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Thread: 3 of my favorites: Plantain, Bear Root, and Comfrey

  1. #1

    Default 3 of my favorites: Plantain, Bear Root, and Comfrey

    Plantain Ė itís a great all-around plant that is excellent for treating bug bites, bee-stings, stinging nettle, etc. It stays green most of the year, and it can be harvested and used to create salves, or often I just chew a few leaves up and apply them to a bee sting or bug-bite when Iím out and about. It can be found most everywhere in North America, often right in your front yard. Just take care to not find any that may have been sprayed with pesticides or anything else toxic (not that people often unnecessarily spray their yards with chemicals).

    My son is allergic to mosquito bites, and they get rather large and itchy, and will stay swollen and irritated for up to a week afterwards. We had been using aloe straight from the plant to treat the bites (applied within an hour of the bite) and it worked great, they would stop itching within minutes and be gone the next day. Our poor little aloe plant took a beating from this constant harvesting this summer, and we switched to using plantain as a poultice from plants right out of the front yard. When also applied within the hour of the bite, it works just as well. Iíve used it as a poultice on bee-stings numerous times and had good results, especially when mixed with a little bit of tobacco.

    Bear Root Ė also known as Osha Root. It grows wild in the Rocky Mountains and Southwest of the US, and is considered a traditional medicinal herb. It doesnít take well to any sort of cultivation, so it must be harvested wild. Take great care in harvesting this plant, as it looks almost identical to poisonous hemlock Ė however, once you know the smell of the root, you wonít mistake the two. I can often buy dried Osha Root from an herbal or metaphysical store.

    It got its name from the Indians who noticed that whenever bears werenít feeling well, and when they first came out of hibernation, they would seek out this plant, and ingest it and rub it all over themselves. Itís a very powerful form of medicine, both spiritually and physically. I discovered it from a Shoshone/Ute friend of mine who uses it in his sweat lodge ceremonies. He would sprinkle some ground up root on the rocks after the door was closed. Besides twinkling like little stars as they burned, the smoke from this root burning would immediately open up the passageways in your lungs, and you could breathe far easier. I also have a small bottle that our doctor prescribed us as a tincture, and we mix some with a small glass of water and take daily whenever a cold is starting in our house. Itís great for lung inflammation, and helps calm coughing fits, and is known for having anti-viral properties as well.

    Comfrey Ė this plant is quite easy to grow in your garden, and is very prolific with regards to leaf material produced in a season. This is another plant you should be careful with, as if taken internally on a regular basis can cause liver failure. I would not recommend taking it internally, even if you find recipes for comfrey tea out on the intertubes. However when applied topically, it is great for burns, wounds, healing scar tissue, and is traditionally known as knitbone or boneset, and the derivation of its Latin name Symphytum is from the Greek symphis, meaning growing together of bones, and phyton, a plant.

    Our family most commonly uses it as a salve form for treatment of wounds and burns. You must be very careful with treating open wounds and burns with this plant however, as it will cause your skin to grow back very fast Ė fast enough to trap any dirt or other foreign material in your wound and cause infection. One must take great care to make sure your wounds are completely clean before using this salve as a treatment. On bad burns, we often use a salve of calendula first, until some of the healing has happened, and then use the comfrey ointment to finish the healing process. If used to help the healing of a deep wound or particularly bad burn, you will often find that you wonít have any lasting scars from your injury after the healing is complete.

    I just wanted to share a bit of some plant uses I know. Please feel free to add anything you know about these three plants in the comments. As with any herbal/medicinal plants, please be very careful with regards to identification, preparation and dosage. Donít believe just anything you might find out there, but please use common sense.

  2. #2
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    31ļ4.3'N, 84ļ52.7'W
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    A friend fixed up some Comfrey salve and sent it to us to try. It works GREAT! I've used it on cuts and stings and I agree it promotes healing. I don't know if it was a placebo effect, but it feels really good on burns if you store it in the fridge.

  3. #3
    Junior Member doomed preppers's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    New York. not the cite


    Thank you for this post. Have you ever heard of jewel weed?

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