Monday, October 20, 2008

A little herbal lore

So I read this monthly newsletter from this awesome lady Susun Weed and about a month ago one of the articles was about a very, very common plant that has some pretty sweet properties. Reduces swelling (which I tested), pain (also tested), relieves itchies from bug bites, poison ivy, stings (insect and otherwise), and a few others that I don't remember. I remember my friend from Living Like a Goddess mentioning this plant to me but it never sank in. I got a sliver while I was working at the barn sunday and when I got home I removed it the wrong way. Squeezing and poking at the flesh till it came out. I woke up this morning with a big red ouchiness where the sliver had been the night before. So as a second experiment I found some common plaintain (not the banana looking fruit) and picked a leaf, washed it and chewed it up good (didn't have the most pleasant taste in the world) put the chewed up mass on my ouchiness, spat the rest out, put a bandaid over it and in seconds there was no pain (not even kidding). After about 5 hours I took off the bandaid and spit poultice (the technical term for what I did) and tossed the plantain outside and the bandaid in the garbage and there was no swelling or redness. there was a large green stain but what does one expect from putting chewed up plant on ones skin? Currently the wound (if you can call it that) is slightly tender to the touch which is pretty cool because this morning it hurt without being touched.
These are Common Plantain

There are a number of species but this one as the name suggests is the most common
This is Buckhorn Plantain which I also see alot around here

I am going to copy a description from on common plaintain. Here it is.

"It grows from a very short rhizome, which bears below a great number of long, straight, yellowish roots, and above, a large, radial rosette of leaves and a few Iong, slender, densely-flowered spikes. The leaves are ovate, blunt, abruptly contracted at the base into a long, broad, channelled footstalk (petiole). The blade is 4 to 10 inches long and about two-thirds as broad, usually smooth, thickish, five to eleven ribbed, the ribs having a strongly fibrous structure, the margin entire, or coarsely and unevenly toothed. The flower-spikes, erect, on long stalks, are as long as the leaves, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick and usually blunt. The flowers are somewhat purplish-green, the calyx fourparted, the small corolla bell-shaped and four-lobed, the stamens four, with purple anthers. The fruit is a two-celled capsule, not enclosed in the perianth, and containing four to sixteen seeds. the leaves are saline, bitterish and acrid to the taste; the root is saline and sweetish"

and here is the url for the website I got that from if you want to read more

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