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Plantain Salve Recipe (Homemade First Aid Ointment)

Affiliate Disclosure | in Natural Remedies | by | with 106 Comments

First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

It’s a weed . . . it’s a banana . . . no . . it’s . . .

Plantain – the most useful “weed” in your backyard! If you’ve ever secretly wanted to be Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, give this a try: The next time your little one comes to you with an owie – say a wasp sting on her eyebrow for example – kiss it until the stinging stops. Then go on your way, completely forgetting about it until she wakes up looking like she went three rounds with Rocky Balboa.

Oops. So, in this **purely theoretical** situation, here’s what you would do next: Head out into the backyard and begin gathering “medicine” with your little one. Relish the way she takes it in with wide eyes. Are you feeling the Medicine Woman vibe? Good. Now pick a leaf, pop it into your mouth, and chew – then stick the green wad right on the sting. What, NO??? Well, for the record, it works. But if you want something a bit more, uh, not gross, you can use the plantain salve recipe below.

Plantain – A Versatile “First Aid” Ointment

Plantain, which goes by the same name as the close relative of the banana, is sometimes called the “band aid” plant. Thanks to the presence of iridoids, it has a very soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on skin. (source) It also contains aglycone and aucubigenin, which have documented antimicrobial activity. (source)

 Plantain is considered helpful for:

    • Bee/wasp stings
    • Spider bites
    • Mosquito and other bug bites
    • Poison ivy/poison oak/sumac (this remedy using plantain and jewelweed is great)
    • Eczema
    • Psoriasis
    • Sunburn
    • Diaper rash

    Backyard Treasure Hunting: How to find plantain

    If you don’t have access to an area that has not been sprayed with pesticides, you can find dried plantain here. Or if you prefer not to make your own, you can find plantain salve with goldenseal here.

    First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

    Plantain Salve Recipe

    Makes about 1 cup

    Ingredients

      • 1 cup fresh plantain leaves gathered from an area that has not been sprayed with chemicals, chopped
      • 1 1/2 cups olive oil or melted coconut oil
      • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated beeswax, tightly packed
      • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon rosemary or tea tree essential oil OR vitamin E oil, optional

      A note on preservatives

      To preserve the freshness of the salve and inhibit microbial growth, most people use grapefruit seed extract. I don’t, and this is the reason why. According to renowned herbalist Susun Weed, “Infused oils in an olive oil base resist rancidity at cool room temperature for several years.” (source) However, because plantain leaves contain some water, it’s important to follow a few guidelines to prevent mold:

        • Only use very dry leaves
        • Make sure your jar is also very dry
        • If you are infusing for several weeks, make sure to fill the jar all the way to the top with oil. This will inhibit mold.

        Quick Version

        1. Harvest your leaves on a dry, sunny day. Pull off any parts that look sick or diseased and brush off dirt with a dry cloth if needed.

        First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

        2. Chop leaves or grind them in a food processor.

        First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this. First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

        3. Place ground leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil. The oil should completely cover the leaves.

        First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

        4. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your crockpot and place your jars inside. Add enough water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting for 12-24 hours. I set mine to warm.

        First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

        5. If desired, give the oil a quick whir with an immersion blender to release more of the plant into the oil. Keep in mind that if you do this too much you will end up with tiny bits of plantain in your salve.

        First aid ointment made with a common backyard "weed." My kids are going to love this.

        6. Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. Let the oil sit for several hours. If there is any water in the oil (from the plantain leaves). it will collect in the bottom of the jar. Removing water extends the shelf life of the salve.

        plantain-extract-recipe-7

        7. Now that you’re plantain oil is ready, gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler. When it is melted, add the plantain oil while taking care not to pour in any water that may have collected at the bottom of the jar.  Stir until thoroughly mixed. If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

        plantain-oil-recipe-9

        8. Pour your salve into a clean, dry container and allow to cool. Now you’re ready for the next bug attack, bee sting, or brush with poison ivy!

        plantain-salve-recipe

        Slow Version

        1. Harvest your leaves on a dry, sunny day. Pull off any parts that look sick or diseased and brush off dirt with a dry cloth if needed.

        2. Chop leaves or grind them in a food processor.

        3. Place ground leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil. The oil should completely cover the leaves (with room for the leaves to expand a bit) and go all the way to the top of the jar.

        4. Allow jar to sit for 4-6 weeks at room temperature.

        5. Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve.

        6. Now that you’re plantain oil is ready, gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler. When it is melted, add the plantain oil while taking care not to pour in any water that may have collected at the bottom of the jar. Stir until thoroughly mixed. If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

        7. Pour your salve into a clean, dry container and allow to cool. Now you’re ready for the next bug attack, bee sting, or brush with poison ivy!

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        106 Responses to Plantain Salve Recipe (Homemade First Aid Ointment)

        1. Lee says:

          hi there! i have been working with plantain for a few months now, and i love it! my only question is can i keep the little bits of fresh plantain in my salve? vitamin e is a good preservative so i was going to up the amount i use, do you think that would keep it from molding or going rancid? thanks so much! : )

        2. Ingrid says:

          Hi, I am from Manitoba Canada. My Mom would use fresh Plantain leaves on infected areas and it would draw the infection out amazingly well.
          She used it on; boils, cuts/sores that had gotten infected, and slivers/embedded foreign objects which needed to be drawn out.
          Does anyone know if it retains its drawing properties when prepared in this way? I only know how to use it fresh and really miss having it available in the winter.

          • lee says:

            hi ingrid! i have made an infused plantian oil with olive oil, and another one with almond oil. i put drops of it in my salves, and i’ve even used the oil straight on cuts or bug bites. so i say yes, it does retain it’s drawing out properties! : ) anything i put that oil on…BOOM! it heals!

        3. Diane says:

          I looked for this when a brown recluse bit me!!
          Just heard you on the summit with Dr. Axe too!

        4. pam says:

          How can I make it with golden seal added? And what does it do? Thanks Pam

        5. Kyla says:

          Hi there I want to make these recipe but i don’t have beeswax, What else can be used aside from beeswax? tnx 😀

        6. rebecca says:

          Where can I find the tiny mason jars shown in the final photo ?

        7. Penny says:

          I picked up a bottle of sunflower oil mixed with my olive oil (it is a blend). Would that work? I am unfamiliar with sunflower oil in a role such as this.

          • Tom says:

            I read that sunflowers absorb toxins in the soil, so I would only use organic. I personally wouldn’t use refined oil, either, sticking with a cold-pressed one to retain the properties of the oil.

            I love coconut oil and I want to make this plantain oil the cool, slow way, but coconut oil is solid here in this season, so I will blend a little olive oil with some melted coconut oil so it will be liquid at room temperature.

            • Doug says:

              If you are going to use any oils, make sure the oil is ‘cold pressed’ or ‘organic’. If the oil is not identified as any of these, it is most likely that the oils are extracted from the product using a solvent, most commonly hexane. The manufactureres are not required to list this extraction process and they are not required to test the concentration of any remaining hexane in the product. At low levels, this solvent is not supposed to pose a health risk, (whatever 😉 but if a person is going to go through the trouble to be more ‘organic’ with the health remedies, my personal opinion is it makes sense to ensure the ingredients are as healthy as possible as well.

        8. 10 Natural Remedies For Eczema - MommypotamusMommypotamus | says:

          […] be very soothing for skin. We use lavender and tea tree in our bug bite balm, and plantain for our homemade first-aid ointment. Lavender, chamomile, helichrysum, cedarwood and geranium are all […]

        9. Sadaf Maqsood says:

          Hi,
          I wanted to make this salve, but I have dried plantain leaves.so I was wondering , will I still use one cup of plantain? Can you please tell me what proportion of oil and plantain leaves should I use.

          • Penny says:

            I always dry my leaves out for several days to ensure there will be no water moisture in the final product. I simply fill my jar with the leaves, loosely, and then cover them with olive oil. I don’t measure it anymore.

        10. nadia says:

          Hi, is there a way to substitute the fresh plantain leaves with dried ones, or a powder? I have no access to any plantain leaves, so wondered if dried / powdered version would work? Thanks

          • Diane says:

            Yes, use dried calendula flower petals. Calendula has very good healing properties and I make a salve out of it in the same way this recipe for plantain does.

        11. Patti says:

          When you pick any type of leaves for an herbal use, make sure you do not pick next to a roadside or where vehicles maybe parked. The chemicals from pavement or asphalt & the residue of carbon monoxide & etc. from vehicles, run off during a rain & will be absorbed into the plant.

        12. Lacy says:

          Ummm… How to put this… Is it supposed to smell vaguely of goose poo?? o_O

        13. Vicki Koenen says:

          Cann you freeze them?

        14. Evelyn says:

          Because my yard and attached field is full of clover and, because I hate to wear shoes, I get stung on the toes every summer by bees. My yard has lots of this wonderful plant and I grab it and chew it up and put it on my toe and attach a bandaid and wear it for about 12 hours and it takes, not only the sting away but also the terrible itch that accompanies the sting.

        15. Hedy says:

          Hello… I am new to the thought of using plantain…I have heard that it might help with nerve pain. As well as joint pains.. I am currently waiting for surgery on my back…. But would love some natural relief. ….Any ideas on how to use it for this?
          I would like to grow this indoors so I have some on hand…. This way I know that it is natural.
          Does this plant need plenty of sunshine? What are the conditions like for this plant to grow the best ?
          I want to make a salve for my son to help his skin … As he has psoriasis and I would love to find/have a cheaper salve for him … Thank you in advance for the help, support , and any ideas….

        16. Kathleen says:

          Oh my word, this would be a great use for the SEA of plantain growing in our yard! :-)

        17. Kristen says:

          How long does the quick salve last? It’s been raining here a lot Andy picked some fresh leaves from the years without letting them dry. I of course plan on letting the water separate out, per the directions. Just wondering how long it will last in a small jar.

        18. Darin says:

          Does it matter which kind of plantain you use? I have some broadleaf, but mostly lanceleaf.

        19. Billie says:

          I found a recipe for plantain salve using lard. Would this be okay to use instead of beeswax?

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