I became interested in herbs and natural healing several years ago, including how to recognize herbs in the wild. It's come in handy many times, including a one time when I was walking to the mailbox and got stung by something. I immediately looked for some plantain. It's very abundant, and there was some right by my feet, so I was able to apply it immediately.
Plantain is an amazing astringent. It draws toxins out quickly and well. To use it, pick some leaves (if you have time, make sure they're clean!) and chew them up really well, then put the green goo on your bite, sting, etc.
I chewed up a couple leaves, and my two year old thought it looked like fun, so he chewed up a leaf for me too. I left it on until it dried and fell off, and by that time the pain was gone, and there was never any swelling from the sting.
I told you. It's amazing. God makes good things.
Another good use for plantain is to pick a bunch of fresh leaves, put them in a jar, and fill the jar with apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 2-6 weeks, shaking a few times a week. Keep it in a dark place, because sunlight will destroy the healing properties.
When it's done sitting, strain it out into a clean jar or bottle, discarding the plantain. You can use this tonic to clean your face. Use it twice a day. It will draw out the toxins from your face so well that your face will probably develop some blemishes for a week or two, but if you keep using it consistently every day, you should have beautiful clear skin after it detoxes. And don't worry, your face will only smell like vinegar until it dries.
Plantain is an edible plant, including the seeds. It's very easy to identify. There is a broad leaf variety and a narrow leaf variety. I prefer the broad leaf. I don't know if there is a medicinal difference between them.
It's one of my favorite herbs, and one that I think everyone should be able to identify and use. If you are ever bitten by something poisonous, or something that COULD be poisonous, apply some immediately if possible.
Dear Mrs. Shoshanna,
My name is Nathan Sheridan and I am 10 years old. You may know my Mama; she has ordered from your store many times before. I wanted to tell you about my experience with plantain and how it helped me. Well, on Saturday morning, a chicken escaped from the coop and dove under the barn. (Our barn is slightly raised up leaving enough room for a chicken to get under.) There was a bees’ nest at the end of the barn in between the walls, but I had temporarily forgotten about it. My, I wish I hadn’t forgotten it! If I hadn’t forgotten and had paid attention, then I wouldn’t be telling you this right now! Well, anyways, I grabbed a pole and ran to the other end of the barn. My younger sister Anna, who is 9, and my younger brother, Joseph, who is 7, were on the other side of the barn. I grabbed my pole and shoved it under the barn, but I started to feel a little unbalanced as I leaned to the side, so I put out my hand to support myself. I put it RIGHT in the middle of the cluster of bees at the opening of their hive! (It’s a wild beehive.) There were 200 bees there, I suppose, but the amazing thing was that in about 2 seconds, only 6 had stung me. However, they all stung right in
my hand. I had one sting on my ring finger, one on my pinky, one on my pointer, and three in my palm. I screamed! Very LOUDLY!!! I must have gotten a rush of adrenaline just then because I raced about 200 feet to my back door in about four seconds. (Mama asked me to skip all the rest
of the details and get to the end, although I’m reluctant because you’ll miss a good deal of excitement. Maybe later…) Mama raced outside and grabbed some plantain from our yard and chewed it up then plastered it on my sting sites. Then she got some plantain tincture she had made and I soaked my hand in it. The pain went down, but I found it rather inconvenient to have to stand there soaking my hand, so I pulled it out and the pain returned immediately. I quickly put my hand back in! I don’t think I let it soak long enough. Then we soaked some gauze with the tincture and I could walk around with the tincture strapped on that way. Later we made a green smoothie with fresh plantain and cold water. We poured it in a pan and I soaked my hand again. It really helped. Then we soaked a paper towel in plantain tincture, got an ice pack, put the paper towel on the ice pack and I laid my hand on it. That is what I’ve been doing lately and it really helps. I remembered reading an excerpt from your testimony about when you got stung by yellow jackets and your Mama had put plantain on you. I think that plantain is a very good healing plant. Wasn’t God kind to make it for us? And to give us Mamas, too?
Love, Nathan M. Sheridan
P.S. The chicken is still loose.
P.P.S. No, no. Papa just came in and said he caught the chicken tonight.
My name is Alix St.Amant. I am a stay at home mother to two wonderful, homebirthed children, and a help meet to my husband. I am an herbalist, and a nutritionalist. I aspire to be either a midwife, or a natural childbirth educator. You can find me on Esty where I sell my herbal and crocheted products as well as Facebookand my blog!
I have a young teenage son who suffers from anxiety. I've been weaning him off of a prescription medication slowly which he's been on for a couple years. He's been without it for a week and he's a mess. Part of what he's feeling right might be after-effects from the stressful exam week but I'm not sure. He constantly tears up, can't sleep and is feeling all sorts of pains in his body which in turn gives him even more anxiety. He had a scary moment one night a couple weeks ago (He awoke suddenly feeling like he couldn’t take a full breath) since then he's afraid to go to bed...or just won’t fall asleep. I really don’t want to start him on the prescription again and would rather like to find a natural solution...oils, herbs etc. Any advice would be appreciated.
If this were my son, I’d run out and get a high quality liquid cal-mag supplement and some high quality cod liver oil (don’t get the cheap stuff at Walmart and expect good results). Anxiety is usually a deficiency in Magnesium, vitamin D and/or omega fatty acids because you need all of these to work together properly. Cod Liver oil contains essential omega 3s and a natural source of vitamin D. Loads of sunshine can help with this as well. I’ve heard some people have good results with full spectrum lighting for vitamin D production, but CLO and sunshine is my favorite combo.
If he’s been taking meds, then he may also added anxiety because of the withdrawal. The neurotransmitters are going to work overtime because of the deficiencies first and then more because of the probably congestion in his liver. I would get some activated charcoal to help with this. Charcoal will gently cleanse his body of any lingering crud left behind from the medications and/or other toxins that might be affecting him.
Valerian root capsules are a great thing to have around for spur of the moment anxiety. You can take a couple of these as needed for anxiety and restlessness in addition to any daily supplements.
Once you’ve got stage one completed, start looking around his environment for other risk factors. Poisons and toxins in his soap, toothpaste, lotions and food. Avoid putting anything on or in the body that isn’t pure, whole and/or natural. Dyes, preservatives, heavy metals, etc. Aluminum is a big suspect. If you cook in aluminum, you may be adding to his toxic load by contaminating his food with the potentially hazardous metal. Stainless steel, cast iron, glass and stones are your best friends in the kitchen. If you suspect heavy metals, you may also want to get some bentonite clay to do some more gentle cleansing. Taking this along with the charcoal can cleanse the body of a whole host of toxins, metals and medications, BUT clay will generally constipate which will work against a cleanse, so make sure, if you give him clay, you give him loads of water (clay will absorb all excess moisture which is why it constipates), and watch his bathroom habits closely.
I’ve dealt with all sorts of anxiety myself for different reasons, but keeping my magnesium, vitamin D and fatty acids right, usually does the trick.
This article is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice. If you or someone you care for is currently taking medications prescribed by a physician, please speak to your physician before changing or removing these medications.
Shay McConnaughey is a wife and home-school mother to three children. She is a retired database designer, and currently works for Bulk Herb Store and for Well Tell Me. She does research, answers questions, and writes product reviews. Her goal is to educate others on health and herbs so they may enjoy the benefits God has provided through nature.
I love watching my girls roam the yard and woods with wild plants hanging out of their mouths. Not only does it give me satisfaction that they are practicing what I've taught them, but I also know they are getting great nutrition!
Wild plants have the best source of nutrition available. Most people don't realize that eating wild plants in their yard is even better than buying organic food at the store!
To teach your kids to eat wild, purchase a book such as A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants to help you identify wild foods. I suggest starting with one edible plant that doesn't have any poisonous look alikes. Study that one plant until you and your kids can identify and harvest it without any hesitation. Once you have that first plant mastered, begin with another one.
These are the 4 herbs that I have started with in teaching my girls to identify wild plants:
Chickweed has a tiny line of hair on one side of the stem, tear-shaped leaves, and grows a tiny white star-shaped flower.
Edible parts: leaves, stems, flowers
There are a few flowers that look similar to dandelion, but a dandelion can be easily identified by its leaves. Dandelion leaves make an arrowhead shape at the top of the leaf. Other leaves are more rounded.
Edible parts: The whole plant. Roots, leaves, stem, flowers
Plantain grows everywhere except the Antartica. The bottom of the leaf stem has a purple/red color, and the leaves are thicker with strong, raised veins on the back.
Edible parts: leaves
Wood Sorrel (also known as sour grass) has a distinct delicious lemony flavor. My girls really enjoy this plant as a treat! Its leaves are heart-shaped, and the flower color can vary. In my area, the most common flower color for wood sorrel is yellow.
Edible parts: flowers, leaves
What plants have you taught your kids to identify?
Jill is a child of God, a wife, and a homeschool mom of 4. As a certified family herbalist, her passions include reading and researching health and home remedies, and sharing with others the knowledge she gains. You can find her blogging at Jill's Home Remedies and connect with her on Facebook,Twitter and Pinterest.
Come watch Hannah make some herb art in today's video. Round up your kids, gather your supplies, and make some herb art of your own!
Chris and Denise live in South Florida with their two children Hannah and Matthew. Chris works full time to support them while Denise is a stay at home mom who home-schools the children. Hannah (age 6) is full of energy, ideas, and adventures. She loves nature, animals and gardening. Matty (age 4) has his own passion; he loves cars, trucks or anything with a motor or wheels. He also loves gardening and they both love being in the kitchen with mom cooking, baking and making herbal creations.
Remember Stacy's Herbal Salad yesterday? Well today Shoshanna has a great dressing that's a perfect fit for that salad... any salad really!
Watch and enjoy!
Do you have a homemade salad dressing recipe that's to die for? Share it with us in the comments below!
Meagan Visser is the blog editor at Bulk Herb Store as well as the owner of Growing Up Herbal on Etsy, where she offers natural, herbal skincare products for children. Connect with her at her Shop and Blog or email her at meagan (at) bulkherbstore (dot) com.