Plantain is not a weed, but a healing herb! Read about its benefits and its varied uses

Plantain is a healing herb from seed to root.

In this article you will learn what it looks like, how to process it and enjoy it fresh, dried or in the form of syrup.

What is plantain?

Paradoxically, the herb belongs to the group of weeds that are abundant all over the world. Pure plantain from your garden is not only edible but also nutritious.

The leaves are oval, slightly ovate, have parallel veins that run across each leaf and it has small flowers that grow on a tall stem.

However, it is not only edible and readily available, but has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

A flowering plant that grows in a meadow.

When and how to collect plantain?

Look for new plantain shoots at the beginning of the growing season. These have a slight flavor similar to asparagus.

You can even eat plantain seeds, but harvesting them is hardly worth the effort as they are really tiny.

Some people eat the whole seed shoot once its flowers have bloomed. These sprouts with seeds can be eaten raw or gently cooked.

How to process plantain?

The leaves can be eaten whole at any stage of growth, but its young leaves are the tastiest.

For example, use raw leaves like spinach and add them to salads and sandwiches.

You can also use the older leaves raw, but they tend to be more bitter and stringy.

The herb can also be boiled, but is a better solution for older, larger, stringy leaves. By quickly blanching or briefly frying, you reduce their bitterness and soften the fiber.

You can even blanch the leaves and then freeze them to use later in soups and sauces.

The dried plant can also be added to natural skin care products, including lip balms, lotions, and ointments.

Dried plantain leaves.

What does plantain cure?

The plant is not only nutritious, but also full of health-promoting substances and compounds that have long been used for its antimicrobial properties, wound healing and diarrhea treatment.

The plant is rich in vitamins A, C and K and also contains several important minerals such as calcium and iron.

The herb reduces inflammation. In particular, its leaves contain several anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce, for example, inflammation in the liver.

It helps with wound healing and is effective in treating leg ulcers.

It promotes better digestion and alleviates indigestion. Several compounds in the seeds and leaves, especially psyllium, are very effective ingredients and are used as a natural laxative. The herb extract supports the healing of stomach ulcers.

Side effects of plantain

Dietary supplements may cause mild symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and rash in some cases.

High doses can cause more serious side effects, including an allergic reaction.

Supplements derived from plantain seeds, such as psyllium, can also cause digestive problems, including gas, bloating, and uncomfortable fullness.

An extract from a herb that has healing properties.

Recipes with plantain

Steamed plantain – briefly blanch the leaves in boiling water and immediately cool quickly. Drain, then add a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil to the pan and toss the leaves in. Fry them quickly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add them to pine nuts or bacon bits.
Plantain soup – chop the leaves and cook them in chicken or beef broth for 4 minutes. You can add other ingredients to the broth, from noodles to vegetables or even pieces of chicken or strips of beef or game. (make one of these delicious chicken stock recipes )
Japanese Goma Ae – Boil leaves for 4 minutes in boiling water, then drop into ice water. Squeeze out the water and mix it with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Serve cold.
Green salad from a medicinal herb.

Recipe for plantain syrup

  1. Wash the leaves, drain and place in a jar
  2. First add a little sugar, then the leaves and mash them with a wooden spoon towards the bottom
  3. Repeat the process until the entire jar is filled and sealed
  4. Place the jar in a dark place for 3 months
  5. Open the jars and strain the contents and squeeze well
  6. Heat the resulting syrup slightly and cook for 2-3 minutes
  7. Pour the resulting syrup, still hot, into sterilized jars and close tightly
Infused plantain extract.

The standard daily amount for infusions or teas is around 150ml, 3-4 times a day.
In powder form, the amount varies between 3-5 grams per day.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)