Plantain, the weed, not the small banana-type fruit, came from the settlers who first came to America. This small, medicinal, nutritive, magickal plant grew in the paths of the settlers, following them to their colonies. The Native Americans noticed this and nicknamed the weed “White Man’s Foot” The American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “Whereso’er the tread beneath them springs a flower unknown among us; Springs the white-man’s foot in blossom” The Native Americans discovered the healing and magickal powers of this plant and named it “Life Medicine”. Even earlier in time, the Ancient Saxons called it “Mother of Herbs” and considered it one of their 9 sacred herbs. The plant that many try to kill with toxins can actually benefit them in so many ways.
As a medicine Plantain is cooling, moistening, constricting and tightening. It has a earthy taste with just a little bitterness. It’s in the Plantaginaceae Family. Its herbal actions are many; anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, antibiotic, antiseptic, antivenomous, decongestant, demulcent, drawing, just to name a few.
Due to plantain bio-film disrupting abilities, it’s great for antibiotic resistant infections, when combined with other antimicrobial herbs, it’s a super power not to be messed with. It’s a vulnerary which means it promotes cell growth which promote and speeds up wound healing, great for the skin and digestive tract. When used as a gargle, plantain treats gingivitis and dental abscesses due to it’s powerful ability to draw out. If you have a splinter too deep to remove, Plantain can help bring the splinter to the surface. It removes toxins from the body and has been used as an alternative blood purifier and remedy for blood poisoning. Plantain can help hangover recovery by stimulating and cleaning the liver. Other issues it helps are poor digestion and assimilation, hepatitis, jaundice, skin eruptions and explosive, easily agitated personalities (too much heat in the body).
Plantain is commonly wildcrafted as it’s easily found everywhere. Wildcrafting only takes place in nature spaces that are unspoiled by humans, not near neighborhoods, roads, factories, where the is chemical run off, cities or anywhere humans gather and spoil the natural state of a space. Avoiding chemicals and poisons is of high importance and is done without exception. No one wants that stuff in their medicine or their food. Herbalists use this amazing plant medicine in salves, poultices, oils, teas, tinctures, lotions and in food. The seeds, root and leafs are all medicinal and edible. The seeds grow on top of the stalk are called psyllium seeds and are the active ingredient in Metamucil because of their laxative effect. Plantain is also used as a remedy for poison ivy, snake bites and mad dog bites. It’s soothing to the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract and can treat a wide variety of gut problems.
Plantain is a magickal herb of protection. When hung from the windows or doors of your home or in you car, it protects against evil spirits which makes it great for mojo bags, talismans and sachets. When put in shoes on a long walk, it can increase your physical stamina. Those who do spells of protection often use this magickal herb.
Plantain is a Perennial with elongated, oval leaves that have ribs. If left to mature, they grow a long, narrow spike that has tiny white or yellow flowers. They are extremely easily grown from their seeds which are harvested from the narrow spike. Once planted, it’s easy to grow and will come back every year. It’s common among gardens, lawns and almost anywhere humans live. It’s Scientific name is Plantago major.
The most obvious medicinal and magickal herbs are just under our noses, our shoes, our car tires and cut down when we mow. Medicine doesn’t have to be expensive and neither do magickal herbs. I’ve only begun a discussion about Plantain here. There’s so much to know. Do some research, you’ll love what you find. Do you have any great resources or some info to share? Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Legal Stuff: The statements made here are not a substitute for the advice of your health, wellness and/or herbal professional.
Resources: The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders, Farmed and Foraged Herbal Remedies and Recipes – Abby Artemisa p109; The Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients – Lexa Rosean p. 221; Herbal Medicine for Beginners – Katja Swift and Ryn Midura p106-107, themagickkitchen.com/5-common-weeds-and-their-magickal/, Herbal Medicine Natural Remedies – Anne Kennedy p.210; The Modern Herbal Dispensatory, A Medicine Making Guide – Thomas Wasley, Steven Horne p. 285 – 286, Rosemary Gladstar’s Medidinal Herva A Beginner’s Guide – Rosemary Gladstar p. 188-190