Cold and Flu Season Herbal Warrior – Plantain

Holiday stress and cold and flu season are upon us.  Today with the wind blowing outside I realized I am very ill prepared for the upcoming season. I am nearly out of my most favorite herb for treating cold and flu symptoms.  The funny thing is you have likely driven over this plant with your lawn mower or sprayed it with herbicide in your yard.



Plantain is a hardy perennial plant that grows best in moist areas with full sun or partial shade and compacted soil preferably in zones 3-9.  It has a smooth, oval leaf blades that are 2 to 6 inches in length with five to seven ribs that parallel the leaf margins.

Plantain is one of my most favorite and beloved herbs.  It is truly a plant ally in our household throughout the year but it is especially beneficial through the winter months.  I use plantain in all of my herbal tea formulas for congested and inflamed respiratory passages.

Plantain leaf has been evaluated by the European Medicine Agency for respiratory catarrhs and mild inflammation of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa.  The use of this beautiful little weed has also been published in scientific journals as an anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic and immunostimulatory herb with benefit for moderate chronic and irritative cough.

We use plantain (Mountain Rose is a good source) in our household particularly for sinus infections in the form of a tea.  We combine plantain with other herbs that are healthful for colds and flu such as echinacea, yarrow and licorice root.  You could also use plantain in a tincture form as well, our family just finds the tea a better medicine for us.

Plantain has been traditionally used for upper respiratory support but it is makes a wonderful ingredient in healing balms for eczema, dry skin, inflamed skin conditions, minor cuts, bruises, and stings.

The leaves of plantain are edible unless sprayed with herbicide!  Sadly this plant is definitely considered an invasive weed even though it can be eaten in a salad or cooked as greens or made into medicine.  Plantain is very high in vitamins A and C and is also a rich source of calcium.  I am ordering mine today.

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