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Plantain - A Prolific 1st Aid Herb

Now that we’re in the heart of summer, let’s take a look at a great first aid herb that will come in handy for all those outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, playing sports, gardening, etc. “Plantago major”, commonly called "plantain" is a wonderful healing herb for burns, wounds, insect bites, blisters and other topical irritations, such as dermatitis. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Plantain grows wild, so you can find plantain just about anywhere, such as in parks, hiking trails, possibly your backyard, the edges of driveways or sidewalks. However, be sure to gather this, or any herb, from an area which hasn’t been sprayed with toxic chemicals, such as weed killers or pesticides; otherwise these toxins will end up on your skin and in your blood stream.

To use plantain on the skin, you can make a poultice by gathering some fresh leaves and crush them or bruise them in a mortar with pestle. Mix water or oil with the leaves and apply the mixture to the injured area; then secure it with an adhesive bandage. Another way to use plantain is to make a salve, which you can keep in your first-aid kit. Follow the directions below.

Gather the herb and make a solar-infused oil with the leaf and olive oil; (see my article “Solar-Infused Oils for Skin Care" for instructions). Once your oil is made, you’ll need the following items.


  • 1 c. plantain leaf infused oil

  • 1-2 oz. chopped or grated Beeswax; check your local herb shop or beekeeper for quality, unbleached beeswax.

  • 10 drops of vitamin E

  • Double boiler, or a small pot inside a pot of water

  • Measuring cup - not plastic

  • Hand towel

  • Small glass jars or tins (1 or 2 oz. sizes are good); check your local herb shop, health store or craft store for jars and tins.

  • Label and marker or type the label

This recipe should yield you approximately 10-12 1 oz. jars of salve. If that’s too much, then halve the recipe.


  • Add the plantain leaf infused oil and beeswax to the double boiler pot.

  • Place the pot on your stove burner and turn the heat on low.

  • When the beeswax is melted, take a tsp. of the hot liquid and place it in the freezer for two minutes. (Placing a bit of the liquid in the freezer for two minutes will give you an idea of the salve’s consistency when it solidifies.)

  • While the teaspoon is in the freezer, get your tins or jars ready by placing them on a hand towel on a flat surface.

  • After two minutes, take the spoon out of the freezer and touch the salve. If you like the consistency then you’re ready to move to the next step. However, if it’s too loose, then add a little more beeswax to the pot, melt it, and try again.

  • Pour the liquid into a measuring cup, and stir in the vitamin E.

  • Quickly pour the liquid into your jars or tins before the liquid hardens.

  • When cool, place the caps on the jars or tins.

  • Create labels with the name of your salve such as “Plantain Salve” or “First-Aid Salve”; and be sure to list the ingredients on the label as well.

  • Place the labels on the jars or tins.

You now have a wonderful first-aid salve for when you need it.

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