Yard Plantain, An Ancient Herb For Eating And Healing

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Plantago ruglii,
Plantago ruglii (Photo By: Frank Mayfield /Wikipedia Commons)

The yard plantain(Genus: Plantago) is a very common low growing leafy plant. Different species of plantains in the genus Plantago grow all over the globe. Common species In The United States are Common Plantain (Plantago major), Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and Blackseed Plantain(Plantago rugelii).  Blackseed Plantain is a traditional Native American medicine and food source. Common Plantain and Ribwort Plaintain were introduced from Europe and served as indigineous food sources and medicinal plants as well.

Edibility and Culinary Use

The Yard Plantain’s young leaves can be eaten raw, but larger leaves get tough and stringy so they are better when cooked.  The roots and seeds can also be eaten, usually cooked, but I like eating the seed stalks raw.  The seeds can be removed from the stalks easily and cooked whole for a starchy meal.  The leaves can be used in a nutritious and medicinal tea. The plant has a slightly bitter taste so putting the leaves in a soup or salad is usually better than eating them alone.

Health Benefits

Yard Plantain Leaves and Stalk
Common Plantain(Plantago major) Leaves and Stalk (Photo By: Grote weegbree bloeiwijze / Wikimedia Commons)

Yard Plantain is a traditional Indigenous medicine, it is often used externally as a wound ointment to help stop blood flow, as an antimicrobial, and to promote faster healing, it contains allontoin which is a cell growth promoter.   It makes a great Neosporin replacement if you don’t have any on hand.  Traditionally It was taken internally to help stop diarrhea, and was also used for sore throats. Yard Plantain is a very nutritional leafy vegetable containing Calcium, vitamins A,C, and K.

Conclusion

Yard Plantain can be identified by its low growing habit and upright seed stalks.  This is a great wild medicinal plant, and edible vegetable.  For survivalists and woodsman this is a plant you must know because it can help heal wounds, prevent infection and the seeds can serve as a starchy food source, which is sometimes hard to find in survival situations.



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