Week two of my herbology series! Week one was dandelions. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how important research is for anyone interested in getting involved in foraging and herbology. Please, dive deep into research and make sure sure you have several resources and verified that you are harvesting the correct thing.
Today I’ll be covering the plantain plant. No, not the banana like fruit, but the weed that is nearly as common as the dandelion but isn’t as obvious.
Plantain, another common yard weed, comes in two varieties. The common variety has wider leaves and dies back during the winter. The English plantain has longer, thinner leaves and can be found when the snow recedes with dry, papery leaves. Don’t harvest the latter until the new leaves emerge in the spring.
When attempting to identify the English variety of plantain from other common weeds, look for deep lines that run the length of the leaf and can be very clearly seen defined on both sides of the leaf.
Plantain leaves can be used as poultices, washes, and salves for a number of skin conditions as well as in a tea for internal issues. The roots can also be made into a tincture for digestive and respiratory issues.
The root is also said to be used as anti-venom for rattlesnake bites, but I have not personally done much research into this.
Next week, I’ll explore the wide world of chickweed!