Scientific name: Plantago major, P. lanceolata

Plantain is another weed that is probably as plentiful (and useful) as dandelion and grows just about anywhere. Many of us as kids probably picked it at some point or another in the park or in the sidewalk cracks.

Nutrientsplantain

  • Mucilage
  • Fatty acids
  • Protein
  • Starch
  • Vitamin(s) B, C, K
  • Allantoin
  • Bitters
  • Iron

Health Benefits

  • Body cleanser: draws toxins out
  • Useful for blood poisoning and blood purifier
  • Improves liver related problems: digestion, assimilation, hepatitis, jaundice, skin eruptions (eg. bug bites, boils, etc.)
  • Styptic properties: helps wounds stop bleeding
  • Some mild laxative properties: mainly in the seeds
  • Antibacterial properties

Cooking Tips

  • Plantain is a bit bitter as it ages, but can be mixed into smoothies.
  • When cooking leaves, if overcooked they fall apart so boil for 4 minutes and then submerse into cold water
  • Use younger leaves in a fresh salad
  • Leaves and the seed stalk can both be sauteed
  • Mix into a soup

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

  • Skin problems (bug bites, boils, etc) & infections: mash up fresh leaves and apply directly to the problem area, or mix a strong tea and do the same.
  • Remove deep slivers: soak the area in hot tea (optional add 1-2 tsp salt) for 20-30 minutes, then apply a poultice & change throughout the day as needed until the sliver is close enough to pull.

How to Grow

Planting

Where do you live?

Plantain is probably already growing somewhere in your yard and if it isn’t, it’s not difficult to get it growing. It does thrive best in zones 3-9.

Put em in the ground

If you don’t have any in your yard already, check your neighbor’s yard or the local park and grab some ripe seeds. Plant and soon enough you’ll have a nice little crop.

  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Almost any soil including sandy and rocky

Harvest

Leaves are best harvested before the seed stalk grows, at which point they will become more bitter.

Care

Because they grow so easily, they’re also pretty low-maintenance.