A few days ago, my good friend, Dr. Jill Corey posted an ode to plantain on her Instagram. Admittedly, I had completely forgotten about how incredibly awesome this herb is, and was super inspired to get to know it a little bit better.
If you're unfamiliar with the herb, that's not surprising. The plantain I"m referring to isn't a banana (but those plantains are delicious), it's actually a prolific weed, common throughout the United States and really, the globe. In fact, you've probably got a decent amount of it growing in your backyard right now!
I definitely have a nice patch of plantain growing right outside of my door, and Dr. Jill's post reminded me of the many ways to turn weeds into medicine. Since I share everything with y'all, here it is: a post all about a humble powerhouse of a plant, Plantago major!
What's it good for?
Plantains are a sort of all-purpose herb, but are most known for being anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, vulnerary (wound healing), astringent (cleansing tissues/drying up mucus), and demulcent (soothing). Its leaves are edible and rich in calcium and Vitamin K, among other vitamins and minerals, and the sap from its stem is styptic, meaning it helps to stop bleeding.
Historically, it has proven to be a particularly useful plant over time. The Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides recommended plantain for wound healing, dog bites and burns. Pliny the Roman referred to the plant as an infallible remedy for bites caused by wild animals. Clearly, a great herb to have on hand!
Today, we use the herb topically in warm compresses, in teas, in tinctures, or as an easy-to-take-along salve, which is what I've spent the last 24 hours doing. Hope this simple recipe inspires you to explore your plant neighbors, too!
Plantain Boo-Boo Sticks
& Salve Mini-Pots
For herbal supplies that I can't pluck from my backyard, I love using Mountain Rose Herbals products. I have no affiliation with them, just love them!
If you're into soothing bellyaches with tasty mocktails, this post's for YOU.
I could wax poetic about the tremendous benefits of eating bitter foods (there are seriously so many, but let's just leave it at, "It's very good for your entire GI tract to eat and drink bitter things."), and of drinking fermented vinegar (again, "It's very good."), but you'll probably be wanting to go straight to the recipe, eh?
If you're curious about why this works for a bellyache, feel free to reach out. But be prepared for a conversation in that case, because I really, really love talking bitters and vinegars.
Bitter Berry Belly Soother*
a Mocktail Recipe
1 cup filtered water
1/4 cup Aronia Berry Vinegar (available here), or any sweet-tasting vinegar
2 TBS maple syrup or agave nectar
2 droppers full Bitterless Marriage Bitters (available here), or any bitters formula
*This recipe was adapted from the Aronia Berry Punch created by KeepWell (and that recipe is equally delicious!).
About the Author
Sarah Ouano is a naturopathic doctor and writer. A fierce advocate for health equity and rights of the marginalized, she frequently writes about the intersection of naturopathic medicine and public health, throwing in personal anecdotes and tasty (and practical) recipes along the way.