Monday, June 11, 2012

Wild Medicine--Part II

 Skinned knees seem to be an everyday occurrence in my house in the last few weeks.  The first few weeks of shaky bikes rides with the kids, as they get the hang of flying on two wheels again, tends to bring lots of tears and lots of band-aids.  Luckily, you don't have to pack a whole box with you on that next hike or bike ride.  Instead, just look for plantain.

There are a few species of Plantago that are a great make-shift band aid.  Plantago laneolata  and Plantago major are the most common.  The broad leaves are used topically for wound healing, helping to reduce inflammation and soothe painful cuts and scrapes.  They can even soothe and heal burns!  After you pour a little water on the wound, simply grab a leaf, smush (a very technical term, I know) gently with your fingers, and apply to the wounded area.  Make sure to get that good juice in there! 
You can use another leaf or bandage to  cover the wound to facilitate healing.

Plantain is another wild medicine that is found everywhere in the U.S.  Just check your lawn, roadsides, meadows, or fields.  Try not to collect directly from the side of the road or on a lawn that has been sprayed by chemicals.  Look for long oval leaves, spreading from a central point, with parallel veins.  Of course, always be sure to properly ID a plant before you use it.  But I don't have to remind you of that.  Right?!

Gathering your wild band-aid will cheer those kids right up after a fall.  Especially if you combine it with another plant to stop bleeding--which I'll talk about next post. 

Kristin Henningsen M.S., C.H., R.Y.T.


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