While walking the dog I noticed multitudes of broadleaf plantain by the river. They are so common, I can remember even seeing this ‘weed’ as a child.
Broadleaf plantain isn’t just a childhood nostalgic plant from local Ontario, but originates from Europe and Asia, and has spread over most of the world because their seeds have become mixed in with other cereal grains. Plantain is a resilient plant that grows in compacted soil, and can often be found sprouting from sidewalk cracks – they can bounce back from plenty of foot stomping!
What I would never have fathomed about this plant is they are so highly nutritious and edible, packed full of vitamins A, C, and K – including a high calcium content. Young leaves can be consumed in salads and the older, denser leaves can be broken down in stews. So, save some money on groceries!
It gets even better. This ‘weed’, that we’ve been trampling over all our lives, also has medicinal properties to heal wounds if applied as a paste due to cell-growth promotion and anti-microbial properties which prevent infection. Scientific studies have found mild antibiotic properties in broadleaf plantain, as well as anti-inflammatory, and wound healing activity.
Broadleaf plantain has been widely used in folk medicine throughout the world. Make the leaves into a tea to treat diarrhea or dysentery; add the flowers and seeds to your tea to soothe a sore throat. Traditionally, the roots were used for respiratory infections and to treat fever.
I look forward to finding out how it tastes!