Last week I was picking up our package of bees from a local guy, Joe May, who's sort of famous amongst bee keepers and gardeners (he's got 100s of hives in his back yard plus over a hundred varieties of apple trees!) While showing us a hive he split (sans any protective gear!) one bee got him on the forearm. So he bends down in the yard, picks this leaf, pops it in his mouth for 5 seconds and rubs it over the sting. "Plantain will take the pain away in 15 seconds" he says. I ask him to show me what it looks like and realize this stuff is all over my yard.
Fast forward to this morning, I'm gardening with the kids and my nose won't stop running and I can't stop sneezing. I'm willing to deal with it so I can be outside, but wouldn't it be nice not to deal? I grabbed my copy of The Complete Medicinal Herbal, which is one of my favorite books (and thrifted!) finds ever. I've always favored more natural, less processed cures for aches and pains and was so excited to discover uses for fruits, veggies and herbs I'm already familiar with like apples, oranges, cabbage, celery, mint, basil and more in this guidebook
So I look up allergies in the back and scan for something familiar... eyebright, ground ivy and then... BINGO! Ribwort Plantain (plantago major/plantago lanceolata). The very same little weed Joe grabbed for his sting. I read on to see a poultice for fresh leaves is a cure for slow-healing wounds and bee stings. He was right on! Other uses include infusing the seeds into a tea to help get things moving in the digestive system, a gargle for sore throats and a juice for allergies.
So that's what I did! I gathered a basket of plantain leaves from the yard, grabbed a little wood sorrel too (because I love chewing 'em whenever I spot 'em!) and popped them into the blender with a knob of ginger and a little water.
Its been about 45 minutes since I took it and wow - I definitely feel the difference! Almost like how you'd feel if you took some sort of mucus relief pill. The taste of the shot wasn't all that great, but also wasn't terrible. I chased it with a little water and a date. My guidebook recommends doing it three times a day but I think I'll only take it when I'm feeling especially sniffly. I'm also drinking a lot of water, which I always do when taking anything with astringent qualities.
Finally, I'm not a doctor and this info is for my personal use is not intended to treat or diagnosis a medical condition. Use herbs with the guidance of a health care practitioner. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.