Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Plantain - Weed or Herb?

Plantain (Plantago major) is considered a common weed by some and a miracle plant by others. You can find it all over our farm along with another Plantain, Pantago lanceolata, which has long narrow leaves. Plantago major is edible. The young, tender leaves can be harvested for use in a salad, or steamed and used as a spinach substitute. Plantain is very high in beta carotene (A) and calcium. It also provides ascorbic acid (C), and vitamin K.

One of plantain's most common medicinal uses is as a poultice for stings, bites, scrapes and rashes. The simplest way to harness plantain's healing powers is to crush a few fresh leaves, and apply directly to the affected area. Replace fresh leaves as necessary. The fresh plantain "juice" takes the pain away and seems to work wonders at staunching blood flow and closing wound edges. It's also wonderfully refreshing and soothing to sunburns.

Since I have so much of this growing around the farm I thought I would harvest some today and dry it to use for infusions when needed. I have also read that it makes a great diaper rash cream so I think I will do a bit more research on that and make up a batch soon for Taylor.

Other happenings on the farm include two more ducklings that hatched out overnight. They are now in the brooder. Chamomile, one of our Am Chin rabbit does, had a date with the buck, Sarsaparilla, for the day. She is still with her 9 kits born April 9th but I wanted to rebreed her for a late June kindling. The date seemed to go well. I finally got the 4x8 raised bed planted that I cleaned out last week. Into it went Iceberg Lettuce, Drunken Woman Lettuce, Straight 8 and Bush Pickling Cucumbers, and Carrots. I also moved more of the tires that, in past years, I have been growing my potatoes in to a new place in the garden. I filled four tire beds (each stacked two high) with aged bedding from the barn. Into one tire I planted Rhubarb the other three will be getting Russet Potatoes... hopefully tomorrow.

Evan and McKayla are thoroughly enjoying the pool. They have been in it at least once a day since Friday. McKayla especially loves to swim and is constantly asking if she can go swimming. Which I still find amazing as it is ice cold and they come out blue with their teeth chattering... but they love it! Tonight is was a mere 60F outside and the two of them swam until I had dinner ready. Crazy!

1 comment:

Lisa Hetherington-Ewing said...

So have you tried eating the Plantain?