Updated: Feb 16, 2021
After years of teaching bushcraft in London I am still so inspired about the many ways one can connect with nature in the city. Ribwort plantain (Plantago laceolata) is a prolific weed (or treasure as I like to see it) that can benefit our lives in many ways and also help us in reducing waste as we need to buy less products packaged in plastic. It also gives one a wonderful feeling of self reliance even if it is only in some small way. Here's my 5 fave uses for this overlooked plant...
1.) Insect bites and nettle stings
Ribwort Plantain is very effective at dealing with insect bites and stings. It is also much better than dock leaves to ease the discomfort of being stung by a stinging nettle too. Crush the fresh leaves with your fingers to extract the juice and apply to those pesky bites or nettle stings. You can also chew it to release the juices before applying. Alternatively use the salve or the infused oil mentioned below.
2.) Nature's plaster
In Poland it is call “Grandmother’s plaster” as it stops bleeding. Find a clean leaf and wash it. Chew or otherwise mash it to release the juices. Apply to the affected area.
3.) Medicinal tea
The tea acts as an effective medicine and is used to treat congestion in allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma. To use for hay fever prevention use regularly leading up to the hay fever season. Use the leaves fresh or dried to make the tea infusion.
4.) Nutritional leafy veg
It's a very nutritional leafy vegetable containing Calcium, vitamins A,C, and K. The young leaves can be eaten raw but larger leaves get tough and are better when cooked.
5.) Make a healing salve
I have saved the best till last... making a healing salve. Collect the leaves and dry them until they are crunchy. Add them to an oil such as almond oil, rapeseed or olive oil and infuse the leaves for 4-6 weeks. Then you can add this healing oil with melted beeswax to create a wonderful all round healing salve. It has been very soothing on over-washed hands during the pandemic! The salve is also good for nappy rash, scrapes, stings and abrasions. The perfect salve for an all rounder first aid salve for those seeking self reliance.
Why not book a group course to learn more about what nature has to offer including making herbal salves? For more information see www.londonbushcraft.com
Interested in more blog posts about all things bushcraft, nature and ways we can look after the natural world we live in? https://www.londonbushcraft.com/blog