Medicinal Action and Properties—Refrigerant, diuretic, deobstruent and somewhat astringent. Has been used in inflammation of the skin, malignant ulcers, intermittent fever, etc., and as a vulnerary, and externally as a stimulant application to sores. Applied to a bleeding surface, the leaves are of some value in arresting haemorrhage, but they are useless in internal haemorrhage, although they were formerly used for bleeding of the lungs and stomach, consumption and dysentery. The fresh leaves are applied whole or bruised in the form of a poultice. Rubbed on parts of the body stung by insects, nettles, etc., or as an application to burns and scalds, the leaves will afford relief and will stay the bleeding of minor wounds.
Okay, so I don’t know much about anything with this plant except what I’ve experienced with it. My mom told me that it was for mosquito bites and made an infusion out of it for our mosquito bites, but it didn’t work for me. She showed it to me ALL OVER THE GRASS. Now mind you, we don’t put pesticides on our grass…. yeah, I could say that I’m trying to keep it looking natural… I do the best I can, I really just don’t have time. I’m lucky if my lawn looks nice. Mom also told me that another use was for bee and wasp stings and spider bites. I’d never had to deal with that in my kids, so I thought we were fine…. until… we did.
We were playing at a park with a wooden swing and other playground equipment. We would all sit on the swing with our sandwiches and then the kids would go play. It just so happened the wooden swing was a home of some wasps. My little 2 year old got stung on the ankle. I decided to try it out. I ran out in the grass and quickly located some plantain and grabbed a few leaves. I chewed one up in my mouth and spit it out on the sting. Then I covered it with another leaf and tried to distract him. About 20 minutes later, he wanted to put his sock and shoe back on and headed off to play again. The red part that had been spreading quickly went right back to a small pink area.
At the time, a family member had watched the scene with interest and was shocked. He’d mentioned how painful a wasp sting was for him and that it had swollen his leg for days. I was thankful for that knowledge!
But…. for some reason, I was not convinced. The next year, my then 3 year old ran out into the grass without shoes or socks on. I was a little distracted with our new little one and the church service. He came back screaming. I realized he had stepped on a bee and I chastised him about taking his shoes and socks off. (Grass would be so soft to run in if not for the thorns and other harmful things that prick you; like bees!)
I frantically asked everyone around me if they had any sting stuff in their purses or on them. I knew they probably wouldn’t, but I was desperate. Praying, the knowledge came back into my head and I ran out to look for some plantain in the grass. Sure enough, there was some, I chewed it in my mouth, put it on the sting, and put another leaf on top of it…. again, healed within 20 min. at the most. (I don’t think he sat still that long this time) Again, people around me were shocked and interested at my crazy behavior. A mother will do anything to save her child! lol.
That same summer, my daughter came in stung by a mud dauber. I decided to try baking soda first… and failed. A couple hours later, I tried the plantain and it did not work. I guess I waited too long because the plantain did not work this time. In fact, she complained for a couple days straight about the harsh sting in the middle of her chest. I’m glad I know to do it first, but it was no fun.
Yep, we’ve dealt with stingers a couple of times since then, but they all heal fast with plantain… chew it up, spit it on the sting, and wait for the magic to happen.
To look for Plantain, go out on your lawn (as long as it’s not been treated) and look for leaves with the veins running straight up. There are two different types of plantain that I’ve noticed on my lawn, but they both do the same thing.
Wide Leaves Narrow Leaves
Other Herbs for Stings include:
Wasp and Hornet Stings: White Willow, Stinging Nettle, Chickweed, Plantain, and Yellow Dock
Bee Stings: White Willow, Stinging Nettle, Chickweed, Plantain, Yellow Dock, and Dandelion