with a bit of plantain tincture or oil added to the coconut oil that I use for oil pulling.
Sinus and/or ear pain or pressure - rub plantain ointment in a downward motion along nasal passages and Eustachian tubes to help move mucus and relieve pressure. Repeat often.
I often dab plantain ointment in my nose before subbing in school classrooms to prevent the many viruses from attaching in my nasal passages.
I know there are more ways I often use plantain - I'll add them as I think of them. It is one of my top 5 herbs as far as frequency of use.
If you don’t have plantain growing in your yard, I would encourage planting one close to your house so it is handy for summer use.
This brief overview merely highlights my observations. There is, of course, a great deal of information that you can find on the Internet or in books. Or better yet - get together with other herbalists and share your experiences!
Please add your own experiences so that together we can create a more comprehensive overview.
As always, if you have a chronic ailment that is not resolving itself or an acute issue, seek the attention of your physician.