Plantago rugelii

Plantago rugelii

Highlighting a key herb in The Healer Balm

Plantago rugelii, P. major, P. lanceolata, Plantaginaceae

Plantain is ubiquitous in central and eastern North America. There are 3 species of the Plantago genus that look similar and are used interchangeably. Plantago rugelli is native to North America whereas P. major & P. lancelota are introduced and naturalized.
Read on to learn about this little leaf's big medicine.
Plantain is a unique herb in that it contains both astringent and mucilaginous properties. This makes it wonderful for healing irritated mucous membranes - the astringent properties tone the tissues while the mucilaginous properties soothe them. Internally, this makes plantain a key herb in tea blends for gut healing or digestive system support. Externally, plantain is a key ingredient in many balms for soothing and healing skin tissue.
A few of my favorite ways to work with Plantain:
  1. For bee stings and splinters in the field - I never have to look far to find a plantain growing and when I do, I crush it up and apply it to the sting or splinter. Usually, within a minute there is relief. For stubborn splinters I will pack a bandage with crushed plantain leaf and sleep on it. In the morning, the splinter should come out easily.
  2. Infused in oil to soothe and tone the skin.
  3. In herbal tea recipes designed to support and soothe the respiratory and digestive systems.

Harvest: Leaves anytime, but the most potent harvest is all aerial parts when the flower stalk has just shot up. Dry for tea or tincture. This is a first-aid plant I often use fresh in the field. Plantain loves to grow in compacted soil and thus is found in lawns, walkways, sidewalk cracks, roadsides, garden paths, and so on. It is an annual plant that forms a basal rosette of bright green leaves with characteristic parallel veins and a plain flower stalk, only growing a few inches tall and often in groups.


Medicine Making: I mostly work with dried Plantain leaf & flower. 

Plantain oil: Dried Plantain leaf & flower infused in oil at a 1:4 ratio. The oil comes out a beautiful green!

Plantain Tincture: Dried leaf (1:5, 50% alcohol), Fresh leaf (1:2, 95% alcohol)
Plantain Tea: Dry and add to digestive system support teas. Refer to the Medicine Making section of this post for a gut soothing herbal tea that includes Plantain.
Thanks for reading! Check out The Healer Balm to experience Plantain's herbal properties for yourself.

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