Friday, July 18, 2014

Plantain Tincture

What's Plantain?: Plantain is an herb that grows just about everywhere and it's easy to recognize. For this reason, it's a great starter for the novice herbalist. It's been used for hundreds and probably even thousands of years to treat a number of different ailments from dandruff to upper respiratory infections (source).

Of course, you should always consult your physician before using any herbal/natural remedy!

How Do You Recognize It?: There are a few different varieties of plantain. The one that grows most in my yard, and with which I'm most familiar, is the broadleaf plantain (Plantago Major). It has very distinct Broad Leaves. The veins on the leaves start at the base and extend outward. Plantain also has very distinct flowers (pictured below) and the leaves will usually grow around the base of the flowers (as seen in the middle picture).

How Do You Use It?:

  • The leaves and juice from the leaves can be used to treat sunburns, bug bites, and minor scrapes and burns. Plantain contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, think of it as a natural Neosporin.
  • It can be made into a tea or tincture to help tummy troubles (diarrhea, indigestion, ulcers).
  • The same tea can be used as a hair rinse to treat dandruff.
  • Plantain is rich in tannins, which can be an aid in stopping bleeding.
  • A tea or tincture applied externally can reduce the itching that comes from poison ivy, poison oak, bug bites, or rashes. 
What's a Tincture?: Tinctures are basically extracts of a particular herb. This is usually done with alcohol. It can also be done with vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar, but alcohol (vodka or grain alcohol no lower than 80 proof) will create the strongest tinctures, with the highest concentration of that herb's extract.

Here is a really great article on that goes into more depth *in plain English* about tinctures. It includes dosing guides as well. Actually, it's a really awesome website all together.

NOTE: If you're harvesting plantain yourself rather than purchasing it dried, be sure to harvest from an area that you're certain hasn't been sprayed by lawn treatments, other chemicals, or ... ahem ... your dog (or other animals).

I'll be making my tincture with fresh plantain. This stuff is everywhere in our backyard, and there's a little patch in the corner where no one really bothers to go.

What You'll Need:

-A good bunch of fresh plantain leaves. How much depends on the size of the container you'll be using.
-A mason jar with a lid
-Vodka or grain alcohol (80 proof or higher)
-At the 2 week point you'll want to transfer your tincture to a dropper bottle, so either buy some now or plan to buy some within the next two weeks.

What to do:

1. After you've harvested your plantain leaves, give them a good cleaning to remove any dirt. Then chop give them a good chop. Alternatively you could chop them in a food processor. Just don't over do it. We're not making plantain pesto here. :)
2. Put the chopped plantain into your jar.
3. For every one part of chopped plantain leaves, add in 2 parts alcohol. Make sure all leaves are covered to prevent any mold issues.
4. Put the lid on and label with what it is and when you made it. Give it a good shake! Store in a dark cabinet.
5. Shake the plantain daily for two weeks.
6. Strain with a mesh colander or some cheese cloth, and store in a dark glass dropper bottles. Label and store in dark cabinet.

Aside from the uses that I mentioned above, this article has some neat and specific dosages for different uses for plantain tincture, as well as some of the other herbal preparations that can be made with it.

This is a list of some of the awesome sites that I occassionally link my posts at. They're all great blogs about anything from parenting, simple living, cooking, homesteading (backyard and large scale), gardening, Christian life, frugal living, etc. Check them out!
The Chicken ChickThe Prairie Homestead- Homestead Barn HopStrangers and Pilgrims on Earth- The Art of HomemakingHomestead Bloggers Network- Tasty TuesdayBackyard Farming ConnectionGrowing Home- Growing HomemakersWildcrafting Wednesday, So Much At HomeHope in Every SeasonGreen Thumb ThursdayHome Acre HopFrom the Farm HopFarmgirl FridayFront Porch FridaySimple Meals FridayBetter Hens and Gardens.


  1. I have made lots of tinctures and I love using plantain for different purposes, but I have never made plantain tincture. I will now... thank you for the information. :)

    1. You're very welcome! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

  2. Hi Ashley, I never thought of making a plantain tincture! Thanks for the inspiration! I like having all those powerful herbs bottled in jars in my pantry. It feels good to be prepared for that rainy day when you need a bit of God's medicine. Thank you also for joining in on our weekly link up. Looks like we have a lot in common :)

    1. I totally agree! Sometimes I just marvel at how God has tucked healing in the most seemingly ordinary and insignificant places. Like a reminder that He is always there, He knows our needs even when we don't. He's got our back. We just need to discover it. And it's usually not too far away from our doorstep. :)

    2. Exactly! I found I have high cholesterol and what do you think I found growing outside my back door? Purslane! God is amazing! Thanks for this article. I use plantain in a salve for all of the above but will also make a tincture come spring time to have on hand as well for those times you can't use a salve, like for dandruff. I just need to see if I can make a purslane tincture for year round use@

  3. I have plantain coming up all over my yard and in my garden. I never knew what it was until earlier this week. I now I have a use for it other than adding it to my compost pile. Thanks!

  4. I have harvested about a cup of plantain seeds and was wondering if I could use them to make a tincture? I already make salve with the leaves I harvest and want to add to my collection.

  5. Made tinctures but turned a very dark brown. Is that the norm?