Monday, October 12, 2015

The World’s #1 Best Free Medicine? A Common Weed!

Announcing a free sample of the World’s #1 Medicine!  And all we need to do is bend over and pick it up.  What is it?  It’s a common weed in our yards and city sidewalks.  It’s called Plantago (aka, the PLANTAINnot the banana).  

Broad Leaf Plantain
That’s right folks.  That 'weed' we’ve been spraying with toxic chemicals and pugnaciously pulling out of our lawns for years is, in fact, a fantastic medicine for all kinds of ailments.  And chances are that your doctor has no idea it even exists. 

That’s our wacky world for you.  Where a common plant, that can relieve many common ailments for free, is virtually unknown. 

How did I find out about it?  Back in 2010 I decided that it would be fun to start a ‘collaborative’ meetup to learn about wild edible plants.  We joyfully call ourselves The Wild Foodies of Philly (  We soon learned that Plantains are a common wild edible (the young leaves and green seeds taste like mushrooms) and found all over the globe. 

But Plantains have a wide range of medicinal properties, as well.   

Narrow Leaf Plantain
It's seeds have long been used in commercial laxatives and dietary fiber products, while hikers and foragers use the leaves mainly for bug bites and scrapes.

However, the Plantain is a much bigger deal than that.  Plantain is a very effective antibiotic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, antitoxin, coagulant, expectorant, and healer of wounds and burns, etc.. 

Basically, the Plantain is great for lots of health issues, both internally and externally.  There are two varieties, the broad leaf and narrow leaf, and I’m not aware of a big difference between the two. 

However, there are some cautions regarding the use of Plantains.  For instance, people on blood thinners may not want to ingest a lot of plantain on a regular basis, as it is a coagulant.  It also can be very drying, which is another reason I don’t overuse it, either by drinking plantain water or applying it to my skin.  

I started experimenting with Plantain a few years ago, not only for my family's ailments, but also for other personal and household uses.  On the health front, I read online and found from first-hand experience that Plantain is very effective for diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, sore throats, swollen glands, colds, cuts, burns, nose bleeds, and nail fungus.  

For general use, I make ‘Plantain water’ to sip or apply externally.  I take about a square inch of a leaf and a cup of water, put in a blender (or you can mash it), and then sieve out the fiber.  I make it stronger or weaker depending on the situation.  

In addition to using it medicinally, I also add the Plantain water to my bath to wash my skin and hair.  That’s all I normally use, no soaps or oils.  Again, plantain can be drying to the skin, so a little bit goes a long way. 

Because Plantain has antibiotic/antiseptic properties, I thought it would also work for my laundry and sometimes stinky clothes (those smells can be due to bacteria buildup on the fibers).  I started using it for my laundry in both the wash and rinse cycles. That’s when I found out that Plantain water makes a great clothes softener, particularly for the sweaters that I knit.  (For detergent I use a teaspoon of buckwheat or rice flour in a cup of water.)

I’ve used Plantain water to wash my dishes, plus you can braid the fibers of the Plantain and make a sort of very thin twine. I’m not sure what that’s good for, but it’s interesting.  Frankly, I'm always experimenting with all kinds of foods and plants for personal and household use. 

Anyway, Plantain can be easily dried and stored for year-round use, though I’m not sure how that affects its medicinal effectiveness. I’ll find out this winter. That said, the Plantain is usually growing for most of the year, particularly the narrow leaf variety, although it does shrink back a lot in the cold weather.

So, there you have it.  The best things in life are free.  Now go out and Get Sensical!  Get to know our common and caring Plantain - The World’s #1 Medicine!


  1. Hi. Another use of plantain is for tooth pain. I had a bad tooth, and was hoping to save it. Meanwhile it hurt a lot. I read online that plantain helped, so I tried it. It did not take all the pain away, but it did take most of the pain away. It just calmed the whole tooth area down. I just picked a few fresh leaves and mushed them up with a mortar, and put the paste around the tooth area. I was so grateful for the pain relief! I told my dentist, but he was not interested.

    1. Thanks for the additional info on Plantain and dental woes. Speaking of things things that begin with the letter "d", I also use it on my dogs, Scooter and Archie, particularly where they get flea bites and any other scrapes. It's also anti-inflammatory. I just used it today in a bath for Scooter who has a sore leg joint due to an injury. And I've used it myself both internally and externally for swollen glands. Anyway, the list goes on and on. Spread the word.

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