Dr. Christopher’s KISS (Keep it Simple Student) really fits with this herb. Some of its most common uses are very straight forward and easy to make and apply. The following “formulas” probably are too simple to be classed formulas but they are important uses for Plantain.
Plantain is often used as a poultice. You will need to collect enough to cover the needed area. Mash it up and apply then cover with gauze or cotton cloth to keep it in place. You can also add slippery elm bark powder to form its own bandage. Make a fresh poultice as needed. Cayenne added to the poultice can assist to draw out any foreign objects in the flesh. If you are not where you can mash it up, no problem, chew it and apply. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale), self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) or yarrow can be added with the plantain leaves for cuts and abrasions.
As a syrup, plantain, is very good for easing throats. Simmer equal parts of honey and plantain leaf juice for twenty minutes. Store in a glass container. To make a fresh plantain tincture place 100 gms of finely chopped fresh leaves in 230 mls of 25% alcohol. Let sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and squeeze the plant matter using cheesecloth.Plantain oil can also be made with fresh herb. Collect the leaves after any dew has dried. Let them wilt for a day in the shade. Finely chop the herb and loosely pack in a jar. Cover with extra virgin olive oil. Put a lid on the jar and put it in a brown paper bag. Set the bag in the sun for two to six weeks. Strain.
*James Duke’s Burn Relief
Juice plantain leaves and apply to mild burns as needed for relief.
*James Duke’s Hair Rinse for Dandruff
Seep 3-4 TBSP dried Plantain in boiling water. Let cool and use.
*James Duke’s Plantain Sore Throat Tea
Seep 1 tsp dried Plantain in 1 cup boiling water until cool.
*Prairie Land Herbs Plantain Oil
Gently fill your glass container with fresh plantain leaves that have been lightly bruised. (If using dried plantain leaves only fill the jar ½ full). Cover the leaves with the oil of your choice, olive oil is great. Let it sit in the sun for several weeks. Strain and your oil is ready. Good to soften and heal any manner of skin conditions. Also great to add to other herbal salves or oils. To turn it into a salve add 1-2 oz. Of melted beeswax to the warmed infused oil. Stir until it completely combines then put into containers.
*Susan Wood’s Diaper Rash Heal
Use whole, clean, gently crushed fresh plantain leaves right on the diaper rash as a poultice. Leave on overnight.
*Children’s Mouth Infections
Boil 1 oz. of seed in 1 ½ pints of water and sweeten with honey to make a syrup.
*Michael Tierra’s Douche for Vagina Infections
Make a strong tea with plantain, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the mother (can use plan yogurt) to promote the acid balance. Sit in the bathtub or on the toilet. Hold the bag no more than two feet above the hips. The douche should be slowly inserted while it is still at body temperature and retained for 10 to 20 minutes, if possible. Note: Do not force it in, it can push the infection upward. Don’t douche if you are pregnant.
*Moore’s Plantain Juice for Mild Ulcers
Preserve the fresh juice of plantain with 25% vodka or 10 percent grain alcohol.
*As a Cold Macerate
To use it as a rinse, gargle or cataplasm: soak1.4 grams of the cut herb in 150 ml of distilled water for several hours. Stir it often.
*Dr. Christopher’s Diarrhea Formula
3 partsPlantain (Plantago major; P. lanceolata)
4 partsSilver weed (Potentilla anserina)
2 partsKnotgrass (Polygonum periscaria)
Preparation: Steep 1 oz. Of the mixture for 20 minutes in 1 pint of water, cover; strain and allow to cool until blood-warm.
Administration: Inject 1 TBSP or more three or four times daily and after each bowel movement.
*Dr. Christopher’s Scrofulous tumor, glandular, swellings, etc. (ointment)
3 oz.Plantain leaves (Plantago major; P. lanceolata)
6 oz.Fumitory herb (Fumaria officinalis)
3 oz.Yellow dock root (Rumex crispus)
12 oz.White resin
12 oz.Olive oil
Preparation: Simmer the ingredients slowly together for one hour, strain and stir while cooling; when cool place in jars and keep in a cool place.
Administration: Apply to the affected parts as needed.
*Dr. Christopher’s Piles Ointment
Simmer 2 oz. of the powdered herb or 4 oz. of fresh herb in one pint of olive, soybean safflower or peanut oil. Add beeswax to thicken and apply withsoft cotton belted to hold in place.
*Dr. Christopher’s Black Ointment
Equal parts of: chaparral, comfrey, red clover blossoms, pine tar, mullein, beeswax, lobelia, golden seal, marshmallow root, plantain, olive oil, mutton tallow, chickweed and poke root.
*Kurt King’s Burn Treatment in the Woods
Kurt King suggests for minor burns making a poultice from plantain, comfrey or even horsetail. Drink horsetail and comfrey tea, 3 to 4 cups a day.
For major burns in the woods make a poultice from plantain, comfrey, mullein, marshmallow and yarrow. Drink Horsetail, yarrow, plantain, mullein teas, at least 8-10 cups a day.
*John W. Keim’s Burn Treatment
For small burns spread the burn with Dr. Christopher’s Burn ointment, equal parts of raw honey, wheat germ oil and comfrey powder. Bandage with plantain leaves. Note: Dr. Christopher’s BFC can be used in place of the Burn ointment.
*John W. Keim’s Wound Treatment
Treat the wound with Dr. Christopher’s BFC. Cover with burdock leaves to start with, especially if there is dirt in the wound. Check it in 4 hours and throw leaves away. Apply fresh leaves. Alternate using burdock leaves and plantain leaves.
*Debra St. Claire’s Drawing Ointment
1 oz. Crushed Plantain leaves
1 oz. Powdered Comfrey root
4 oz. Olive oil
1/4 oz. Beeswax
4 drops tincture of Benzoin
Essential oil, if desired
Procedure: Measure oil into pot and bring temperature no higher than 80-100 degrees. Stir in herbs. Heat the mixture , uncovered for 2-48 hours. A dimmer controlled crock pot works best. Usually 12 hours is about right. Decide by how quickly the herbs lose their color and by the scent. First strain the herbs through a stainless steel strainer, then through cheesecloth. Clean the crock pot with a paper towel then add the herbal oil back in and gently heat. Grate the beeswax into a small saucepan and melt. Pour into the crock potand mix well. Test it by pouring a small amount onto a spoon then tip the spoon sideways and the salve should stick to it. When you have the thickness right add the Benzoin as a preservative and stir well. Put into clean jars.
*Herbs 2000 Green Drink
3 cups fresh plantain leaves
1 cup pure liquid honey
1 opaque glass bottle.
Crush the leaves in a food processor, drain and squeeze in cheesecloth. Combine 1 cup of the green juice with the honey and simmer for 10 minutes at low heat, stirring often. Let cool and pour into bottle. Take 1 spoonful at a time to treat cough or sore throat, anemia, fatigue or eczema.
*Alma Hutchens’ Help for Leg Pains
Dip plantain leaves in apple cider vinegar, let dry overnight and put inside your socks for the next day. Your leg pains will diminish.
Make an ointment of calendula, chickweed, Marshmallow root, comfrey root and plantain.
Combine in equal amounts with Hamamelis virginiana in a tea.
*Eastern European Gypsy Hemorrhoid Cream
Made from lard, plantain and ground ivy. Boil the ingredients and press it to get the power from the plants out. Let it cool and apply.
*Maori Hemorrhoid Treatment
Put the plantain plant in a pot of steaming water and hang the affected part over it.
Make a tea of equal parts of plantain, yarrow, cleavers (Gallium aparine), prickly ash bark (Xantho xyllium clava-herculis) calendula, and ginger root. This promotes healing by enhancing the blood circulation to the skin.
*For Urinary Tract Infections
Use equal parts of plantain and horsetail in tea. The plantain acts as an astringent and demulcent while the horsetail helps the connective tissues. This formula tones and heals the urinary tract.
Make a tea of Echinacea, Golden seal and plantain
*For a Decongestant tea use
Elderflower, peppermint, and Goldenrod or plantain
*For Long-Term Lung Support
Make a tea with equal parts of licorice root, will cherry bark, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), plantain, skullcap and elecampane (Inula helenium). Drink 3 to 4 cups a day.
Other Uses of Plantain
½ cup distilled witch hazel
½ cup distilled rose water
2 tsp. dried rose petals
2 tsp. dried calendula flowers
1 tsp dried comfrey leaf
1 tsp dried Plantain leaf
Procedure: Put the herbs in a pint jar, pour the liquids over and shake well. Put a lid on and let it seep for 2 weeks in a warm, dark area. Be sure to agitate the jar each day. Strain it through cheese cloth and bottleit.To use apply with a cotton cloth, cotton ball or your fingers after washing your face.
*Adapted from Janice Cox’s Foot Soak
“If my feet hurt, I can’t think.” Abraham Lincoln (Cox, p. 1)
2 quarts warm water
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup herbal or plain apple cider vinegar with the mother
1 TBSP fresh Calendula flowers
1 TBSP fresh Thyme leaves
1 TBSP fresh Plantain leaves
Essential oil drops of your choice
Procedure: Fill a large plastic pan or sink with warm water. Stir in the baking soda, vinegar and chopped herbs and essential oil. This will fizz. Soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry and massage with olive oil.
*Liquid Soap to heal the skin
1 cup Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap, plain or of your choice
3 TBSP dried crushed plantain
3 TBSP dried crushed Calendula
Shake well together and use to “scrub” the area. If you don’t want to scrub, make the herbs into a strong tea and mix with equal parts of Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soap.
*Common Plantain Soap (Antiseptic) from Gloria Edwards
1/4 cup glycerin
2 cups glycerin soap base (2 cups melted-melt over medium heat in a double boiler.
1/4 cup strained plantain juice/glycerin mixture or with 2 TBSP oil
Blend a handful of leaves with 1/4 cup glycerin and 1/8 cup water. Strain through the cheesecloth and add to the soap base. Stir until blended, pour in molds and cool.
The colors will vary from gold to camel depending on which family member you use.
*Itches: Blend 1 TBSP each of plantain leaves, calendula flowers and grindelia (Grindelia spp. Sometimes known as gum plant or gum weed a Southwest plant) leaves with 1 quarter tsp goldenseal powder. Pour one pint of boiling water over 1 TBSP of the powder blend, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Chill in a spray bottle and apply to raw, itchy, painful sores.
*Chris Wittmann’s Suggested Herbal Salve for Dogs and Cats
Goldenseal, comfrey, plantain, myrrh and red clover.
*Adapted from Chris Wittmann’s Herbal Eyewash for Dogs and Cats
Use 1 tsp each of dried eyebright herb, goldenseal root, chamomile flowers and plantain. Infuse them using a pint of boiling distilled water, let steep 15 minutes. Strain twice. Cover container and let cool to room temperature. Use clean 100% ball and wipe the outside of the eye with it. Use an eye dropper to place the solution (2 or 3 drops) directly into their eyes. Don’t touch the dropper to the eye (which is hard to accomplish with a squirming animal). Cover the remaining eyewash and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
*Treatment for Anal gland problems in dogs: rubbing their butt on the carpet
To prevent the problem give them a tea made of nettles (Urtica dioica) as a drink or mixed in their food.(2 oz of fresh chopped roots or 1 TBSP dried chopped roots in 2 ½ cups water. Simmer 2 minutes, then steep for 10 and strain.) You can also use nettle juice made from the tops of the plant. Keep it in the fridge. Add a third of a clove, chopped well. Make sure your dog gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. Mix 2 tsp of slippery elm to their most food to help them keep their bowels clean.
To treat the problem internally give 1 dropperful of calendula tincture and 1 dropperful of plantain tincture in the mouth every two to three hours. You may dilute them. Externally, apply to warm cotton, 1 part tincture of calendula and 1 part tincture plantain. Apply with pressure to the sore area for as long as the dog will allow or until the cloth as cooled, about 5 minutes. While holding the cloth to the sore area massage both sides of the spine moving towards the tail (do one side at a time).Apply this every two to three hours for at least 3 days, then just three times a day until healed. You can use a cream with will stick as it begins healing.
*Dogs and cats: Mary Wulf-Tilford and Gregory Tilfords Plantain juice
Use an electric juicer to juice the whole plant, even the roots. If you don’t have a juicer you will need to chop the plants as small as possible. Pack them loosely in your blender and add warm water to just cover the herb. Do not add boiling water, that will destroy the hydrolytic enzymes that have the antibacterial properties. Expect that you might find your blender blades tanged with the tough leaf fibers. Strain the liquid from both methods, bottle and put in the fridge. It will last for about 2 weeks in a very cold fridge. Uses-for internal problems of dogs feed 1 tsp for each 20 lbs of the dog’s weight, once or twice daily. For cats feed them up to a teaspoon twice daily. Give it to them before a meal and with as little added water as possible. If you can’t get it down them mix it with their food. Watch for allergies just like with people.
Sheep: Plantain reduces scouring (diarrhea caused by bacteria, worms or other parasites) and dags (the excrement that gets stuck on the back of the sheep).
Horses: Don’t normally eat plantain free choice but a handful of fresh leaves or even dried leaves mixed with their food with remove sand in the digestive tract, help with colic and other digestive problems. Also good externally on horses for the same problems that people use it for.
Using Plantain as a Food
You can harvest the young leaves before the flower stalk appears and add them to salads and soups but as the leaves mature they get more bitter and have thick stringy veins. Cooking makes the older leaves more edible, after cooking you can remove the tough fibers. Older leaves can be soaked in salt water before cooking to ease some of the bitterness and make them more tender. Another way would be to cook them in water, changing the water several times to remove the bitterness.Also finely chopping them will increase your ability to chew them. One way of cooking them is to use honey in the cooking water, honey helps with the bitterness and you can also drink the water after.
You can strip the seeds and eat them whole or grind them to add to other projects. If you eat them whole be sure you mix plenty of salvia with them, soak them first or drink water. Sprouted Plantain seeds are loaded with B vitamins. Leave the husks on as you eat them for an added bonus-a little laxative effect.
Young plantain leaves are good sauteed with garlic and other greens in olive oil. You can stir fry young leaves with mushrooms, chickweed, onions, and garlic then add nuts. Adding the young chopped greens to soup about 30 minutes before serving makes a great addition to the meal.Young plantain leaves can be steamed along with other greens, then a bit of olive oil and lemon juice poured on them. Top with dried herbs/spices of your choice.
*Elizabeth Merrell’s “Jello”
Blend fruit juice and fruit with psyllium husks,for a tasty and healthful “Jello”.Generally use about one tablespoon of psyllium husks per cup of liquids.If it is sour, add a bit of stevia. If using other plantago husks you will need to add a bit more. Just experiment and enjoy. Both sides of our family enjoy this treat!Here’s one recipe that is more exact: Use one 12 oz. can of 100% frozen juice concentrate and 2 cans of water. Stir in about 5 TBSP of psyllium husks. Fold in fruit of your choice. It needs to set a few hours. Does not need to be in the fridge to set.Great for camping!
2 cups plantain flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 TBSP worth of sweetener of your choice
2 eggs or egg replacer (ground flax seed is great)
3 TBSP vegetable oil, if desired
1 cup of “milk” of your choice
Mix well, add fruit if desired. Cook on hot griddle
*Hazelnut Plantain (I left the bacon out!)
1 ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup onion, finely chopped and cooked in olive oil
Garlic cloves, if desired
1 tsp salt
12 cups plantain leaves cut in strips
2 TBSP honey
½ lb. Hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 ½ cups apple juice or grape juice
2 TBSP vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After cooking the onions and garlic add the plantain leaves and toss until they are covered with the olive oil. Cover and cook over low for 15 minutes. Add the juice and vinegar, stock, salt and honey. Put in casserole dish with cover and bake in oven for 1 hour. Add the hazelnuts, cover again and bake for another hour. Check to make sure the liquid does not all cook away too fast (add more if needed). When greens are tender and the liquid absorbed, it is done. Season with freshly ground pepper and other herbs of your choice.
*Gardens Ablaze Lentil Soup with Plantain
1 cup dry green lentils
½ of an onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped young plantain leaves
1 clove of sliced garlic
1/4 cup of wild rice
1 cups of chicken soup broth
1 TBSP butter or olive oil
Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan and add the celery, carrots, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until heated through. Add the rest of the ingredients except the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for about 2 hours. Add the rice and cook for another 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
*Johnny Jumbalaya’s Plantain in Spicy Yoghurt Sauce
1 handful of plantain leaves
1 red chilli or pinch of powder
1 small onion sliced
1-2 tbsp yogurt, plain
butter or olive oil
Ground cumin, mustard
Cut the plantain leaves in strips across their width. Parboil the leaves for 2 to 3 minutes, drain, add fresh cold water and set aside. Cook onion gently in butter or oil, then stir in the spices and cook for another minute or two. (If using fresh chilli, cook with onion). Take off heat and stir in yogurt. Drain leaves and squeeze out excess water, Separate leaves and add to yogurt sauce. Add a pinch of salt, if needed and place the pan back on low heat. Cook another 4 to 5 minutes at a very gentle simmer, add fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve
As can be seen by the wide variety of plantain “recipes” this herb can take many roles. In formulas it can be the principal herb that will provide the needed effect. It can also stand alone. As a supporting herb it will strengthen the effect of the principal herb and often add an additional effect of its own. It also is used as a balancing herb (one that it was called on often for in the 1500s by the “chemical” surgeons) to ease the effects of other herbs.
Plantain is often combined with the following herbs: calendula, chickweed, marshmallow, comfrey, peppermint, goldenseal, burdock, red clover, chamomile flowers, and slippery elm.Sometimes it is combined with Elder flower, goldenrod, Balm of Gilead, Salvia off ,alfalfa, horsetail, oat straw, and rose hips. It has been combined with grapefruit seed extract, white oak bark and cloves in natural toothpastes. In formulas for the lymph glands you might find it combined with additional herbs such as mullein leaves, bayberry root bark, echinacea root, yarrow flowers, garlic and lobelia herb. Plantain is definitely one to place on a list of the 10 most important herbs.