Nature provides us with many useful plants that have healing properties and other survival uses. However, many of these plants are considered weeds and people remove them from their lawns and gardens without considering their usefulness.
A “weed” is simply a plant that is considered ugly and thrives in neglected lawns…but you’ll change your mind about this common backyard plant after discovering what it can do for you.
Today, I’ll show you a common weed called “plantain” that grows all over the U.S. that has been used for survival for many centuries…even before the Americas were colonized.
Don’t let the name confuse you. I’m not talking about those fruits that look like large bananas found in grocery stores.
This plant grows nearly everywhere and can be found in most people’s lawns. If you keep your lawn in great condition, you’ve probably killed plenty of plantain before.
How to Identify the Two Common Plantain Species
There are over 200 species of plantain found all over the world. However, we’re only interested in the two most common species found in the U.S.
Two types of plantain grow here: broad leaf plantain and narrow leaf plantain. Both types of plantain can be used for safe and effective treatment.
The plantain’s roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds can all be used for medicinal treatment. It can also be ingested or used topically.
Broad Leaf Plantain
Broad leaf plantain’s scientific name is Plantago Major.
They have broad leaves with three to five veins. The flowering part of the plant is long and narrow.
An image of the broad leaf plantain is above on the right.
Narrow Leaf Plantain
Narrow leaf plantain’s scientific name is Plantago Lanceolata.
Unlike the broad leaf plantain, they have long narrow leaves. The flowering part of the plant is shorter than those of the broad leaf plantain.
Common Survival Uses For Plantain
Now that we’ve covered what the two common types of plantain are, let’s get into some real world uses for this helpful plant.
Treat Bug Bites
In the event you’ve been bitten by a tick, snake, spider, or any other kind of venomous insect, you can use plantains as an anti-toxin and anti-venom.
If you’ve been burned, one of the first steps is to apply aloe or some other burn cream to the damaged area. However, if neither of those are available, you can use plantain as a substitute.
Plantain is a known herbal remedy for treating pneumonia and other respiratory problems like lung infections, allergies, and asthma.
Use to Stop Bleeding
Plantain also helps stop bleeding, which makes it great for healing wounds. This natural “bandage” will slow blood loss and help your wound heal faster.
Use as an Anti-Inflammatory
Plantain is an anti-inflammatory and can be used to reduce the swelling from bites and stings. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it good for those suffering from allergies. This is especially helpful to anyone allergic to bees.
Plantain is also a natural antibiotic. Use it to disinfect wounds before wrapping them to prevent infections, or use it to help overcome a current infection.
How to Consume Plantain
Once you’ve gathered some plantain, you can use it in the two most common ways for healing.
A poultice is a layer of wet plant material that’s applied to the body and covered with a cloth. This is a good method for when you want to treat an open wound. The purpose is to get the healing benefits of the plant while the cloth keeps it in place.
If you’re doing this in your home, you can just use a blender, but if it’s a SHTF situation, there’s a few other ways to make the poultice.
You can crush the leaves between the palms of your hands and rub them back and forth, you can grind them between two rocks, or you can chew them up and spit them out…a bit gross, but when SHTF, you gotta make do.
Then apply the plant material to the affected area and wrap it with a cloth or piece of clothing.
Tea made from plantain also has healing benefits.
Bring some water to a boil and then pour it over a mass of plantain leaves. Then strain the leaves out and drink the tea once it cools.
You can even store the discarded leaves and use them in a poultice.
As always when it comes to your health, check with your doctor before trying plantain. Any medications you are taking could conflict with the medicinal properties of plantain and be harmful to your health.