In order to make some anti-itch balm for my itchy skin from poison ivy (yes, I got it again but not real bad) and insect bites, I thought I’d try using plantain, a
weed herb that grows in our yard.
Plantain, also known as “white man’s footprint” is not to be confused with the banana-like fruit. It’s a low growing plant with oval leaves that sends up flowers in midsummer.
Plantain is high in beta carotene and calcium. One of the other chemicals found in plantain is allantoin which promotes wound healing, speeds up cell regeneration, and softens skin.
One of the most common uses is as a poultice for stings, bites, scrapes, and rashes. Since hubby is putting up a bee hive, it will be good to have plantain around in case one or both of us get stung. The leaves are just crushed and put on the affected area. It’s also said to be soothing for sunburn. But I since I wanted a convenient balm I needed to make some infused oil.
It can be harvested from spring to frost, but be sure that you pick it from a yard that has NOT been sprayed with chemicals.
For the infused oil, I harvested quite a bit of the plantain leaves.
Now for a bath to rinse off all of the dirt.
There are several different ways to infuse oil. This one I found is the easiest for me. I only use dried leaves. Some people infuse with fresh herbs, but you run the risk of mold and other icky stuff. So I prefer to use dry. So now to dry my plantain. I put it in my dehydrator and wait. You can also dry in the oven at low heat.
It took about five hours for the leaves to be completely dry. Here is my bowl of dried plantain.
Now to the fun part! I stuffed my canning jar full of the dry herb.
I then poured oil over the dried herb. I used Jojoba oil because it’s gentle and good for the skin. Rumor has it that Jackie O used Jojoba oil on her face every night so it must be good!
However, you can use any oil you have – even olive oil. However, olive oil has a pretty strong smell that I didn’t want in my salve.
I then stirred the oil with a chopstick (you could use a spoon) to be sure the herbs were fully covered in oil.
After making sure the herbs were all covered in oil, I put on the lid and set it on the candle warmer.
I leave it for eight hours. I’ve seen a range of time for infusing with a candle burner but this seems to work for me. I was happy to see that I had picked enough plantain for another infusion.
After 8 hours I strained out the herb. I use an old knee high hose to strain and the infused oil goes into my pan to make my balm. The herb can be used in soap or put on the compost. Since we’re not into making soap right now, it’s now on the compost pile.
Tomorrow we’ll make the anti-itch balm. Yeah! Hope to see you then.
Interesting; always like to see and read what others do for natural healing. Thanks, will check back later.
Oh I can’t wait until tomorrow! I am bit up and itching from head to toe! This happens to me every spring and I have no idea what is biting me. I was itching so bad that I just took an oatmeal bath and some Benadryl. Fortunately Benadryl is one of the few medicines that I’m not allergic too! I would much rather use an herbal balm though.
Robin, I know what you mean. I can hardly go out without getting all bitten up. I don’t know if it will help you, but it’s worth a try. Stay tuned for another recipe for keeping them from biting us. I’ve just mixed it up and haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for dropping by.
Okay. Absolutely awesome. I wish I knew how to get a hold of plantain leaves around here. Also, I am in love with your food dehydrator. What kind is it?
Leslie, Plantago Major can be found in backyards here. I’d think you’d find it in your neck of the woods. If not, you can order it from mountainroseherbs.com.
My dehydrator is an Excalibur. And what’s even neater is that it’s made in the US! Here’s a post where I brag on it.
I just googled Excalibur and bought it online. My only wish is that I would have bought the larger one.
Thanks for dropping by!
I was really amazed at how easy the steps you have shown here. It seems fun to follow your tips as well. I am now eager to try this one for myself. I want to give my deepest gratitude. Would be great to have this in hand and might use when time needs me to.
After I dry the herbs in my excalibur – I take out the trays and put the jars of herbs & oil right back into the dehydrator – turn on to about 105 degrees and infuse for about 48 hours.
Nancylee, what a great way to infuse oil. Thanks so much!
This plantain plant looks like something I see growing wild out in the patch behind our house. How do we know that it’s actually plantain?
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Susan, More than likely it is plantain since it’s a weed and grows wild. Look at my picture and also google it and then compare to what you have. If it looks like them, then that’s what it is. There is also another variety that has smaller leaves, but this is the one we have in our yard.