Thursday, March 20, 2014

Health Benefits of Plantain {eat your weeds! #1}

People stress the importance of storing food for the coming apocalypse or an unforeseen emergency, but many don't consider the abundance of already food available to them in their own backyards.
And not only food, but medicine, as well.  
People can steal your food supplies but they can't take your knowledge. Ignorance is not bliss! Especially when you have a growling stomach and other mouths to feed, and the grocery stores are wiped clean.
Not that we should live in fear, because if you have Christ in your heart there is no reason to worry over anything that threatens to happen in this world.
However, wouldn't you rather have knowledge that could potentially save your life?
If you live where there is any amount of green, then you can learn which plants you can eat and which ones you can't. Even the 'lowliest' of weeds have much more value than you might think! And not just for survival purposes, either.
So, over the next several weeks I'm going to do a series of posts about Florida's wild edibles.  Some of these plants are also found in other states in the US, but since I live in Florida it makes the most sense for me to learn what plants are growing here.
Today, we're going to take a look at plantain. (plantago major)
It's a very common 'weed' which can be found in just about any field, garden or place where things grow naturally. It is similar vaguely in appearance to the dandelion plant, and it's most distinguishing element is the long, slender shoots that pop up from the plant's center. Look at the picture collage above for examples.
Now, I have a story to share concerning my experiences with plantain.
When I was around ten or eleven, I reached under a towel outside and got stung by a wasp on my finger. Complaining to Mom about it, I watched in fascination as she picked a plantain leaf and chewed it up quickly. She spit the chewed-up leaf back into her hand and pressed the pulpy stuff on my sore, inflamed finger.
Within ten seconds, all pain was gone. Boom. Just like that.
Ever since then, plantain has been my go-to for bites, rashes etc.
But then I was doing some more reading on the plant today, and I was shocked to discover that the health benefits of plantain expanded far greater than I originally surmised.
Here's some of the amazing things plantain is used as a remedy for!
  • Wounds, bites, burns and most injuries.
  • Poison.
  • Blood purifier. Cleanses the system of toxins, heat and congestion.
  • Fevers, infections and skin diseases.
  • Calming of asthma, stomach aches and colic.
  • Coughs and sore throats.
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Blood vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation of the colon.
  • Hemorrhage in the stomach and bowels.
  • Discourages the discharge of mucous, especially in the respiratory system.
  • Allergic conditions such as hay fever.
  • Ear infections.
  • Prostatic swellings.
  • Tonsillitis.
  • Urinary infections.
  • Dysentery.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Fatigue.
  • Eczema.
That's quite a lot, isn't it? And to think we overlook this homely little plant, thinking it's just a troublesome 'weed'.
You can utilize it in many forms. Raw, as a poultice, tincture, or even by juicing the leaves.
You can make a gargle or infusion from it, as well as cough syrup and ointments.
For example, here's a recipe which looks very promising.

Revitalizing green juice

3 cups (180 g) fresh plantain leaves
1 cup (250 ml) pure liquid honey
1 opaque glass bottle
Crush the leaves in a food processor, drain and squeeze in cheesecloth. Combine 1 cup (250 ml) of the green juice with the honey and simmer for 10 minutes at low heat, stirring regularly. Let cool and pour into the opaque bottle.
Take this nectar 1 spoonful at a time like a syrup to treat a cough; also use it to treat a sore throat,
anemia, fatigue and eczema: 1 T (15 ml), 3 times daily.
Next time somebody in your house gets a sore throat, why not give it a try? If one of the kids runs in crying from a bee sting or burn, chew up a couple leaves and have them hold the mash over their sore spot and the pain will subside.
I recommend reading this page for yourself if you'd like more information. This is where I got the recipe and a bit of the other info. Very fascinating!
Well, hope y'all are having a blessed week! I am!
Soli Deo Gloria,

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