Wildcrafting Plantain in Your Own Backyard

Plantain is probably the number one medicinal herb that everyone needs to learn to recognize and use. Wildcrafting plantain is easy, fun, and has a host of medicinal rewards. More than likely, this herb is growing in abundance all over your yard, just waiting to be put to use. It grows basically everywhere, even up through the cracks in city sidewalks.

Medicine in your own backyard? Wildcrafting plantain is great for bee stings, cuts, and more.

Remember those tall-stemmed weeds with the seed heads on top that you could twist up to pop the heads at one another when you were a kid? That’s plantain!

Medicine in your own backyard? Wildcrafting plantain is great for bee stings, cuts, and more.
Do these look familiar?
photo credit: minicooper93402

Besides being super fun for shooting your friends, plantain is full of medicinal qualities. It is vulnerary, which means it heals wounds, anti-microbial, soothes itching, and reduces inflammation – all of which make it perfect for an antibiotic ointment.

Plantain is also an expectorant and soothes coughs. I’ve used it along with mullein in an herbal cough syrup for my kids with excellent results.

How to Identify Plantain

To find plantain in your yard, look for those tall stems with seed heads on top or look for clumps of deep green leaves. Look closely at the leaves to see if the veins are parallel.

Medicine in your own backyard? Wildcrafting plantain is great for bee stings, cuts, and more.
Spearleaf Plantain
Plantago lanceolata
photo credit: C├ęcile

You may also find broad leaf plantain, which has the same medicinal uses. The seed heads are taller (not so fun to shoot), and the leaves are wider and rounded. Look again for parallel veins – these will distinguish broad leaf plantain from other herbs with similarly-shaped leaves, like yellow dock.

Medicine in your own backyard? Wildcrafting plantain is great for bee stings, cuts, and more.
Broad Leaf Plantain
Plantago Major
photo credit: Christophe Quintin

Both varieties of plantain are excellent medicinals, and they each grow abundantly throughout most of North America. I have both types growing in my yard and frequently see them at parks and campgrounds we visit.

Fresh plantain leaves are an excellent first aid for bee stings, mosquito bites, and minor cuts. Just gather, crush them some with your fingers or by chewing, and apply to the bite or cut.

Get out there and start wildcrafting plantain! Let me know what you discover.


This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is intended only for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your healthcare routine.

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