Speedy skin healer, ribwort plantain makes an excellent soothing, emollient and nourishing oil that can be used for bruises, wounds, eczema or other skin inflammations.
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Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata), as well as Greater plantain (Plantago major), are growing everywhere. Many people have them in their gardens but don’t know about them which is a pity. They are great healing agents that have been used in herbal medicine for centuries. I would like to explore their topical use and healing effect on the skin.
In this article you will learn:
- Incredible benefits of plantain for skin
- Having plantain infused oil all year round
- Easy 3 steps how to make plantain oil and video
- Uses of plantain oil
BENEFITS OF PLANTAIN FOR SKIN
Due to substances called aucubin and tannins plantain possess astringent properties. These emollient and soothing mucilages create a protective layer on a wound or bruise, reducing pain, and discomfort (1).
In adition these substances have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, therefore, can be used for the treatment of skin inflammations such as impetigo, ecthyma or eczema (2)
Powerful antioxidant allantoin present in the plantain and responsible for cell growth also regenerates tissues. Ribwort plantain is thus also effective in the treatment of burns (3)
This burn gel with calendula and aloe vera comes in handy for someone who experienced mild burns or sunburns.
Plantain oil has been successfully used by herbalists to treat insect bites and stings
This calendula cream is also very effective against bug bites
Having Plantain oil all year round?
During spring and summer time you can enjoy the healing effects of plantain and apply its fresh leaves directly on a wound or bruise. Herbalists recommend applying the wrinkled leaf of greater plantain first to clean the wound and remove pus (discharge). Only after the wrinkled leaf of ribwort plantain to heal the wound.
Another very common method to benefit from fresh leaves of plantain is spit poultice where you chew a few leaves, then apply this ‘spit poultice’ to the affected area.
This works great if you have access to the fresh leaves but what do you do when they aren’t in season?
The herbal infused oil is a unique way of transferring valuable fresh herbal material into an apothecary formula that can be used later.
HOW TO MAKE PLANTAIN OIL
There are 3 steps involved in the whole plantain infused oil process
Start with the herb.
So make sure you are confident that you collect the right plant, in our case either ribwort plantain or greater plantain. They are easy to identify and you will see them in every meadow, around your house or the pathways. Make sure that the place is free of pesticides or other chemicals. Don’t forget to watch for dogs or other animals whose excrements could also spoil your desired plantain oil. Leaves can be collected from early spring to fall.
Select the carrier oil.
This seems to be easy but make sure you select the right one for your skin. There are certain aspects you should look out for when it comes to your infused oil, how often and on which type of skin. In my case, I want to use this plantain oil to make moisturizing body butter. For this, coconut oil is just the perfect moisturizer that gives your skin a healthy, smooth and even tone. Here is an exhaustive list of oils to choose from as per your skin type. I also like to choose them organically, local and preferably fair trade.
Select the infusion method
There are several ways to infuse plantain oil. I plan to use my oil in the winter when fresh ribwort plantain is out of reach. This means I have enough time to go for the traditional cold maceration method. I place my oil in a dark place for a period of 4 weeks and leave it to macerate. If you are in a hurry and want to have your oil ready as soon as possible, you better choose the double boiler method. Place your jar filled with carrier oil and plantain in a double boiler. Slowly heat the mixture to a maximum of 60 degrees Celsius. Simmer for at least 5 hours. After this time you can fill the jar with the second batch of plantain leaves and repeat the process to make a double or triple infused oil. Strain the mixture with a soft cloth and you will get rich infused oil full of medicinal properties.
FRESH OR DRY LEAVES?
If it’s flowers you want to infuse – dry them first. When it comes to thin leaves of plantain you can decide whether to use fresh leaves or dried ones. They are not too juicy to spoil your oil. Just make sure you never infuse freshly washed herbs into the oil as it will result in mold development and your oil will be spoiled. So wash them, let them dry and then infuse them. You can also not wash them if you don’t want to. If you decide to go for dry herbs, dry them quickly at 50 degrees and make sure they are wrinkle free as otherwise, they tend to turn black in color. You want them to be green when dried. In general, infused oils made of dry herbs last longer than those made of fresh ones.
HOW LONG WILL THE OIL LAST?
If stored in a dark and cold place it should last up to 1 year.
10 SECRET USES OF PLANTAIN OIL
- use it as a base to make a body cream with shea butter and essential oils – recipe is coming soon
- use it as a body oil if your skin is seriously dry.
- as it as a first aid kit to heal wounds – abrasions, cuts, tears, and dog bites for their healing effects (these wounds tend to heal faster).
- plantain oil with coconut oil makes an ideal cuticle oil that you rub into cuticles to make them easier to cut or push back
- To treat skin inflammations such as impetigo, ecthyma or eczema.
- Burn relief – First aid for mild burns
- to treat your Insect bite stings used on its own or combined with tea tree essential oil.
- Massage oil – use on its own or combine with other essential oils
- The healing power of plantain together with the moisturizing effect of coconut oil makes a perfect oil to use for diaper rash
- Are you tired after a long day at work and need to unwind in a hot bath? Add your plantain oil in the bathtub together with 1/4 cup of Epson salt and you will feel the difference.