Friday, May 22, 2015

Medicine in your grass

A few months ago, my mother-in-law showed me a little concoction she made. She explained that she was paying over $30 a bottle for a medicinal herb called "Plantain" (not large bananas) which helped greatly with her asthma and allergies. My father-in-law looked at the ingredients and realized that they were growing that very herb in their grass. And you know what, so are you.

Plantain is a common weed. You probably try every summer to get rid of it as it invades your lawn. When you were a little kid you would shoot it's blooms at your siblings during a picnic or lounging in the grass. This plant has been under my feet all my life and I had no idea that I was treading on a remedy for pretty much everything!

There are two types of plaintain that we have noticed in our lawn. One is Common Plantain which has shorter round leaves. 

The other type is English Plaintain which my mother-in-law says is more potent and a little better. This one has long, slender leaves. 

Getting back to the concoction... it was simple. My mother-in-law juiced the leaves of the English Plaintain that she harvested from her lawn and then added the juice to some raw honey. Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties so the Plaintain juice won't spoil, rot or mold. She kept it in the fridge and gave herself a spoonful a day, just like she did with her expensive supplement that she no longer needs to buy. 

She swears by Plaintain as she says it opens up her bronchials and her lungs so she can breathe fully and well. She said she hadn't had any allergy issues either since taking it. 

According to, Plaintain has many uses:

    "Useful remedy for cough irritations and hoarseness and for gastritis and enteritis.  Good for all respiratory problems, bronchitis, asthma, especially those involving mucous congestion.  Used for diarrhea, nosebleed, kidney and bladder trouble, jaundice, headache, infections, hepatitis, spermatorrhea, loss of sexual power, promotes fertility, bedwetting, sciatica, tuberculosis, syphilis, snakebites, worms, toothache, dropsy, prevent blood poisoning, excessive menses, and inflamed eyes.  A decoction of the dried leaves promotes the coagulation of  blood.  The fresh juice, pressed from the whole plant, is helpful for chronic catarrhal problems, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, gastro-intestinal ailments, and worms.  Externally, the fresh leaves are crushed for application to erysipelas, eczema, burns, ringworms, tetters, shingles, scalds, wounds, running sores, ulcers, cuts, scratches, boils, tumors, insect bites even hemorrhoids.  Widely used as a laxative, and combats inflammation.
    If stung by insects, immediately rub some crushed English plantain leaves into the area around the sites of the stings, this will prevent swelling and itching.  English plantain grows everywhere and is easily spotted."
I have no idea if can do all that it claims, but this website also provided some helpful ways to take and use the herb so you can test it out for yourself.

Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. leaves in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes.  Take 1 cup a day.
Decoction: boil 2 oz. dried leaves in 1/2 qt. water.  Helps coagulate blood.
Juice: take 1 tbsp. in water or milk or mixed with 1 tbsp. honey, 3 times a day.
Ointment: for hemorrhoids, boil 2 oz. of the plant in 1 pint soybean or peanut oil.

I made a medicinal herb garden this spring and went ahead and dug up the English Plaintain from my yard and started it growing in the garden. It has flourished! The photo you saw above is what it looks like after being fertilized and not mowed. Yours will probably look more like this:

Whether you are in the market for a home remedy or not, you have to admit that it is pretty miraculous that an herb like this is growing right under our toes. 

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