Plantain (plantago lanceolata L.) is considered a common weed and can often be found growing in our backyards. I have seen masses of it in our surrounding Bay Area hills while hiking. Plantain has a long history in herbal medicine, and many of its remarkable medicinal qualities have been confirmed by modern science. Used topically, it can help with many kinds of skin disorders by bruising its leaves and rubbing them onto the skin. Alternatively it can be made into a herbal oil or balm and stored for convenient later use.This amazing plant can help with a long list of skin ailments including rashes, wounds, cuts, swelling, sprains, bruises, burns, eczema, cracked lips, poison ivy/oak, mosquito bites, diaper rash and blisters. It is said to be effective as an agent to draw out the poison from bee stings, snake and spider bites, splinters and thorns. It may even reduce the risk of scarring with more severe cuts and scrapes. This is done by picking a few leaves, chewing or mashing them to release the juices, and then applying the mash to the sting or bite and taping it into place.
Native Americans have used plantain for years as a miracle plant and its uses and medicinal properties are extensive. Most commonly it is used for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This activity is said to be comparable to that of hydrocortisone. Plantain can disinfect minor cuts with its powerful antiseptic action and it is reported to speed the regeneration of cells due to the fact that plantain contains allantoin which is a cell proliferate.
Not surprisingly, we decided to put plantain extract to good use in our shea butter balms. Our customers tell us how these balms are surprisingly helpful with bite itches, rashes and even poison oak. Those who have been suffering through chemotherapy have used it on their faces to calm sudden skin flare-ups and excessive dryness. Keeping it by your bedside and applying it to hands, cuticles, chapped noses and cracked heels can restore these problem areas with ease. Personally, I keep pots of it by my desk, in my purse and by my bedside. Buyer beware, they’re thoroughly addictive!