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Effects of Plantain Healing Ointment

The photos below show the results of using an ointment made from Plantago major. I started by simmering fresh plantain leaves, which I picked from my yard, in olive oil over a very low heat, for the better part of a day. I then added Lanolin for a luxuriously soothing texture, and finally thickened the oil with bees wax. If kept refrigerated, this ointment will remain effective for quite a while. I use it on insect bites and stings, as well as all manner of cuts, scrapes, and skin ailments. The reason I use Plantago ointment rather than Comfrey ointment is because Comfrey heals much too fast. Now that statement may sound counter intuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it logically. Comfrey heals so quickly, that it heals from the outside in. This can be a bad thing if the would was not properly cleaned, in that it can seal impurities and infection into the cut. Plantago on the other hand also heals quickly, but it does so from the inside out, thus greatly reducing the chances of infection.

Plantago contains a compound called Allantoin, which is a natural cell regenerator. Plantago also contains the glycoside Aucubin. This compound is the plants natural defense against being eaten. You see if eaten, the Aucubin in Plantago prevents the cells of an  herbivore from splitting and growing. Meaning they receive no nutritive value from eating this plant. While I cannot prove it, I believe this Aucubin is the reason why, for centuries, Plantago has been used as a natural antibiotic and antimicrobial. Viruses and bacteria often times have a relatively short life span; their virulence comes from their ability to replicate themselves quickly. If you can remove their ability to replicate you greatly reduce their virulence, and ultimately the length of an illness. Plantago has also been shown to be a superior antitoxin, and anti-venom. Many native Americans carried dried plantain as a remedy for snakebite. It is for these reasons that I turn to Plantago in either the fresh, or ointment form, whenever I have to treat an insect bite or sting.

This photo below was taken immediately after my ex-wife was stung by a wasp. It had gotten into a pair of her sweat pants, and when she put them on, the insect attacked. Her body immediately reacted to the stings; notice the red and swollen areas.

This photo of the same area was taken less than an hour later. Notice that all of the swelling, and most of the redness is completely gone.

I would highly recommend making it for yourself, and keeping it handy. If your and your family are anything like me and mine, you will turn to it quite often.

Plantain Ointment Recipe

4 oz fresh Plantain leaves (or 2 oz dried powdered leaves)

1 cup oil (sweet almond, coconut, olive, or vegetable)

2 tbsp Pure Lanolin

Pure beeswax to thicken to desired consistency.

Finely chop fresh herb, or grind dried herb in a mortar and pestle. Pour oil into a double boiler, or small crock pot. I would not recommend a pan directly over heat, as it would be very easy to burn the oil. Add chopped or powdered herbs to the oil, and simmer on lowest setting for a minimum of 4-6 hours. It is important to try to maintain an oil temperature of about 100 - 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine coffee filter. Retain a small amount of oil in a separate bowl, just in case your finished ointment is too thick. Melt the Lanolin into the main pot of oil. Stir until completely dissolved. Slowly add grated beeswax a little at a time to the main pot of oil, until the desired consistency is reached. I usually stir in 1 oz of wax until dissolved, then touch the back of a spoon into the oil, and let the spoon cool. I then check the consistency of the ointment, if it is too thin, add more wax, if too thick, add a little of the oil you retained in the beginning.

Pour the ointment into a jar or tin, and store in the refrigerator until needed. As the ointment thickens, stir with a chopstick to ensure nothing settled out of the ointment. While this does not make for a very nice looking presentation, it ensures everything is properly suspended throughout the ointment. If you need a more uniform surface, you can gently heat the surface with a small torch to melt to a flat level surface. This ointment is very effective for insect bites or stings, blisters, cuts, scrapes, or just about any skin ailments. I have yet to find a better remedy for insect bites or stings.

Passive oil infusion method: Place herbs in a mason jar, and cover with oil. Cover the jar, and leave in a sunny location for two weeks. After the two weeks, follow the steps above to strain and thicken the ointment.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield