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Christopher Hobbs Herb Walk


is a ubiquitous weed that every herbalist appreciates. It contains a high percentage of mucilage, which gives it its soothing properties; allantoin, to speed wound healing; and aucubin, a strong antimicrobial, antibiotic substance to help prevent infections. In Europe it is used to treat hay fever and respiratory congestion; it is well suited for children. Plantain soothes inflamed and irritated tissues of the respiratory, urinary, and digestive tracts. The tea can be taken freely for coughs, irritable bowel, colitis, cystitis, and painful urination. When used fresh, it is the best herb to chew up and stick on a sting, bite, burn, or wound. It always seems to take the sting or pain out, speed the healing process, and prevent infection. The herb can counteract severe staph infections when applied fresh with echinacea tincture. Plantain leaf blended with a little water to make a paste can be spread into a small piece of gauze or cheesecloth, rolled into a small cylinder and inserted into the mouth on a herpes sore, ulcer of the gums, inflamed gums, or abscess. Other plantain species are the source of psyllium seed, and the small seeds from P. lanceolata and P. major can be used similarly. Soak 1/2 teaspoon in a little warm water and drink in the morning as a soothing bowel cleanser and regulator.