Plantain: The Ugly Little Edible ‘Weed’ That Heals And Soothes by: Tricia Drevets for Off the Grid News
If you do not chemically treat your yard, chances are very good that you have some plantain growing there. Plantain – not to be confused with the banana-like fruit of the same name – is a common weed found throughout North America.
Native Americans have called plantain “Whiteman’s Foot” because it seems to spring up everywhere. Although many consider plantain to be a noxious weed, it has been used for centuries by many cultures throughout the world, with the Saxons calling it one of their nine sacred herbs.
You can recognize plantain as a low, short plant with wide and round leaves that have parallel veins. There are many photos and videos online to help you identify plantain. What you may not know is that it is a very useful plant. In fact, it contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. So, instead of yanking out these common weeds in frustration, you can learn to cultivate them for all kinds of purposes.
Here are some common uses for plantain:
Plantain Leaves In a salad
Plantain leaves are completely edible, and they taste a little like spinach. Plantain is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, beta-carotene and calcium and is milder tasting when the leaves are small. Harvest young leaves for best taste. You can eat them raw in salads or sautéed with some olive oil and garlic.
As a tea
Dry, crush and then steep plantain leaves in steaming water to make a nourishing tea. Plantain tea is known to help to alleviate heartburn and indigestion in addition to it being an excellent source of iron and vitamins.
Plantain tea also soothes sore throats and coughs due to colds and flu. It helps clear phlegm from the lungs and nasal passages. You also can gargle with plantain tea to help heal and prevent mouth sores.