This Common Driveway Weed is One of Nature’s Most Powerful Survival Plants

C. Davis
By C. Davis June 15, 2015 14:35

This Common Driveway Weed is One of Nature’s Most Powerful Survival Plants

Plantain, not to be confused with the banana type fruit, also called Plantain, is a plant which can be found almost anywhere. In fact, if you’re not living in the city, it’s kind of hard not to bump into it.

Plantain it’s super nutritious, easy to identify, has no poisonous look-alikes and it is used as medicine.

Medicinal Uses:

The leaves contain some interesting bio-active compounds:

Allantoin: This chemical is an anti-inflammatory good for wound healing and auto-immune diseases. (Source) Interestingly still, allantoin is an ingredient in a few cosmetic creams because of its cell growth stimulation properties and can also be found in creams for nappy rash in babies (see recipe section later in this article).

Flavonoids: Studies have found a variety of medicinal uses of flavonoids, including anti-microbial (including anti-virus, bacteria and fungus), and anti-diarrheal (Studies)

Phenolic compounds: These are another group of chemical compounds which have anti-oxidant properties useful for a wide variety of conditions (such as prostatitis).

The compounds in Plantain make it a highly viable plant for medicinal purposes when no modern medicine is available.

Dishes and Medical Recipes With Plantain:

A Plantain Poultice

Plantain Poultice(Source: ‘The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook: A Home Manual’ by James Green)

This recipe uses the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity of the Plantain. It is great for cuts, sores and insect bites, including the bite of the brown recluse spider.

  1. Take a handful of Plantain leaves
  2. Mash the leaves (or better still chew them, our saliva can help release the active ingredient for the poultice – if you do this, don’t swallow the juice as you need that for the poultice)
  3. Warm the resulting mash in your hand and place this on the affected area
  4. As an alternative, you can use the leaves from a Plantain tea (see Plantain tea recipe below) and use this instead as the poultice


Plantain Tea

Plantain TeaHerb tea is nothing new and Plantain can be used to make an infusion which can be used for a wide range of digestive problems including diarrhea. As mentioned above, even the left over leaves from the tea can be used as a poultice for cuts, wounds, stings and bites.

  1. Take a large handful of Plantain leaves
  2. Chop the leaves up roughly and place in a vessel that can handle very hot water
  3. Boil two or three cups worth of water
  4. Add the boiling water (it must be boiling) to the leaves in the vessel
  5. Leave to brew for as long as you feel is right (take the odd sip as it does to get the flavor right for you
  6. Strain the liquid through some cloth (retain the leaves for a poultice)
  7. Drink the liquid
  8. If you have anything citrus, such as a lime or lemon, add this as it offsets some of the more astringent flavor of the Plantain

Plantain Rabbit Bake

Rabbit with plantainAs well as having bioactive ingredients that can help us fix injuries and disease, Plantain, like Dandelion, contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin A, B6 and C. These vitamins are essential in helping to keep your immune system functioning well and fighting off infection.

Plantain can be used in much the same way as spinach, although eaten raw it is a bit stringy and tough. So use it cooked, but not over cooked, just lightly blanched; this is the ideal way to cook with it, to retain the minerals and vitamins.

This recipe is very simple and uses the plantain leaves to create a wrap for the rabbit.

  1. Prepare your rabbit for baking
  2. Cover the rabbit breast, leg, etc. with fresh plantain leaves
  3. Bake in an oven until rabbit is thoroughly cooked
  4. Serve with various other herbs such as wild lettuce, wild garlic, wild asparagus, wild onions, burdock and chicory

Plantain Ointment for Nappy rash (and any other sores)

plantain oilThis recipe uses the cell re-growth and anti-inflammatory properties of the Plantain.  You can use it on babies with nappy rash or adults with rashes such as that if you’ve touched Poison Ivy.

  1. Take some Plantain leaves
  2. Finely chop and dry the leaves
  3. Place the leaves in a jar or similar lidded vessel
  4. Pour oil into the jar until about ¾ full
  5. Shake and let sit for several weeks
  6. After this strain the oil through some cloth and put the infused oil into another vessel

You can use like this from the jar, or if you have any beeswax available (or similar organic wax) you can mix molten wax with the infused oil and let it cool and set before using.

Related: The Only 4 Antibiotics You’ll Need When SHTF

And a quick one…

Toothache, oh boy, we all hate it and the thought of no dentist to deal with the pain makes me want to learn an alternative fix which I can quickly put my hands on and use. Plantain, again, comes to the rescue. Chewing plantain leaves can help with toothache and if you can’t chew, as it’s just too painful, then mash the Plantain up with a mortar and pestle, or if not available use stone on stone and put the mash on the affected tooth for about 30 minutes. Not only will it help soothe the pain but the anti-microbial properties of the plant will help remove or prevent infection.

So, the next time you see a Plantain weed, growing out of a concrete slab, or the edge of a carefully mown garden, don’t pull it, cultivate it and try out a few of the recipes here to see what a powerful medicine it can be.

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C. Davis
By C. Davis June 15, 2015 14:35
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  1. Pam June 16, 00:39


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  2. The Faker June 17, 17:12

    I also combine the plantains in my combination of picked wild greens, which includes poke, ground hog weed, mouse’s ear, snake’s tongue, dandelion, sour dock, and Shawnee. Don’t know any of the scientific names for these plants, but that is what my parents and grandparents called them, and combined, they make for a delicious spring cleaning. I first cook them in boiling water, then transfer them to an iron skillet that is hot with bacon grease. Delicious with a little salt. Done in the hills of Logan County, West Virginia.

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    • happygolucky July 26, 13:57

      You wouldn’t happen to be in Okla would you? I am very curious about some weeds in my area and no one can help me identify them. I can identify Plantain and poke, but there a couple of others I wish I could get help identifying.. can YOU help? 🙂

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      • Becca August 17, 03:31

        I am from Oklahoma and we have some scary weeds here. Buffalo Burr is one of the worst. I am still trying to identify some weeds. Red dirt gardening and Preen have images of many Oklahoma weeds. We also have some amazing edibles. Many of the small hardware stores with gardening supplies can help you identify almost anything if you bring it in to them. Also, co-ops can help as they have the pesticides to get rid of weeds. Talk to local farmers. Find a small town with a co-op and if all else fails, talk to any of the older Native Americans. The name they give you may not be scientific, but you can find information based on the native name for the weed. Good Luck. The wild sunflowers are my favorite weed so far. They are pretty, they smell good, and they are everywhere. Not sure if they have value, but I love wildflowers.

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      • Jim September 28, 00:49

        If your county agricultural extension agent cant identify it try asking a senior citizen in your neighborhood, they can be a wealth of valuable information.

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      • la0508 March 26, 19:16

        Post photos!

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      • Rose April 27, 15:45

        You might try enlisting the help of your local Department of Natural Resources, DNR. I use to work for an older gentleman who wanted to turn his 13 acres back to its natural state. When we couldn’t identify some of the plants/weeds that already existed, we called DNR. The DNR agent who came out was very helpful and there wasn’t a single plant he couldn’t identify. Very good infomation from him on these natural habitat plants as well.

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    • T September 30, 14:04

      Can I trust this recipe if you call yourself the faker?

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    • Deb March 9, 11:43

      You really need to boil the poke leaves 3 times before adding to the other greens. They can be very toxic.

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      • Rose April 27, 15:49

        Pokeweed is poisonous when it is more mature. I was told that you should only consume it when it is very young and less than a foot tall. And yes boil 3 or 4 times even then.

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      • Doggiemomma October 10, 00:31

        Good for you for knowing this. When I read the previous post, saying to put it in with the other greens, I cringed.

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  3. Pema June 17, 17:19

    I am wondering if you can tell me what is the natural cure for psoriasis or exzema that is like psoriasis. I would really appreciate some advice. Thanks.

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    • Janet July 26, 13:52

      I used to have rough red flakey patches on my skin. I started using natural soup and no longer have a problem. Try Dr. Bonner’s and use the liquid soap watered down for shampoo. I haven’t had skin problems since.

      Reply to this comment
    • Rich Herm July 29, 02:38

      Parasites are usually the cause of Most Ill health issues.
      I do Vibrational ‘Readings’ of Saliva to find out what is wrong and what Herbal(s) or Homeopathic remedies may (usually) fix the problem. Send me your name and address for a brochure and info.,

      Reply to this comment
    • ladybugrules October 5, 16:31

      Diet is also a cause of skin issues,cut out processed foods and if it is caused by parasites take a human grade Diatomaceous Earth to rid yourself of parasites while adding benefits like Natural Source of Silica. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is composed of approximately 85% silica. …
      Promotes Skin Health. Because diatomaceous earth is a strong abrasive, it is often used as a toothpaste and facial exfoliator. …
      Supports Heart Health. …
      Natural Pesticide. …
      Internal Cleanser.

      Reply to this comment
    • Jake January 3, 15:49

      Was wondering if you have found anything to help with your psoriasis. If so can you send any info. to me ( Thanks

      Reply to this comment
    • Dee September 4, 21:48

      For you Exzema, try the old fashion remedy made exclusively for it…..Noxzema! NO X ZEMA…. Women used it on their face and it left the skin soft and supple. Next thing you know it’s sold as a woman’s skin care creme.

      Reply to this comment
      • Lisa December 1, 20:38

        Nozema was also developed for sun burn. i used it on my DD, and it usually stopped blisters. (she is a natural redhead) Also use it as an overnite hand cream. Usually resort to gloves. Also it will not stain your sheets.

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  4. Lew June 18, 18:17


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  5. Sensor June 23, 19:26

    Thank you!

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  6. Sensor June 23, 19:27

    Thank you!SUPER!

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  7. ken July 9, 20:58

    Like yo bit book

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  8. vonn July 14, 16:14

    love the info. always knew there was healing in some plants. my grandmothers told me of some. but over the years I have forgotten most of what they said. glad to know some info is still out there.

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  9. happygolucky July 26, 14:08

    The directions for tea says you can use the leaves for poultice . I just made some tea to try it out. It wasn’t bad. The flavor is milder than what I thought, but for my question, can I freeze the leaves and use them for poultice later? I know when SHTF I won’t have a freezer, but I do now. I don’t want to waste them if I can freeze them..

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    • C. Davis Author July 27, 14:16

      I’ve frozen Basil one time. I don’t know if it works for plantain. But if you do it: rinse the leaves in cold water, blanch them for just 6-8 seconds into boiling water and quickly place them into a bowl with ice water. Let them dry and then you can put them into the freezer. I hope it will work.

      Reply to this comment
      • Brad S April 27, 20:10

        According to Dr Michael Gregor at (great website by the way), blanching vegetables such as broccoli etc. destroys or alters certain nutrients in the vegetables, so I’m thinking maybe that I might try mine without blanching.
        Thanks for your good post.

        Reply to this comment
        • ladybugrules October 5, 16:38

          that is how I freeze evrything,I just skip the blanching part and evrything stays good in the freezer,never had problems with freezer burn either

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          • sheise October 26, 20:10

            I HAVE READ: You can chop the herb and portion into ice cube trays. Fill cube with water or olive oil and freeze. Remove cubes into labeled and dated Ziplock bags. Regarding a comment above on Plaintain: Plaintain can weather through winter–let nature preserve your Plaintain, even in power outages.

            Reply to this comment
    • Brad S April 27, 19:59

      I’ve read that you can freeze fresh spices such as basil by chopping them up & freezing with water in ice cube trays, then you can store the ice/herb cubes in labeled zip lock bags to free up the ice cube trays. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with plantain.
      Also, some herbs, such as Echinacea, are more potent fresh (or frozen) than dried, , but would not be good if you’re going to put them in an oil, as moisture in the plant parts wouldn’t mix well with the oil.
      I’ve also read that some herbs should be decocted (made into tea) in a covered pan so that certain elements of the herbs aren’t lost, but whether it’s important or not depends on which herb you’re using.

      Reply to this comment
    • ladybugrules October 5, 16:33

      you can freeze or dry the leaves,I do this all the time and it works fine

      Reply to this comment
  10. slowdance August 25, 01:32

    been using this weed for years ppl thought we were crazy, nice to hear others know the truth about plants!

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  11. Cherokee September 13, 07:36

    I use lance-leaved plantain for many things…nature’s bandaid. Contains salicylic acid, like aspirin, can cut the pain of minor cuts and scratches. I cut myself with a knife out in the woods, and grabbed some of this, mashed it up, rubbed it on the cut, applied pressure to stop bleeding, then jabbed a blister on a Douglas fir for the sap to ‘glue’ another leaf in place, after sealing the cut with Douglas fir sap until I could get home and wash it well.

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  12. ed September 19, 04:33

    Tried to download book,…..never got it! Even checked the “junk” file in my email….nothing!
    HELP!! pls send to:

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  13. Carlyn3676 November 16, 21:01

    I tried to download the free e-book ” The SHFT Medicinal Plant Map and Survival Book. But I never received the promised email. Can you help with this problem?

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  14. Mark January 30, 15:58

    Another name for plantain in this area (Central and Western TX) is tallow weed. The plant is very high in nutritional value for livestock. Some old timers value this plant as livestock forage more than filaree.

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  15. Valerie February 10, 14:07…

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  16. BOB February 17, 19:10

    # 1 How do you keep plantain or put it up till you need it ? # 2 I am the old guy Mr. Davis and I was wondering if there is a printed copy of your 68 med. plants, etc. that can be purchased as I don’t have a printer, mine bit the dust some time back and I don’t know anything about printers and computers. My kids set up this thing and they have since got married and moved away. Me and my wife are alone now and she is not healthy. So do you think you could help me out ?

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author February 19, 16:08

      Hi Bob, you can dry it first and keep it in a cold dark place. Unfortunately the book is available only as an e-book, but I’ll send you an e-mail when it will be available in hard cover. I’ll send it to you free of any charge.

      Reply to this comment
    • JLiq July 30, 17:22

      If you download the ebook to a thumb drive, you can take it to Staples and they’ll print it for you (for a fee, of course).

      Reply to this comment
  17. Diane March 28, 23:31

    Found your site via The Lost Ways. Would like copy of ebook Medicinal Plants.
    Thank you for all you do!

    Reply to this comment
  18. butchwaxy April 7, 14:32

    cant get the book….help!!

    Reply to this comment
  19. Dodger April 11, 04:50

    A wealth of information! Thank you!
    I downloaded the book to my gmail account, where I store all my SHTF info, but would rather get your Askaprepper posts in my everyday email. Could you change my subscription from”” to””? Thanks, again!

    Reply to this comment
  20. Marie April 27, 14:17

    How might I obtain a hard copy? Please RSVP

    Reply to this comment
  21. Marie April 27, 14:19

    Please tell me how I might obtain a hard copy. RSVP

    Reply to this comment
  22. Rick May 16, 13:28

    Don’t forget the seeds are a great source for sprouts.Nutritious and delicious.

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  23. singletree45 July 27, 01:40

    Your first picture is of Major Plantain and the picture by the tea cup seems to be Minor plantain. Which one is the one described in the text of the article?

    Reply to this comment
  24. dP_Ted March 8, 17:28

    I’m glad there are other uses for all this plantain besides eating/drinking it. Thanks for all the info and the recipes!

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  25. Bozo March 9, 13:23

    Think! Life of mankind began in the garden?!? Many wonderful finds to be found!

    Reply to this comment
  26. Knee-Deep January 27, 19:04

    My grandparents passed on the uses of medicinal plants to my parents and I wish I would have wrote them all down,but ces la vie.(thats life)…I can remember my mother using plantain leaves on bad cuts with infection.She would wrap the leaves with a black grease that would draw all the infections out and would heal in no time.Also my dad would make a tea with lemons with the plantain for congestion.Worked fine.

    Reply to this comment
  27. GMC September 4, 00:56

    I live in Ohio and have Plantain so thick in my yard you can’t take a step without walking on it. Oh, I really enjoy The Lost Book of Remedies! Its nice to have so much information in one spot!

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  28. Akira April 11, 20:36

    I killed them with the weed killer before I found this site

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  29. Eric December 6, 02:00

    I know the article was about plantain but if you want great help with a toothache then try oregano oil it works miracles
    with tooth pain

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