Plantain is one of the first herbs that I began to use regularily. I mostly used it for its external purposes as natures most amazing bandaid, and if you know me you have probably been instructed to chew up a leaf and put it on your affected area. I have searched high and low for this wonderful remedy that seems to be everywhere you look until your friend has burnt his foot in the campfire and you go searching in the dark. Or another friend has been eaten alive by mosquitos and only realizes it after you return home from a day on the lake and many beverages... then you again must go searching in the dark for this 'weed' that loves to grow in gravely disturbed areas. There are two different varieties, the one I tend to turn to the most is the round leaf plantain that I found in abundance this evening and in quite nice condition. It has flat round leafs that grow close to the ground as you can see here:
There is another variety called Lance Leaf Plantain and it just as useful, features the same type of flower/shoot but has long lance shaped leaves, I'll try to update with a picture when I can. Often found at the edges of driveways and paths this leaf is more then just a bandaid, it also has drawing properties that will actually draw out any poisons that may be stored in the wound it is applied too, now here is where it gets interesting; to use simply pluck a clean leaf and chew it up, it will react with your saliva and in the masication process becomes a wonderful medicine, now apply the chewed up mess to the wound. I often suggest that people treat themselves and just offer the advice, but it truly works like a miracle. It will suck all of the poison out of a bug bit, bee sting or any type of infection from a wound leaving it itch free and in perfect healing condition once it naturally dries up and falls off. So simple!
Here is a great patch I found today. I was amazed, usually when I have needed it I can only find a couple piddly leaves that are all dusty, and I am sure that when I need them again that will be the case, but I did pick some to make a salve and also they are highly nutritious. Plantain will work to soothe and heal the digestive tract, and the urinary tract helping to prevent infections. They are rich in vitamins A and C and calcium so it is great added to an infusion/tea, smoothie, juice or even a salad although the leaves can get tough as they get older. In fact the leaves also have a strong fibres that can be used as rope or fishing line in a survival situation. Either way internally and externally it is a great addition to your herbal knowledge and tool kit.