Plantains are not just a delicious fruit that you can fry or bake to make chips, banana bread, or some exotic smoothies. They serve as a natural healing herb with several health benefits and medicinal properties. Here, we will explore the plantain leaf’s many uses in traditional medicine and how to prepare it for your first aid kit.
What Is A Plantain Leaf?
If you thought of the sweet puffy pancakes called plantains when you heard the word ‘plantains’, then you were wrong. The plantain leaf comes from a commonly found weed throughout North America—Grassy Bananas that grow~which grows~in most temperate regions around the world. This hardy annual weed is often found growing in lawns and along roadsides. Just by looking at the green leaves of muscly veins on their stalks^1~, ~and broad oval shapes measuring up to seven inches long across, it is hard not to mistake them for gutters in your lawn. ^2~
Health Benefits Of Plantain Leaves
Hundreds of years ago Native Americans knew about the medicinal qualities of these common weeds used plants like grassy bananas well before other nations ever interacted with them^3~, because they have been using it for centuries due to its abundance. It was commonly referred to as “life medicine” because according to their beliefs representing ability connect earth energy and sky power through curing illnesses caused both by physical ailment and spiritual imbalance. ^4~ It has since gained recognition worldwide, including Germany where naturopathy practitioners use them extensively in conventional medical practice^5~~6~7^. Here are some key ways that these simple leaves could benefit your health:
When crushed into paste form or boilweed tea infusion made using 34 grams fresh leaves soaked overnight into a liter of hot water, plantain leaves contain helpful moisturizing and mucilage properties which reportedly relieve dryness associated with a range of skin conditions^8~ while also revitalizing skin texture.
Wound Healing Properties
Plantains have been used for centuries to promote wound healing due to their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory components. In addition, the leaves’ high silica content creates an adhesive-like effect that helps prevent bleeding or blood clotting in open wounds. ^9~~10~
Conversely taking plantain leaf supplements can help reduce inflammation throughout the body- this is caused by the presence of iridoid antioxidants such as aucubin^11~, catalpol^12~~, among others^. Antioxidants help protect against harmful free radicals that our bodies produce naturally but can cause inflammation if left unchecked because they degrade tissue at a cellular level. “
How To Harvest Plantain Leaves
While you may purchase dried herb forms of plantain from health food stores or online sources like Amazon ^13~ for convenience sake especially consider it harvest fresh. During summer months between June-August, when plants are at full growth size and potency.
Locating grassy banana weeds is often easy since they tend to grow in small clusters along paths or roadsides around vacant lots where there’s a lot less competition from other urban vegetation. Pluck off matured leaves using your fingers one by one from the base upwards; these are those with hard-stemmed yellow flowers running down them vertically. If necessary dislodge them with light use scissors avoiding removing only green top 1/3 so hands won’t accidentally touch broken stems producing sticky sap resin causing stained clothes fingertips otherwise unprotected\14\
How To Prep Plantain Leaves For Medical Use
Now that you’ve harvested and cleaned your plantain leaves let’s explore various ways to prep them for common ailments.
Plantain leaves are renowned for their properties that help reduce eczema inflammation swelling sunburn insect bites and skin irritation7:
Boil 50g Powdered Dried Plantain Leaves.
This method is great for preserving plant-loss while maximizing potency so you will need a large pot to make the infusion in.
– Bring water in a medium saucepan to boil, then add dried powdered banana leaves .
– Lower your heat to low-reserve especially not simmering unsupervised cause of higher latent sugar content-after covered cook fresh and sterile muslin cloth at about 135 Celcius two hours~. Why this temperature? High heat will break down important nutrients such as flavonoids which provide soothing anti-inflammatory properties. Adding cloth helps maintain perfect temperature-control over moisture level insure residual particles don’t spread contaminate liquid within slurry.
Fresh Leaf Poultice
A cold compress made with fresh plantains leaves works wonders on bruises, swellings, small wounds cuts because it absorbs into open pores easy instead of drying out mixed residues causes more damage :
1. Mash up a few clean and preferably fresh plantain leaves.
2. Apply them directly onto the affected area.
3. Use tape or gauze to ensure the poultice stays in place if necessary.
Salve from oil infusing
Useful for long-term storage where you want something more easily accessible:
– A base oil
– Cleaned plantain – any part of the plant can be used
1. Add chopped-up pieces of the cleaned plant into your base oil until most submerged under surface film covering everything needed without clogging perforated holes jar sides/tops^15\
2. Cover with cheesecloth or another breathable material firmly tied around neck lip jars avoiding contamination
3. Cook at low heat in a double boiler for at least two hours^16\ ensure staying vigilant not to let water or condensation enter the oil mix which shortens shelf life.
4. After cooling down, strain out solid pieces of plantain with cheesecloth.
5. Transfer your now herb infused oil into a clean sterile tight-seal glass container and store it in a cool, dry place.
Plantain is great for easing digestive tract disorders, especially when combined with other gut-friendly herbs like marshmallow root ^17~:
Infusion Against Stomach Inflammation
This infusion is easy and straightforward to make:
1. Take fresh or dried plantain leaves and put them in boiling water.
2. Then allow this solution to steep for around five minutes before straining.
3. Drink up!
Tincture For Quick Relief
Infusing grape seed vodka with chemicals from the plant delivers potent healing raw properties; store it in brown-glass dropper bottles keeps light away preserving oils content full-potency longterm:;
1. Add one part fresh or dried leaves to three parts alcohol-proof vodka then cover tightly shake well within same day. stirring vigorously every few hours ensuring all solid have dissolved evenly.
2. Store the mixture away from light and leave it alone for approximated 6 weeks before herbalism element settles-in,
3. After time has passed remove residue via cheesecloth then divide liquid storage device refillable multiple doses readily accessible.
Here are some commonly asked questions about Plantains:
What else can I use plantain leaves?
Apart from medicinal purposes, you can also use them as an alternative wrap while grilling chicken!
Can I simply eat raw plantain leaves?
Well, you technically could chew on raw plantain foliage without harm but definitely wouldn’t taste pleasant since they’re tough fibers insoluble human digestive tract making it hard to swallow^18!
- What makes plantain leaves so effective against inflammation?
The active compounds i. e. , iridoid glycosides, flavonoids and phenylethanoids in their chemical makeup give them vast amounts of antioxidants with potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Where can I source fresh plantain leaves since they’re not readily available at my local supermarket?
You have plenty of options, including harvesting the wild-growing weed plants from parks or woodlands. Also, you may purchase “Grassy Banana” seeds online for planting as part of a herb garden.
Can infants consume remedies prepared from grassy banana sap?
It is best first to consult your Pediatrics doctor before giving anything like that kids less than 12 years old infuse plantain infusion usually enough without external application being beneficial adjunct medical care~19~
Plantains are an abundant source of natural medicine that more people should know about. Now that you learned how easy it is to harvest and prepare these healing herbs yourself at home, why not give it a try next time you have some minor ailments to turn into a remedy? Not only will you save money by avoiding overpriced beauty products but enjoy healthier skin care gains on top!