From plantain weed to the chicken of the woods, you know that gathering your own food is a useful skill that everyone should have.
But when you look out into your yard and see weeds, we know you can’t help but wonder if they’re useful at all.
If you happen to have a lot of plantain weed outside, you might be able to get some real use out of it. So let’s dive right into your first question: What is a plantain weed?
What Is Plantain Weed?
Plantain weed is a type of plant that has both culinary and medicinal uses. It’s native to Europe and parts of Asia and is relevantly easy to cultivate at home yourself.
Plantain weed has several different types of edible variations too! This includes blackseed, bracted, blond, buck-horn, Chinese, narrowleaf, and woolly plantain.
How to identify plantain weed
When gathering plantain weed yourself, it’s always good to have a guidebook to make sure you don’t gather the wrong plant. Always double-check your plants before consumption.
Plantain weed grows low to the ground and has medium-sized green leaves that are oval and wrinkled. You might see stalks that are tall, thin, and grow very small flowers from the middle of the leaves.
They’re perennials plants and commonly sprout in mid-spring.
What is plantain weed used for?
Plantain weed can be used to decrease inflammation, support digestive health, and aid in the healing of wounds.
Keep in mind that most medicinal research has been done on animals, such as rats, and not humans.
The majority of healthy adults can consume plantain weed cooked or raw, but that does not mean that they are completely free of side effects.
Plantain supplements can cause nausea, diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, and some mild skin reactions. While the fiber in this plant may cause gas, bloating, and mild digestive issues.
How to cultivate plantain weed yourself
Chances are that you already have plantain weed growing in your backyard, but just in case you don’t, we’ll teach you how to grow it yourself.
It’s very easy to grow yourself. Start with keeping the soil that you plant your plantain weed seeds in moist until they sprout.
- Plantain flowers are shaped like small green cabbage heads.
- Common plantain grows as a perennial in USDA zones 3-9, reaching a height of 12 inches.
- Regular plantain will self-seek easily by dropping seeds and forming new plantain herbs the following spring.
- Plantain is a perennial herb plant known for its leaf value. The leaves and leaf juices are said to have medicinal...
- English plantain is an 18 - 24 inch tall perennial plant growing in USDA zones 4 - 8.
- Plantain grows best in full sunlight and a mesic to dry soil that is somewhat heavy and contains clay.
Once they pop up, they should grow just fine all on their own, and all you really need to do is water them occasionally.
Then as far as harvesting goes, you can collect leaves from plantain weed at any stage. All you have to do is gently pull the leaf until it separates from the root.
If you’ve got a few leaves on your hands and you’re looking for fun ways to eat them, we’ve got a few recipes that might come in handy.
You can always toss young leaves into a green salad, but just in case you want to switch it up, we’ve gathered a few plantain recipes for you.
Whether you love soup or you love sautéed veggies, these recipes are perfect for any time of year!
We’ll begin with something simple: sautéed plantain!
First, you’ll want to blanch the leaves for roughly four minutes and then immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain the leaves so they’re ready for when your pan is prepared.
Add a couple of tablespoons of either olive oil or butter to your pan, then toss the leaves in and cook over medium heat for a minute or two.
After that, they’re done, and you can add them anywhere you would put sautéed veggies!
This next recipe makes a great light lunch, and is so easy to make, too.
Take two cups of plantain leaves and cut them into julienne strips. Then take four cups of either beef or chicken broth and bring it to a boil.
Add your leaves along with the other ingredients of your choice! Choose from noodles, veggies, and even meat!
Keep a close eye on your soup, and serve when everything has fully cooked. Plantain weed leaves don’t take long to cook, only four minutes, so make sure to add them last.
Other Plantain Weed Goods
Do you prefer to make homemade remedies with what you forage and grow rather than cook with it? That’s great because there are so many things to do with plantain weed.
From infused oil to a plantain poultice, these are some of the best ways to get the most out of plantain weed.
Plantain infused vinegar
We’ll begin with a plantain-infused vinegar used to rinse off flaky, itchy scalps. It can also be used as a treatment for bug bites.
To make it, simply take a canning jar and fill it halfway with plantain leaves, pour apple cider vinegar over them, and then close up the jar with a non-metallic lid.
Allow it to sit for a week (or two) in a cool, dark place where it will be directly out of sunlight. Store your plantain-infused vinegar in a glass container, and use it for up to a year!
To use it on bug bites, dilute your vinegar with an equal part of witch hazel, then simply dab onto bites.
And to use it in your hair, dilute it with an equal part of water, mix well, and then pour over your hair after shampooing. It’s that easy to relieve an itchy scalp.
Plantain infused oil
Another handy infusion to keep around is plantain-infused oil. This oil can be used in so many things, too. From lotions to creams to soaps, you’ll have a hard time finding something you can’t do with it.
Get started by filling up a canning jar halfway with dried and crumped plantain leaves, and then cover them with twice as much carrier oil of your choice.
Your oil should meet the top of the jar.
Now, you have three options as far as infusion goes.
The first, fastest method, is to set the uncovered jar in a small saucepan with a couple of inches of water in it. Then heat it over a low burner for a couple of hours. Strain once it’s off of the heat.
Your second option is to set your jar of leaves and oil in a sunny windowsill and leave it there for about a week to help the infusion along.
And finally, you can go the traditional route. Put a cap on the jar and leave it in a cabinet for between four and six weeks. Shake it occasionally, and then strain it once the weeks have passed.
After your oil has been strained, you can store it for from nine months to a year.
Everyone should know how to create a poultice if some kind. Because if you love to be outdoors, you’re probably going to get little scrapes and bug bites here and there.
This is a great way to treat tiny injuries, and to get started, you only need some plantain leaves.
What you’re going to do is make a spit poultice. Pop a leaf in your mouth, chew it up, and spit it back out to place it on your injury. Then hold the poultice in place with a piece of fabric or your fingers.
Then leave the poultice there until your scrape or bite feels better or when you feel you need to apply a new poultice.
Plantain lip repair
Do you have dry, sensitive lips? Does it seem like no matter what you try, they’re always chapped and sore? Try making your own lip repair.
Begin by gathering up your ingredients
- 2 ounces of plantain infused oil
- 0.5 ounces of castor oil
- 0.5 ounce of mango, cocoa, shea, or kokum butter
- 10 to 12 lip balm tins
- 0.5 ounces of beeswax.
Once you have everything, melt your oils, beeswax, and butter together in a double broiler.
Then once everything is melted and melded together, pour them into your lip balm tins and allow them to cool before using.
Give your brand new lip balm a try and see what the results are for you!
Lavender plantain bath salts
If you need a relaxing bath, you should make your own bath salts. It’s a fun, cheap way to spice up your bath, and they’re so easy to use, too.
To make these you will need, of course, lavender leaves, plantain leaves, Epsom salt, and a miniature food processor.
Blend together 1/4 cup of chopped lavender and plantain leaves with 3/4 cup of Epsom salt in your food processor, and then spread out your salts on a layer of wax paper.
Allow it to air dry for a day or two, and once your salts are dry, store them in tightly closed glass jars. You can store them for between six to nine months.
To use them, pour some of your bath salts in a cotton bag (like an old clean sock), tie it up, and toss it in your bath with warm water.
Then you can pop in for a soak and enjoy.
Plantain lotion bars
Lotion bars are fun and easy to make, and crafting them yourself out of plantain weed that you grew in your own backyard makes it even better.
All you need is plantain-infused oil, shea, cocoa, or mango butter, beeswax, a heatproof canning jar, and heatproof silicone molds.
Take 1/4 cup of plantain-infused oil, 1/4 cup of shea, mango, or cocoa butter, and 1/4 cup of beeswax and put it in a heatproof canning jar.
Then set your jar in a saucepan with an inch or two of water in it. Turn the heat on medium-low and continue to heat everything until it’s all melted.
You can also add a couple of drops of essential oil if you’d like, but that’s completely optional.
Once your ingredients have all melted, pour the mixture into your heatproof silicone molds. Then allow them to cool and harden, and use them to moisturize dried-out hands and heels.
If you or your teens often get breakouts or have acne, you might want to try making and using your own plantain tincture.
To make it, take one part of freshly picked plantain leaves and two parts of vodka. You’ll want to combine your two ingredients in a canning jar and then store it away.
Leave the jar in a dark place for between four and six weeks, and then strain. You can use it for up to one year, given it’s kept out of heat and direct sunlight.
Herbal plantain bath bags
This ties directly in with your bath salts — homemade herbal plantain bath bags!
Take your favorite dried herbs, like lavender, roses, and plantain leaves, for example. Then crumple them slightly and place them in a cotton bag.
The best part about these bags is that you can essentially make them up as you go along.
You can add oatmeal, Epsom salt, or even sea salt. Feel free to get creative and tailor them to your personal needs.
It’s Plantain to See
Now you know exactly what to do with plantain weed, from healing minor wounds to making your own lotion.
We hope the plantain weed that you grow gives you everything you need as the seasons come and go, and the goods you make with it are exactly what you need, too!
What do you do with plantain weed? Do you have any tips or advice for making plantain weed goods? Leave us a comment down below and let us know! We’re always looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
Mady Oswald is an author and freelance writer in both realism and fiction, with a love for baking and animals.
Last update on 2022-05-17 at 20:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API