Broadleaf plantain ( Plantago major ) is a weed that’s common in lawns and along footpaths. Photo by Saara Nafici.
It is a common sight on paths and lawns. The broadleaf plantain ( Plantago major) is a weed that you’ll be seeing a lot of throughout the summer. In spite of being a weed, it’s extremely persistent. Mow it, walk on it, then weed-whack it and this perennial will come back due to its slow-growing habits and its regenerative crown. The good news is that it can be used to its advantage as its leaves are anti-itchy and can soothe bites from bugs (see the recipe below for more recipes).).
The broad, glossy leaves of broadleaf plantain actually look attractive. They have a venation that is nearly parallel and form an roset (circular arrangement). Because it is wind-pollinated, this plant doesn’t require dazzling or vibrant flowers. Instead, it produces flowers that are green and produce an abundance of seeds throughout the summer. The seeds are known for their resilience and are able to survive in the soil for long periods of time, according to some accounts, it can be as long as 20 years! If you’ve seen lots of broadleaf plants you can tell that the soil is likely to be very moist and compacted. In time, however, its fibrous roots break down the hard soil, allowing other plants the chance to thrive there as well.
Broadleaf plantain doesn’t have any connection to the plant that makes banana-like fruit. In the past, it was discovered that its seeds were accidentally blended with cereal grain as well as other crop seeds helped in spreading its seeds across the globe.
Broadleaf Plantain Anti-Itch Salve
Broadleaf plantain ( Plantago major ) can be used to make an salve that takes the itch off of mosquito bites. Photo by Saara Nafici.
The leaves are layered on top of the food dehydrator. In the dehydrator, let them sit overnight to ensure that the leaves are dry. If you’re using an oven, lay the leaves out on baking sheets and bake them at the lowest temperature setting until they’re dry and brittle. Be sure to check often to make sure they aren’t burning.
After drying crushed, measure 3 cups. Place them in the large jar.
Place the cup in a cheesecloth cover and secure it with the help of a rubber band.
Remove the plantain leaves using the water from the container into it into the measuring cups. Make sure to squeeze out all the oil from the cheesecloth. Now you have oil infused with plantain.
The beeswax should be heated in a heavy-duty pan at a low temperature. When the beeswax begins to melt, you can add infusion oil and stir until it is combined.
Once the mixture has been completely mixed and melted, pour into your salve bottles. You can add a few drops essential oil, if you would like.
Let the lids cool before you put the lids on.