Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Mommy, I don't want plantain, I want comfrey"

Today I got a call from my wife around lunch time, which isn't unusual.  But the story she told me sure was! 

For those of you who are not aware, a great deal of our medicines from from plants... or at least they started out that way before we figured out how to make the chemicals ourselves (i.e. Ibuprofen used to come from willow bark - or something like that).  Two of the many different weeds you will find growing on our property are comfrey and plantain.  These two plants have similar actions, but they would probably be better used in slightly different applications... but before we get into it, the story!

The story

Upon looking out the window to see what the kids were up to (or if they were even still on our property), my wife noticed my eldest scooting across the backyard on his third point of contact... okay, boys do weird things, but this was strange, even for him!  Upon investigation she learned that he had somehow cut his foot on something (yes, we let our kids play barefoot outside).  To remedy the problem he had found some plantain leaves, chewed them up and applied them to his wound.  Unfortunately the cut was on the bottom of his foot and if he stood up and walked, the poultice would fall off... so he was scooting along up to the house to get a bandage...

Next thing my wife knows, my other son announces he cut his foot, but insisted "Mommy, I don't want plantain, I want comfrey."

<Instructions to the reader: insert mental image of proud father here!>

So which child was right?  Is it plantain or is it comfrey?

In the past, when I got stung by a bee, I have chewed up the plantain and put it where I got stung.  Within a half hour (or faster) it didn't hurt a bit!  A few days later it did swell up, which was a problem... a problem I'm still trying to find a natural solution for.  But needless to say, plantain works wonders on bee stings!

Plantago lanceolata - This is the first type of plantain I have in the yard...

Plantago major - The other kind of plantain...

Comfrey on the other hand is a great healing herb.  I've been told that it is extremely important that you clean out any wounds before you put a pultice from these leaves on a cut, as otherwise the wound will rapidly heal over and entrap any dirt or bacteria that got into the cut in the cut... and that's not a good thing!  You can also make a tea out of it and drink it, although the government prohibits it's sale for internal consumption based on a study where they force fed it to rats and they got cancer... to put the study in perspective, you'd have to eat like 30lbs a day of this stuff to get the equivalent body weight percentage of it into your body each day... good luck with that and don't take the government's warning too seriously...

A comfrey plant.

The answer...

Well I have to be honest, I think they were both spot on.  If my eldest put the plantain on his wound because it hurt, great job!  If the other wanted comfrey because he wanted it to heal quickly, great job!  If they wanted to use those plants because they've seen daddy do it, well... how many times did you really need triple antibiotic ointment and a band-aid on all the cuts you've gotten? 

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post! It made me smile and how wonderful that your children already know what to do!