The Weed That Heals

Chances are you have this weed growing in your yard. You may have even tried pulling it up, or spraying it with something in an attempt to have the “perfect” yard. But Plantain isn’t just any old common weed, it’s truly a miraculous herb. If you do have any growing in your yard, for heaven’s sakes leave it there! One day you’ll be glad you did.

I’d heard many folks bragging of the benefit of using a Plantain leaf to relieve a bee sting, but I must admit, I was a bit skeptical until one day when I saw this herb work it’s magic with my own eyes.

It was a sunny Summer afternoon. My children were playing in the yard beside me as I hung clothes on our clothesline. They were crouching to examine a new-found insect, when my four-year-old decided it would be great fun to chase his sister with the bug. But seconds after he’d picked it up and begun his game, I heard him shout loudly, which was immediately followed by screaming and crying. Now, this was very uncharacteristic behavior for my sweet boy, so I knew he must be really hurt.

I dropped what I was doing and ran to his side. He’d thrown the bug down, and was trying to stomp on it as tears continued streaming down his face. When I saw what the bug was, right away I knew he was in some serious pain. It was an Assassin Beetle, the Wheel Bug variety. If you don’t know anything about this bug, they have the reputation of having a bite ten times worse than a hornet’s sting. And the pain can last for weeks.

As my little guy’s red, throbbing thumb began to swell, I went into action to find a remedy for his pain. After trying a couple of different things it suddenly hit me… Plantain! I dashed to a spot in our yard where I knew some was growing, picked a leaf, and took it inside to wash it up. Next, I chewed it up (Mmmm… tastes like grass), spit it out, and rubbed the green glob onto my son’s sore spot. I wrapped it with gauze to allow the leaf to soak up the toxins, and said a prayer that it would work.

An hour later, my little man was back to normal, playing as if nothing had happened and claiming to be pain free. I removed the bandage to find the swelling completely gone. I figured the pain might return later and I’d have to do another treatment with the Plantain. Imagine my relief when he went to bed that night still pain-free!

Now that I know the power of this healing herb, I can tell you it will always be welcome in my yard. With little ones outside playing and many stinging insects swarming in the heat of the summer, it’s comforting to know that I have what it takes to ease their pain away naturally.

Have you ever used Plantain for a sting? Do you have any growing in your yard? I’d love to know if you’ve had a chance to see what this healing herb can do.

Note: Lehman’s now carries Plantain Salve, made by the Amish in small batches near our store in Ohio. If you don’t have any growing near you, try this soothing all-natural salve on insect bites and stings, scratches, minor wounds, rashes and dry, irritated skin.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on August 26, 2011 in Country Life.

20 thoughts on “The Weed That Heals

  1. Well I have a ton growing in my side yard, neighbor is always complaining about it…I’ll tel him it’s for medicinal purposes that’s why I have it there…will use it for sure on bites, although will crush it with a mortor/pestal

  2. You don’t have a botanical name for that plant, do you? It looks similar to something that I’ve seen in my yard, but when I tried to verify with an online search, the only “plantain” results I came up with were for those things that resemble bananas.

  3. It’s also good eating. A little bitter, but tastes good prepared similar to spinach.

  4. The leaves are also edible (but can act as a laxative in large quantities) The seeds on the stalk can be ground up to make a type of flour. It is also said to be good for mosquito bites although, i admit, it didn’t help that much for me. But, i just rubbed the leaf on the bite, i didn’t chew it up, so maybe that is difference.

  5. Yup, when I get a kitchen burn, I run outside, get a leaf of plantain, and chew it, poultice right onto the burn with a bit of clean rag. It always prevents a blister. Well, it’s my spit!

  6. I understand that people who have clotting issues (on blood thinners, etc.) should not take this internally because it promotes clotting, which is why soldiers used it on wounds.

  7. A welcome weed in my yard, plantain is my VERY favorite.
    After berry picking in the mountains last week I got up the next morning and found the eight mosquito bites across my forehead had started to itch pretty bad so I went outside, picked a couple leaves and chewed the up to release their magic. I pasted the goo across my forehead and with a straight face told my seventh grade son I needed to run into his classroom to talk to his teacher about something when I dropped him off. His face was priceless… “Mom,are you SERIOUS?” Lol! But I AM serious about plantain. By the time I got back home the itching had subsided and I wiped the dried goo off. It was on for maybe an hour total time. No more itch, at all.
    It also works wonders when applied in the same way on burns. If it is a pretty bad burn I’ll put some herbal salve on first, then a top layer of fresh plantain, then a bandage. The same son mentioned above burned his fingertips on the woodstove when he was much younger and plantain was his immediate comfort. Takes away pain and speeds healing.
    Chewing is the fastest way to get it on a bite or burn but you can also pour a little boiling water over the leaves, let sit long enough to cool and then use a mortar/pestle to break it down some. This is a better method for larger burns or big scrapes.

  8. Plantain likes an acid soil, so if you put lime on your yard to make it better for grass, you may find that plantain won’t grow there. I decided to leave one area untouched adjacent to what I call the “yard.” It grows chickweed, plantain, poke and several other useful plants.

  9. the blossoms look identical to mint and yes they have a pale purple or whitish tint to them. But it has a very pungent earthy odor to them. Nothing even remotely similar to mint. But the stalks are very high, close to 4 or 5 ft. Growing on the edge of a creek. Leaves are fuzzy just ike mint. Everything about the plant looks like mint until you smell it.

  10. The mint-like plant you are describing sounds like Motherwort. It grows quite tall, and is in the mint family (Square stem.) Makes a great tea. I have some drying currently.

  11. This is the most awesome plant I have ever seen, within minutes of reading this article I literally scalded my mouth, I went outside and took 2 leaves, chewed and held in my mouth for a few minutes, absolutely no soreness or blistering. Then when picking blackberries I contracted a few chiggers, (Itchy pest here in Tennessee), I again applied the juice from the crushed leaves, no itch whatsoever. Again, while cooking dinner, I had butter splash on my arm, it appeared to be blistering up even before I could crush the leaves and apply. Next morning I had the redness and looks of small blisters but again no soreness at all. I have this all over my yard. It is no longer a “pest plant”, I think I will put one in a pot and keep it all nearby year round.