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Remedies & Therapies => Medicinal Herbs & Oils => : abcathome October 13, 2006, 09:02:41 AM

: Recognizing Plantain
: abcathome October 13, 2006, 09:02:41 AM
I am wondering how I would recognize plantain?  I have some plants in my yard thatlook like the plantain pictures I've seen on NGJ, but mine are much smaller in comparison.  I just don't want to get the wrong plant for these salves and such. 

Also, could someone tell me if plantain could be seaped to a tea?  My mother, when she is exposed to poison oak and poison ivy, gets it internally as well...down her throat and mouth.  So would a tea help relieve some of that pain and swelling?  Or is plantain not intended for internal use?

Thanks!
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: heatheronthehill October 13, 2006, 10:16:40 AM
Plantain comes in all sizes and I have so much fun finding it nearly everywhere I go!  I've seen plantain with leaves as small as a quarter before, growing in the cracks in the sidewalk!  Plantain is very distinctive because all of the leaves have prominant veining that runs vertically, whereas most other leaves in plants have a main central vein with other veins branching off of it. 

My little plantain story:  When the NGJ herb lesson on plantain came out, it was the month of May.  I searched high and low for plantain out there and wasn't sure if I had found it or not because all of the leaves were so tiny.  (Living in northern Minnesota, it makes a lot of sense that the plants were still babies then, seeing as how we still had frost in June!  :)  Anyway, I found a book at the library about edible plants and herbs in Minnesota and Wisconsin and found a great picture of plantain.  My husband and I were out visiting friends and while leaving there apartment complex, their landlord hadn't mowed the grass at all and the weeds were very high.  I found what was certain to be plantain in bigger, bushier leaves and I've been seeing it ever since!  It likes sunny, open areas, but you'll want to be careful where you gather it.  Try to find it in a place where it isn't exposed to car exhaust, pesticides, or animal excrement. 

Happy hunting!

PS - I just went out in the snow and took a couple of photos of baby plantain, but I can't figure out how to post them.  :(  Sorry!  I tried!
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: healthybratt October 13, 2006, 10:22:50 AM
 ;D
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: SC October 13, 2006, 10:29:33 AM
If you go to www.google.com and type in plantain, click on the work images and hit go, you will get a screen full of images of plantain. You're sure to see something that looks like a weed in your yard. There is a broad leaf and a narrow leaf variety. I second the caution about finding leaves that haven't been subjected to animal feces/urine and/or pesticides.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abcathome October 13, 2006, 01:27:08 PM
Thank you all for the pictures and descriptions.  I now know that what I was looking at was NOT plantain, but something else.  However, I do have plantain in my yard and now know what I am looking for!  :)  The pics with the stems growing up (flowers??) were the most helpful as they will help me identify it and learn what the plant looks like without it. 

One more question...how do you find it in a place that doesn't have animal feces?  I would think that just about any place natural would have that potential?
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abcathome October 13, 2006, 01:30:35 PM
Oh, also....:)   I never realized that those little things on the plantain plants that grow (the flowering area) are the things my sister and I would play with and pop off the 'heads' when we were kids!  How cool! :)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: heatheronthehill October 14, 2006, 03:32:05 AM
We live in town, so I go out to my parent's and grandparents house to gather plantain.  They live out in the country, so I can find it more "off the beaten path".  More ideas - I see it all the time in parks - state, city, etc...  Find an "off the beaten path" area without shade and you will likely find it growing there.  Perhaps a school yard if they have an area that isn't mowed (we do).  Church lots with the same.  (There should be few dogs being walked in school/church yards - at least in my experience.)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: khix January 12, 2007, 04:15:45 AM
Could any of these possibly be plantain?   ???

(http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o121/khix75/000_0774.jpg)

(http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o121/khix75/000_0775.jpg)

(http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o121/khix75/000_0776.jpg)

(http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o121/khix75/000_0777.jpg)

(http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o121/khix75/000_0778.jpg)

(http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o121/khix75/000_0779.jpg)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: healthybratt January 12, 2007, 06:37:34 AM
I think those are dandelions and thistles.

Here's what plantain looks like.

(http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y16/zippyboot/images/broadleafplantain.jpg)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: makingchanges January 12, 2007, 07:13:02 AM
HB,

Thank-you, thank-you for the nice large, clear picture. I have been looking at dandelions myself and wondering if it was plantain. I have never seen plantain, but I'm sure I'll be able to find it come spring.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abcathome January 12, 2007, 07:44:16 AM
Thank you from me too!  :)  I was thinking the things I saw in my area were plantain as well and now know they are dandelion!  Argh!  I will have to go out and do some searching with a printed picture of plantain so when I find it I will know for sure!

Amanda
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: healthybratt January 12, 2007, 09:00:43 AM
Look for the seeds.  That makes it easy.  Of course they don't seed until summer, but I always remember playing with these as a kid.  We use to pull the stem through our fingers and all the seeds would just pop off.  Then we would play with the seeds.  ;D
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: khix January 12, 2007, 05:35:34 PM
I think those are dandelions and thistles.

Here's what plantain looks like.


Thanks, HB!

But, now I'm sad....it seems I don't have any plantain in my yard...and my yard is FULL of all sorts of weeds.  Can you buy plantain seeds?  (of course, that would require planting....and by my other thread, you can tell I haven't had much luck with planting seeds!  :D )
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: healthybratt January 13, 2007, 07:17:59 AM
I think those are dandelions and thistles.

Here's what plantain looks like.


Thanks, HB!

But, now I'm sad....it seems I don't have any plantain in my yard...and my yard is FULL of all sorts of weeds.  Can you buy plantain seeds?  (of course, that would require planting....and by my other thread, you can tell I haven't had much luck with planting seeds!  :D )
It's amazing to me that you haven't found it in your yard.  Check the neighbors yard or the park, or along the roadside somewhere and pick several of these stems when they go to seed in the summer.  All you have to do is scatter the seeds in your yard and you'll have it growing by next year (maybe sooner).
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abcathome January 13, 2007, 10:26:09 AM
I'm with you Khix,....I haven't found any either.  What I have found I now know to be dandelion.  :(  I will be looking more this spring though on my MIL's farm...hopefully I will find some then that I can scatter in my yard.  I hope to post a picture when I find it, just in case mine looks a bit different.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: YoopreMama January 13, 2007, 10:59:44 AM
We have both kinds here, but what really tipped me off was seeing a close-up of the flower heads.  We called them "knot heads", growing up.  Let's see if I can get the picture in here...AHHH!  :o I didn't know you could click "Additional Options"!   :o  I thought that referred to "Post, Preview, and Spell Check" !!!! 
: Re: Recognizing Plantain (and other herbs!)
: Mrs. Visionary January 13, 2007, 12:39:44 PM
The following website has literally hundreds of photos and illustrations of medicinal plants as well as a wealth of information that you or others may find useful.
This is Michael Moore's website for the SouthWestern School of Botanical Medicine.
http://www.swsbm.com/homepage/

Sincerely, Heidi
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: linemansgirl January 13, 2007, 12:55:45 PM
YEE HAW!  ;D

I posted w/ some pictures....
dancing banana, dancing banana!
 

I clicked on them, and they even got bigger!  Whoo hoo!  Look out WTM, I have arrived!  ::) ;D



Thank you YooperMama!!!  I finally recognize a picture of plantain well enough that I know I can go out & find it!
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: SC January 13, 2007, 01:50:10 PM
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but one way to verify that what you have is actually plantain is to look at the structure of the leaf. The veins in the leaf start where the stem meets the leaf structure and run parallel to the main stem line -- not branching off of the main stem line like other leaves often do.
HTH

The wild yam leaf is similar.

Sounds like we are due for a nature hike soon.  ::)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: FaithAcre January 13, 2007, 02:50:24 PM
ARe there any places in the US that this does not grow?  I don't think I have ever seen that stuff here in Central WA.   We have TONS of weeds in certain areas, but never seen those. 
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: linemansgirl January 13, 2007, 03:12:13 PM
ARe there any places in the US that this does not grow?  I don't think I have ever seen that stuff here in Central WA.   We have TONS of weeds in certain areas, but never seen those. 

I grew up in Western WA & I remember playing with the heads when I was little.  I imagine that you could find it somewhere.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: SC January 13, 2007, 06:42:26 PM
I grew up in Western WA & I remember playing with the heads when I was little.  I imagine that you could find it somewhere.

HEY! You just jogged a memory for me! We used to loop the bottom section of stem over the stem near the head and shoot those things at each other for fun.

You make a loop with the stem and as you push the narrow loop along the stem towards the head, it pops off. If you do it fast enough, the head will fly off and (if your aim is good) hit your target.

I'd nearly forgotten (it was so long ago). We would ambush each other and then a chase would ensue. It wasn't good to get a good hiding spot only to miss the target. You gave away your position and had to run without the satisfiction of a bulls eye.

Aw, I MISS my brother! He would have remembered that with me. If God has plantain in heaven, he's probably up there stockpiling a bunch to pelt me with when I get there. The stinker! ;D
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abcathome January 13, 2007, 07:47:24 PM
Okay...if THAT is plaintain then I DO have them in my front yard!  Yippeeee!  :)  I didn't realize that was it.  Thanks so much! 
ETA:  I had just taught my oldest DS how to 'pop' off the heads this summer.  He loved it and chased his little brother around the yard pinging him with the heads!  :)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: khix January 15, 2007, 02:25:25 AM
In all the years I've lived in Southeast TX, I don't think I've ever seen plantain.  Am I just blind, or does it not grow here?  Has anyone else seen plantain in this part of TX?
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: FaithAcre January 15, 2007, 06:03:34 AM
In western WA maybe, but on this side of the mountains it's a whole 'nother climate  ;D.  I'll keep my eyeballs open this spring/summer. 
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Lydiaisredeemed February 07, 2007, 12:37:49 PM
;D
hey hb, I haven't seen any plantain by me.  I live in central Florida.  Do you think it's because I live in zone 9, and it's too warm for plantain to grow here?
thanks!! ;D
Lydia
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: healthybratt February 07, 2007, 12:39:34 PM
;D
hey hb, I haven't seen any plantain by me.  I live in central Florida.  Do you think it's because I live in zone 9, and it's too warm for plantain to grow here?
thanks!! ;D
Lydia
Don't know.  I've never been to Florida ;D

Here's a chart with some info.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Plantago+media (http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Plantago+media)

Didn't know this before but if you're looking for info on Plantain, it might be useful to know that's it's technical name is plantago media. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago_media)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: SC February 07, 2007, 01:08:06 PM
Unless you live in an EXTREEMELY well-manicured area or Antarctica, you likely live near some plantain.
Quote from Practical Herbalism, by Philip Fritchey, MH, ND, CNHP:
Native Americans noticed that Plantain rew wherever the white man set foot, which accounts for a couple of its common names. It can be found virtually everywhere in North America, and grows on every continent except Antarctica.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: BJ_BOBBI_JO August 31, 2007, 02:19:18 PM
When are those plantain seed stick tingys mature enough to pick and dry? I dont wanna pick the seed stems or sticks or wahtever they are care called while they are still too young. I would like to dry up a bunch of the seeds and of course the leaves also.

I have always noticed it but never knew it was plantain.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abbilynn April 03, 2008, 09:59:17 AM
Are all kinds of plantain good for tinctures and/or salves?  Also, is plantain the same thing as Hosta's?? 

thanks!
abbilynn
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Gigi April 03, 2008, 10:39:52 AM
Also, is plantain the same thing as Hosta's?? 



Nope!  Hosta's are NOT plantain!! 

HTH!
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: abbilynn April 03, 2008, 10:49:04 AM
Also, is plantain the same thing as Hosta's?? 



Nope!  Hosta's are NOT plantain!! 

HTH!

Thanks!  I got this garden book from the library and it says another name for Hosta's is "plantain lily" and I wasn't sure if that meant it was the same thing or not.

abbilynn
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Mrs. B April 03, 2008, 11:37:22 AM
Are all kinds of plantain good for tinctures and/or salves? 
thanks!
abbilynn
You can use plantain internally, but I prefer it in salves.   We also just made a plantain tincture with ACV to be used externally that was in the Bulk Herb Store's Making Herbs Simple DVD.
I also use it in poultices. 
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: BJ_BOBBI_JO April 03, 2008, 02:53:09 PM
I like picking fresh plantain, dandelion and other fresh safe leaves to put in with lettuce for a healthy salad. It is amazing how ones own yard can be full of salad materials growing there for free from God.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: herbalmom April 27, 2008, 11:00:00 AM
Can someone tell me if the green plant in the upper right pic on this Craig's List ad is Plantain? The ad will probably be deleted soon but I'm hoping that someone that's on right now can tell me. I have been looking for it but haven't been able to find it. TIA. Blessings ~herbalmom

http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/658459321.html (http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/658459321.html)
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Mrs. B April 27, 2008, 11:05:10 AM
Can someone tell me if the green plant in the upper right pic on this Craig's List ad is Plantain? The ad will probably be deleted soon but I'm hoping that someone that's on right now can tell me. I have been looking for it but haven't been able to find it. TIA. Blessings ~herbalmom

http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/658459321.html (http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/658459321.html)
Sorry, but it doesn't look like it....
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: herbalmom April 27, 2008, 11:08:48 AM
Thanks. I really wasn't sure & didn't want to make a trip for nothing esp since we are busy today with decluttering the basement.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Mrs. B April 27, 2008, 11:09:21 AM
Can someone tell me if the green plant in the upper right pic on this Craig's List ad is Plantain? The ad will probably be deleted soon but I'm hoping that someone that's on right now can tell me. I have been looking for it but haven't been able to find it. TIA. Blessings ~herbalmom

http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/658459321.html (http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/658459321.html)
Sorry, but it doesn't look like it....
Most plantain tends to be less upright and more "flatter" so to speak... the veins should all run from the beginning of the leaf to the tip.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Leilani May 25, 2008, 08:07:45 AM
whoo hooo ;D I finally found plantain! In our neighbors yard, ours gets mowed too often for my to find it in our own  ::) I will try to remember to take a picture when I go out to get some. I was planning on digging it up and bringing it back but maybe I should just take the seeds and put them somewhere in my own yard?
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: naturalgirl May 25, 2008, 01:52:35 PM
Here in the middle of NE, it sometimes is hard to find plantain, believe it or not. At least for me, anyway. Out here there are hills of sand and sand-colored clay, and we have extreamly dry and hot seasons in the summer. The best place I've found is to look along wet places, like a small creek or river. 
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: amandas5boys February 23, 2009, 05:52:37 PM
what about Australia? I haven't seen it here yet and am wandering if there is something to take its place here. Something that will do the same job?
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: hi_itsgwen February 23, 2009, 06:18:22 PM
It's very hot and dry here in the south, and we have plantain growing everywhere.  It especially loves disturbed ground where nothing else grows...along roadsides and construction sites.  We mostly have dense red clay soils, and the plantain is one of the first weeds to take hold, and one of the last to give up in the lawns :) 

There are hundreds of varieties that look very different from each other: broad leaf and narrow leaf being only two.  Maybe you could research your area and see if you can find what variety is most prevalent.  A lot of the sites I found when I researched plantain were sites for ridding your lawn of weeds  ::)  So I'm thinking that a good lawn care guy would be able to point you in the right direction for identifying local plantain varieties.

The genus is plantego...here is an image search so you can see how many different varieties it comes in.  Obviously, the most common ones are pictured the most, but you'll see some really cool ones including variegated ones too!
http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&va=plantago&fr=yfp-t-103&xargs=0&pstart=1&b=21&ni=20
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: Leat May 05, 2009, 02:16:18 AM
I found some! I found some!  After seriously studying the pictures and descriptions all you wonderful people have posted, I finally found plantain!

Sunday evening we were walking on the nature trail at the lake. I looked down and saw the leaves with the lines all parallel.  Then yesterday I discovered quite a bit in my own yard! I'm so excited!

Today I'm going to re-watch Shoshanna's Herbs dvd and see what all I can do with this new found treasure!

Leat
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: amandas5boys August 21, 2009, 09:23:33 PM
So we do have it. I found it today on the side of the road. Thanks so much for the site with the pictures. It is a blessing to know that we do indeed have it here.

Is one type better than the other or do they all do the same thing?
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: sarajane August 22, 2009, 07:15:09 AM
I have never heard of plantago media, is this the same thing as plantago major aka broad leaf plantain, greater plantain, common plantain? Then there is the long leaf variety plantago lanceolata or ribwort.

I love plantain, I just had to share one day it really saved me with a spider bite:

I recently applied a plantain poultice to my hand in order to draw out the poison from a spider bite. My hand was cramped up with sharp pains and was getting to the point where I couldn’t use it much at all. At the site of the bite was a swollen, nasty looking bump. After 15 minutes of applying a plantain poultice to the bite, my pain was gone. I felt like the pain literally was being pulled back up toward the site of the bite. Not even a trace of the bite was visable the next day.



I just learned that you can place a fresh leaf in your shoe if you are getting a blister. That is a really awesome remedy. Taken internally, common plantain is diuretic, expectorant, and decongestant.

I think the seeds can be soaked in juice and drunk as a laxitive, supposed to have an effect like pysillium seed.

As for internally, really, I have seen recipes for most every herb I know to eat as food.

Well, gotta run!
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: hi_itsgwen August 22, 2009, 08:05:26 AM
What a cool testimony about the spider bite Sarahjane!
I think the seeds can be soaked in juice and drunk as a laxitive, supposed to have an effect like pysillium seed.
The seeds of a certain type of plantain are Pysillium.  From what I've read, most varieties of plantain function pretty much the same...but that is sort of rare in the herbal world.  Definitely not a 'rule of thumb'.
: Re: Recognizing Plantain
: sarajane August 22, 2009, 08:15:27 AM
Yeah, they are closely related plants, same family.

Plantago Major is what I was talking about using since it grows almost everywhere. Except we haven't seen any this year, it is so, so, so very dry right now. Hardly anything is growing. Some of the prickly brush plants are even drying up, now that is bad.

Plantago Psyllium the variety I was talking of the major variety being used in the same way. I have yet to see one here...course it is a bad year and this is the first time I have really looked hard.