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An herb so common that it is usually considered to be a weed, the humble plantain offers astringent, antimicrobial, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory benefits, among many others. All 200 or so plantain species offer similar benefits, and all have been used to treat wounds, insect bites, and other minor ailments since ancient times.
Parts Used: Leaves
Precautions: Plantain is generally considered safe. Be sure to wildcraft only in areas where no herbicide, pesticide, or chemical runoff is present.
Identifying/Growing: Plantain has elongated oval leaves with well-defined ribs. At maturity, slender spikes emerge from the tops of the plants and bear tiny flowers, often in shades of white or yellow. If you can’t find plantain growing wild, you can order seeds online and plant them in fall or spring in an area with moist soil. Treat your plantain to plenty of water and feed it well with organic compost, and you’ll be rewarded with large plants that provide plenty of natural medicine. Once plantain takes root in your garden, it should return year after year.