If there is one "weed" herb you need to make yourself comfortable with, even befriend, it's this one. Plantain is like the kale of the herb world. It can just about heal everything and is as nutritious as they come. Have a cut? Plantain. Have a burn? Plantain. Acne - plantain. Dry skin - plantain. Rash - plantain. Bite or sting - plantain. Bruise - plantain. Constipated - plantain. Need to detox? Plantain. Are you getting the picture?
Like dandelion, plantain can be found just about everywhere [except maybe the beach...]. Yards, park, pond side, roadside, hillside, concrete cracks, pasture, patios, gardens, city sidewalks, you name it. You've probably seen it a number of times, maybe even cussed it out on occasion. Although it is related to spinach [it's not only edible and amazingly nutritious but free!], it tends to masquerade as weed, keeping company with thistles, crabgrass, ragweed, and horse nettle. Really plantain should be elevated to "patron saint of the garden" status, or at least bestowed the title of "super herb". On hot days this herbs works wonderfully to cool the body from the inside out which is the most effective to eliminate heat. Essentially it's the perfect "emergency food".
Energy: bland, a bit bitter, cool
Use: Internal and External
For Infants / Children: Yes
Precautions: No know reactions or side effects
Key Nutrients: iron, vitamins A, C and K, B vitamins, fatty acids, protein
Medicinal Uses: detoxification and purification [is even used as a remedy for blood poisoning], liver stimulation [aids in poor digestion and nutrient assimilation], helps disperse too much heat in the body. It helps heal urinary tract infections, hepatitis, stings, bites, and wounds, skin issues [acne, rashes, dry skin, etc.]; cuts, scrapes and bruises.
[THE RECIPE: SAUTEED GREENS]
1 - 2 T. ghee, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil [I highly recommend the ghee]
2 - 4 garlic scapes, chopped
1/2 c. freshly cut plantain leaves, rinsed and torn
1/2 c. freshly cut dandelion leaves, rinsed and torn
4 c. greens [ex. kale, chard, collards, mustard greens, arugula, and / or spinach]
large handful of herbs [ex. oregano, chives, parsley, and / or cilantro]
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or vinegar of choice [optional]
Heat the ghee or oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until melted. Gently add garlic scapes and toss for 1 - 2 minutes. Add dandelion, plantain, and other greens to skillet. Continue to stir until greens have wilted and turned bright green. Turn off heat and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar [if using]. Toss with Tomato-Spiked Millet [recipe follows], quinoa, or Cauliflower "Rice" [I like to cook this in coconut oil].
[THE RECIPE: TOMATO-SPIKED MILLET]
1 1/2 c. millet, rinsed and drained
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 quart size jar of stewed tomatoes with juice [or roughly 3 - 4 cups of tomato puree], blended
large handful of fresh parsley and dill or herbs of choice, minced
Place millet in a fine mesh strainer and rinse until water runs clear. Drain and set aside. Pour oil into medium pot and warm over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent but not browned [about 5 - 7 minutes]. Add millet and toss frequently to roast for about 3 - 5 minutes [be careful not to burn the millet]. Gently pour in blended tomatoes, stir, and cover. Watch carefully and when liquid starts to bubble turn heat to low, cover, and let cook until all liquid has evaporated. When the millet is fully cooked, add parsley and stir.
Special Note: Remember, whenever you are introducing your body to something new, educate yourself on what you are eating / using [especially if you have health issues / concerns]. Many of the herbs found here will be safe for most but each of us has a different composition and will respond to foods and herbs in our own unique way.