Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason why certain "weeds" grow abundantly is because we can benefit greatly from using them just as abundantly as they grow?
Plantain is one of these abundantly available and abundantly useful herbs!
Pictured: Plantago Major
It really is a worthy herb at taking heat out of the body, and it is sometimes referred to as a "green band-aid." If you get a bug bite or sting, you can find some Plantain nearby, chew on it (the enzymes in your spit activate its healing properties), and then place the chewed herb on the wound to reduce redness and pain.
It's also relieving for eczema, hot spots, and blisters, and you can use it to dry out splinters and slivers. On top of that, it contains vitamin K to support collagen production to help repair skin damage. Plantain is the plant to use on the trail when you have a hotspot or blister starting. And the good news is that Plantain is almost everywhere in the summer months.
Pictured: Plantago lanceolata, a.k.a. Rib Wort
Internally, Plantain is wonderful for gut health, as it works as a vulnerary herb, healing, soothing and coating the digestive tract and working with inflammation within the body. It's also wonderful for supporting lung health and soothing the inflamed conditions of chronic UTI's. To best utilize Plantain, you can make it into a strong infusion with tea either fresh or dried. Not one to typically tincture, Plantain.
Or get creative by making an infused green oil for cooking and/or using on the body. Toss it into soups and stews, sauté it, turn it into pesto, and even wrap it around other food for steaming. Yum!
The reason why Plantain is found everywhere is because it spread throughout North America and the world alongside the process of colonization. While this fact does sting, due to the painful history we collectively share with colonization and its inherent violence, there is also a soothing reminder: as this literal burning and wounding took place in the world, the earth offered up Plantain as a soothing and effective treatment for such wounds in the individual. Plantain is tenacious and grows wherever it needs to grow to be of service to those who need its gifts.