A Weed for your First Aid Kit

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Growing up as a child in the country much of nature’s bounty grew freely in yards and along the roadside. Many happy hours were spent playing outside, and  there were plenty of berries, rhubarb, fruit trees and walnut trees to stave off hunger. Tender spears of asparagus and dandelion greens were taken home to be washed and prepared for dinner at no cost to our family. While there are some who consider dandelions to be a weed, we grew up eating them and I since have learned there is much to gain from the nutrition in dandelion greens.There are also those who hunt mushrooms and prize some above the rest. There is always much to learn about nature’s bounty.

I was surprised the other day to learn about a plant I considered to be a weed. Now I am hesitant about what I remove from my lawn to beautify it. Am I ridding my lawn of something worthless and ugly, or should I take a second look? Before donning the garden gloves and pulling some ugly growth from your lawn, read on:

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Burn Relief

Plantain, or a large variety of plantago is one of the most popular folk remedies for burns in the United States. The juice from fresh leaves should be applied directly to mild burns for soothing relief. Referred to as “a backyard bandage” by the herbalist author of Kids, Herbs and Health, the fresh leaves when mashed contain a gooey substance containing anti-inflammatory substances and are antimicrobial.

Dandruff Relief

Boil stems and leaves in water and let cool until warm. The “tea” contains allantoin, which when used as a hair rinse will aid in the treatment of dandruff and cease the itching.

Hemorrhoid Relief

The same property found in the plant which eases the discomfort of dandruff and soothes the itch also aids in hemorrhoid relief when used in a compress.

Insect Bites and Stings

A poultice of fresh leaves has long been used for a compress known to give relief to insect stings and bites.

Sore Throats and Laryngitis

Commission E has tested and agrees that plantain contains effective antibacterial and astringent properties and when prepared in a tea plantain has brought about sore throat relief. It is suggested by James A. Duke, Ph.D. to use one teaspoon to one cup of boiling water.  It can also be purchased in capsule form.

Plantain = Fiber

One of the common ingredients found in fiber and weight loss products is psyllium or plantain. These products are used to aid in digestion and to help ease the patient’s hunger. 

Sunburn Relief

For the same reasons that plantain soothes and relieves, it again comes to our aid in bringing relief because of its wonderful ability to heal and knit injured skin cells and tissue. 

So you be the judge. Is it an ugly weed or a wonderful herb?

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