How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice
By;Stacy Karen,;Contributing Writer
Chances are you will encounter some type of insect or bug bite during the summer. There are lots of ways to treat such bites, but today I want to share one very effective treatment that utilizes the wonderful herb, plantain.;
Many people hear the word “plantain” and think of a small banana-like fruit. And yes, that is a plantain, but not the kind of plantain I am referring to.;
The herb called plantain is actually a green plant, often considered a weed (but it is a very useful weed and one you might want to keep around).
Image by Phuong Tran
Plantain is thought to draw toxins and infections from the body. [Tweet “Plantain is an excellent herb for reducing inflammation and soothing stings.”] It also heals cuts or wounds.;(Learn more about plantain and other ways to use it here).;
A wonderful way to get the benefits of plantain is to create a plantain salve. It is very easy (instructions for making plantain salve can be found here). The only problem with it is that you must plan ahead and make time to infuse the oil and prepare the salve.;
Another very simple method of using plantain is to make a poultice. This requires very little forethought, except having a plant (or dried herb) nearby. And it is very effective.;
How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice
;To create a plantain poultice, the plantain needs to be mashed and placed against the skin. Today I will share three methods for creating a plantain poultice.;
All of these poultices are beneficial for treating the following:
- bug bites
- bee stings
- poison ivy and oak (a plantain wash would also help here)
- cuts and scrapes
Bonus: Plantain has even been know to aid in the removal of slivers, due to it’s drawing properties.;
1. The chew-it-up method
This method ;sounds quite horrible, I admit, but it is excellent during an emergency.;
Simply pick a few plantain leaves, rinse off (if necessary), chew the leaves for a while and spit them out.;
Place this chewed up mass on affected area. (You get the added benefit of saliva to aid in healing!) It may be necessary to form the chewed up plantain into a ball before placing on the skin.
Wrap with a bandage and leave on the skin for a few hours. Use new plantain every few hours and keep this protocol up for a couple of days, if needed.;
2. Powdered herb method
Grind dried plantain into a powder and mix with a little water to form a paste.;
Place paste on affected area and cover with a bandage or medical tape.
Dried plantain ground into powder (mostly)
3. Food processor or blender method
Blend fresh plantain leaves in a food processor. (Only add a tiny amount of water if needed; just enough to get it to blend. If you have a high powered blender, you might not need any water at all.);
Place this mash in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and fold the sides of the cloth around the mash to form a little package. Place cheesecloth/plantain pack on affected area. Can be taped on with medical tape if needed, or wrapped with muslin. Use new plantain every couple of hours and keep up the poultice for a few days if needed.;
Yes! I got bit up my leg by something this summer (I think it was red ants). 24 hours after the bites, they started to form a white blister and itch like CRAZY. I remembered plantain and went in search of it in my parents’ yard. Too bad they had sprayed for it incredibly effectively. I went down the street and finally found some. I brought it back and mashed it with a mortar and pestle, mixed with just a little water, then asked it directly to reach of the bites in turn. It was magic. After a mere minute or two on each bite, the itch was gone for about 6 hours. I kept reapplying when I was able over the next few days and every time, the plantain was a miracle. Since my daughter had a horrific topical steroid addiction (see ITSAN if you want to know more), none of us will ever use topical steroids again. I’m pleased I’ve found something natural that is effective at treating the same type of things.
Now I’m curious if I can use it to treat eczema and the itching associated with that….
I have laying hens, and one of them got severely attacked, it was a wonder that she was alive at all. She had a huge chunk of flesh out of her neck and back. There were several in our family that thought we needed to “put her out of her misery”. I, however was determined to save her. I made a poulice with plaintain using the blender method. I also added some essential oils to it. I can’t remember exactly which ones, but I do know I added lavender. I reapplied it to her every half hour to hour that first day. We had found her in the morning, and by the afternoon her wounds looks amazingly better. By the next day she started eating and her bowels moving. She made amazing progress, and you wouldn’t even know now that it had ever happened except for the fact that she still has some feathers missing.
You know, I’ve totally done the “chew it” method. If we’re out and someone gets a bad scrape or something like a bee or wasp sting, that’s exactly how I handle it, since plantain grows almost everywhere where we live. We also buy a herbal salve that contains it. I really do think it makes a huge difference and love using it!
I enjoyed this post. I’ve actually used the chew-it method when we were tenting and my preschool daughter got a bad mosquito bite. I had seen plantain near our tent, so I went out with the flashlight and found some and got it ready for her. It sounds disgusting, but it soothed her quite quickly and we all got to sleep.
Where can I get plantain powder?