A poultice made from Plantain (plantago major) is effective at relieving boils, blisters, and bug bites. It grows everywhere in North America & stays green most of the year. Barring any pesticides or other pollutants, the leaves are safe and entirely edible, however most wild animals and insects are not particularly partial to plantain so you should not have much trouble finding enough intact leaves. A simple cure from an adaptable plant to make a true home remedy. Recommended to me by a naturopathic doctor, this little fix has never failed.
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Step 1: Find Plantain
Finding the plant can be very easy or very difficult depending on where and when you're looking... It often grows in sidewalks or along driveways where the grass meets gravel or concrete. If you live anywhere in Canada or America, the best place to check is often your own front yard. Don't confuse it with a Dandelion or other small weed.
Step 2: Collect Leaves
Once you know what Plantain looks like and where to find it, collect a bundle of the best-looking leaves you can grab. One or two handfuls should be enough.
Step 3: Wash Leaves
Bring the leaves inside and soak in warm water. Gently scrub the leaves to remove any dust or dirt.
Step 4: Dry & Sort Leaves
Lay the wet leaves out on a paper towel to dry, then sort through them, remove the stems and discard any bad pieces.
Step 5: Cut, Crush or Bruise Leaves
Once you have your choice pieces of plantain, grab a cutting board and a knife or a mortar and pestle. In an emergency situation you can simply chew the leaves in your mouth and use saliva to make a poultice.
Step 6: Get It Wet Again
Take the plantain leaves and add a few drops of hot water - just enough to hold the chopped herbs together.
Step 7: Application
You can apply the poultice directly to the problem area or use a strip of cloth or gauze as a barrier. As the juices of the plantain leaves dry it creates a drawing action to relieve blisters, boils and bites or stings. Once the poultice has dried out you can continue the process by re-applying more wet leaves, and re-wrapping. A bite or sting should see results rather quickly while boils will slowly disappear over time with frequent use.
Step 8: Maintenance
The bandages should not be tied or taped too tight as they will be removed in a short time (possibly to be replaced periodically). Depending on where the bite or boil is, wearing loose clothing may be helpful. If you've chopped the leaves rather than simply crushing them, you will likely have tiny bits stuck to your skin but once the liquid has evaporated they will brush or blow off like dust.
Step 9: Conclusion
Simply soothed stings supply smiles.
Plantain is great as a stand-alone remedy because it is versatile and easily accessible. Whether you live in the city or are stranded in the wilderness you can almost always find it, grind it and get relief for minor irritations from it.
Dried plantain leaves can be purchased at many health food stores but the bag isn't exactly cheap and not anywhere near as effective as freshly picked.
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