H E R B S D A Y T H U R S D A Y
Each Thursday we take a look at the magical properties of different herbs & how we can use them to enhance our lives. Today we are going to be looking at the magical properties of Plantago.
Solar system: Venus
History and Folklore
Plantago seeds are often found in grain seeds and that is how they have spread all over the world. It was called “White man’s footprint” by Native Americans because it sprouted up wherever European settlers had spent any amount of time. It was also called “Soldier’s herb” due to its use as a field dressing.
The “waybread” mentioned in the Nine herbs charm of Wodin or Odin is believed to be Plantago.
Plantago likes full sun. Other than that, it’s not very picky.
Harvesting & Storage
Leaves should be used fresh if at all possible. Select young, tender leaves whether you are using fresh or drying for tea. If you’re cooking it, you may wish to remove the sinewy veins.
It can also be used in any work to enhance the effect of other herbs.
Plantago is rumoured to have an expectorant effect on the lungs and the tea is recommended for people who are trying to quit smoking as well as for people suffering from lung complaints.
People who take blood thinners or who are at risk for blood clots should never take Plantago internally, not as a vegetable or a tea, but can use it externally.
Plantago can be shredded or chewed and applied to insect bites, poison ivy and other skin irritations for quick relief. It can also be added to a poultice.
The leaves are edible but tough and stringy. Young leaves are preferred as they are more tender. They may be prepared like spinach. Dried, they make a good tea.
Additional Notes and Cautions
Plantago may be used in place of comfrey in all herbal preparations, particularly for those with liver issues. It is a safer alternative and has similar properties.
Although Plantago is used for treating skin irritations, some people get contact dermatitis from it. Use caution.
As Plantago is a coagulant, those who are taking blood thinners or who are at risk for blood clots should not use it internally.