This outstanding display of the “weed” plantain is clustered around the bird bath in my Square Foot Garden. I thought it especially appropriate that the plant grew in the garden beds. I have let several patches of plantain grow each year into large sized plants. I don’t consider it a weed at all. Plantain is an edible weed. It is also medicinal and can alleviate the itch of poison ivy or the pain of a bee sting. To use plantain for stings and rashes, chew it for a bit and apply to the sore or itchy spot.
Plantain can also be eaten raw, in a salad, when the leaves are young and small. It can also be cooked. For more information check out this terrific site on “Eat the Weeds” blog by Green Deane: Eat the Weeds/Plantain
I also make a salve for the skin using plantain. It is very easy. I lightly simmer water and heat olive oil and plantain leaves in a baby food jar. I don’t have a specific measurement, just a half inch of oil or so, and some chopped plantain leaves. I heat for about an hour or ninety minutes, and let the leaves sit in the oil for about 24 hours before straining out. This can also be stored in the fridge for a longer lasting salve. Even if it hardens, as soon as it touches your skin it melts right in.
I recently read to get the best oil out of herbs and other plants pick them and let them set for about twenty-four hours. This gives you maximum essential oils on the surface of the leaves or flowers.
I have blogged about using plantain in the past, but a good tip is always worthwhile to bring to the “surface” of the blog again. Oftentimes the best ideas get buried in the archives.