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Lynn Shore showing plantain growing on urban patch of grass

During our Foraging for mental health workshop

Plantain (Plantago major) is also known as plantain leaf or plantain weed, and is not to be confused with the banana-like fruit. In addition to being edible, Plantago has a long history of use in folk medicine, even if it is not as useful a medicinal than its slender sister Ribwort (Plantago lanceolota). It has served as a folk remedy for snake bites, insect bites, cuts and rashes for ages. It’s also a common component in healing salve, generally used on skin, for wounds and other conditions.

Plantain is a highly nutritious wild edible, that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten. The seeds are also edible. However, ingesting large quantities can cause a drop in blood pressure.

It is is an herbaceous, flowering, perennial plant that grows in lawns and fields, along roadsides, and in other areas that have been disturbed by human activity.