My sweet friend, Heather, from Second Chance Farm, is writing this article to share her plantain salve recipe with y’all!
At the end of the post, I will share more of her homesteading articles that you will enjoy.
What is Plantain Leaf?
Plantain is one of the most useful weeds there is!
When most people hear “plantain”, they think of a banana like plant.
Often dismissed and treated as a weed, plantain is both edible and a medicinal herb.
Both broadleaf plantain, and narrow-leaf plantain, have been used for ages for natural remedies.
In fact, plantain leaf is the first medicinal plant that I experimented with when we moved to East Tennessee. It grows in abundance here in the south. It is easy to identify, and I was intrigued with the amount of uses that this one plant has.
Identifying Plantain Leaf
I think what surprises people the most is once they know what plantain leaf looks like, that they see it everywhere!
From cracks in concrete to their own backyard, this common weed is easily accessible for your herbal first aid kit.
This perennial produces greenish flowers that shoot up from the center of the plant, and the leaves have unmistakable vertical lines.
The leaves of plantain grow in a rose-like shape with the seeds shooting up from the center.
When searching for plantain leaf, be sure to look in areas that have not been sprayed. If you don’t not have access to any, then you can purchase dried plantain leaf online through private sellers on Etsy. My favorite source for all natural herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs.
It is best to follow a foraging book to help with identification. Here’s a popular one you can get on Amazon.
Plantain leaf can be harvested all season long. Depending on where you live, plantain could be harvested all year.
Plantain leaf is a relatively safe herb to try and forage and use if you are a first timer and new to medicinal plants. It is one of our favorites to forage because it grows all around our house and is easily identified and found.
What are the Uses & Benefits of Plantain Leaf?
Just when I think I have a good understanding of all that plantain leaf can be used for, I learn of yet another use!
Used for generations and many, many years, we have lost knowledge of many herbal medicinal plants like plantain leaf.
Herbs, such as plantain leaf, often have a handful of purposes and healing qualities. Store bought medicines, on the other hand, are typically intended for only one or a few uses.
Plantain leaf has antibacterial, antimicrobial, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties.
It can be used for a variety of common ailments, and is one of the best all purpose medicinal herbs to have on hand.
One of the most well known and effective uses of Plantain Leaf is as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, the plant contains several anti-inflammatory compounds; flavonoids, terpenoids, glycosides, and tannins.
When applied topically, plantain leaf can reduce pain as well as inflammation. Additionally, when this plant material is applied as a salve, the other ingredients add to the plantain’s soothing effect.
In addition to helping with the speed of healing wounds or cuts, plantain leaf has anti-infective properties.
Unlike many herbs, plantain leaf has drawing qualities that draw out toxins from skin and the body.
Plantain leaf is also known to aid in digestion. The seeds of the plant contain psyllium, which is a natural laxative.
A natural blood purifier, plantain leaf stimulates the liver to cleanse toxins out of your blood and body.
Plantain Leaf Natural Remedies:
- Stings (bee stings, wasp stings or other)
- Insect Bites (mosquito bites, chigger bites, or other bug bites)
- Wounds or minor cuts
- Rashes (including diaper rash and other skin irritations)
- Dry Skin
- Boost immune health
- Bladder infection
- Calming sunburn
- Poison ivy
- Cleanse toxins from blood
Ways to Use Plantain Leaf
Plantain leaf can be used in a variety of forms. When used as a herbal medicine for home remedies, it can be ingested or as a topical use.
In my experience, the most common plantain forms are salves and poultices.
Different ways to consume or use plantain leaf:
- Raw or cooked leaves
- Simple plantain salve
Recipe for Making Plantain Leaf Salve
This simple recipe for homemade plantain leaf salve only requires 3 ingredients and a few items that you may already have on hand.
What You’ll Need to Make Plantain Salve
- Carrier Oil of choice (olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, etc)
- Dried plantain leaves
- Mason jar
- Crockpot or double boiler
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Tins or small glass jars
Most homemade herbal salves have a shelf life of up to 1 year.
With the method described below, you are essentially making an infused oil of plantain leaf and adding the beeswax to simply thicken the oil into a salve.
DIY Plantain Salve Recipe:
- Pick fresh plantain leaves, cut into pieces and dry (either air dry for a few days or use a dehydrator).
- Stuff dried plantain leaves into a mason jar and fill with carrier oil until the leaves are covered. I usually end up with about 2 cups of dried plantain leaf and a little over 1 cup of oil.
- Place glass jar(s) in crock pot with 2-3” of water on warm for 24 hours. Be sure to place jar(s) on either a canning lid or a kitchen towel to protect the jars from direct heat. Some prefer to use a double boiler for this step, but I find the slow cooker easier to manage and walk away from.
- Once the 24 hour oil infusing is complete, pour oil through a strainer and/or cheesecloth to remove leaves and particles.
- Add beeswax (2 tbsp per 1 cup of oil) and return jar to slow cooker until beeswax melts.
- Stir well. Then, pour into tin or small glass jars, or a glass container, for use. Make sure to stir well or the final salve will be inconsistent between containers.
- Once cooled, add lid and store the finished salve.
You can easily add in other ingredients to your salve. Sometimes I like to add essential oils for fragrance and medicinal properties, such as lavender.
Optional Add ins:
- Essential oils (if you want to add scent)
- Vitamin E
Purchasing Plantain Salve
Heather from Second Chance Farm makes and sells their own plantain leaf salve. You can purchase it through our website.
Enjoy the process of learning about herbal remedies. It is an amazing way to grow your self sustainability, and your knowledge of the land around you. Ask experts in your area that you meet or find online through social media, they can be a huge help when getting started.
Invest in highly rated foraging books as well that can help you to identify what grows in your area and what their medicinal uses are.
Download apps such as Seek to assist with identification. The best way to get good at identifying plants is to practice. So get out there and get to foraging!
Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy: