Plantain: One of the most important medicinal plants that is known to mankind, and it literally grows everywhere.
A healthy, hardy weed, You’re bound to find at least one species in your area.
From it’s properties as an astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-histamine, to it’s rather pleasant presence in a meal, it is one of the planet’s most important plants.
It has a nutritional profile similar to dandelion — that is, loaded with iron & other important vitamins and minerals. The leaves are tastiest when small and tender (a nutty, asparagus-like flavor), usually in the spring, but whenever new shoots appear.
Bigger leaves are edible but bitter and fibrous, so harvest young and preserve for later use.
Some confusion comes into play when you realize plantain shares its name with something completely different: the banana-like plantain. Keep this in mind when doing research and looking for awesome recipes on the internet 😉
The Two Primary Plantain Species
Preferred for medicinal purposes, such as teas, salves, and poultices, and other remedies.
Primarily used more for culinary purposes.
Where to Find It
Plantain can be found growing throughout Ontario and most of North America, as well as in Europe and Asia in meadows, pastures, lawns, roadsides and gardens.
How to Use
- Use it to heal: Make a poultice of the leaves by chewing them a bit, then applying to a wound, rash or insect bite is extremely effective at helping to heal the affected area.
- Add the plant’s chopped leaves to smoothies
- Pan-fry young leaves in olive oil for just a few seconds to bring out this taste.
- The longer, darker/browner shoots can also be prepared as above, but the inner stem is too fibrous, so you will need to place the shoot in your mouth, clench with your teeth, and quickly pull out the stem.
Share your favorite recipes & uses below in the comments!!