Plantain makes an excellent first aid treatment for cuts, scrapes, bites, stings, and other skin wounds. Made into a convenient salve and boosted with tea tree oil, this is a must-have for families.
As we’ve learned, even though plantain is a very common backyard weed, it’s also an extremely beneficial plant to know well.
It can be used in a variety of ways, but my favorite way to put it’s healing properties to use is in a convenient salve or balm.
This salve can be used in the same ways that other over-the-counter wound ointments are used. It can be applied to broken skin before bandaging and is safe for the whole family.
Similar to my Skin Soother Salve (or The Green Stuff, as our family calls it), this Simple First-Aid Salve is a simplified version focusing just on plantain. That makes it perfect for anyone just venturing into the world of herbs!
To review, a salve is made from an oil that’s been thickened with a wax, usually beeswax. Often the oil is first infused with beneficial herbs. Sometimes essential oils are added before the salve solidifies, which then technically makes a balm.
Clever readers will notice that I’ve called this recipe a salve, even though an essential oil is added. My reason: Simple First-Aid Salve sounds better than Simple First-Aid Balm. Yep, less technically correct, but it just rolls off the tongue better, no? So understand you’re actually making a balm here, even though I call it a salve for the sake of a better title.
This balm uses coconut oil to quickly penetrate the skin, along with grape seed oil, which is slightly astringent and will help to tighten the tissue around a wound.
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Simple First-Aid Salve with Plantain
- 1 oz dried plantain leaves, about 1/2 cup (carefully foraged from unsprayed areas and quickly dried, or purchased from here or here)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil
- 1/2-1 oz. beeswax, about 1/4-1/2 cup grated wax
- 25-50 drops tea tree oil* (I use Florihana brands)
*If you’ll be using the balm on children over 6, you may use the full 50 drops tea tree oil. If using the balm on children ages 2-6, 25 drops is preferred. If you’d like to use the balm on babies, use half or all lavender essential oil in place of tea tree.
- Place plantain, coconut oil, and grape seed oil in a small heat-safe dish, like a Pyrex bowl, to infuse. I prefer to do this in my toaster oven set on the warm setting. You can also do this by preheating the oven to 300, turning off, and placing the bowl in the warm oven; or by very gently warming in a double boiler. Infuse the oil for about 3 hours.
- Allow the oil to cool, then strain through a small strainer or sieve lined with a lint-free cloth. Squeeze out as much oil as possible.
- Combine the infused oil and beeswax in a small pan or double boiler and very gently heat until the wax melts, stirring occasionally. Using less wax makes for a softer balm, while more wax equals a firmer finished product, so go with your family’s preference.
- Allow the mixture to cool until warm and liquid, but no longer very hot. Add the tea tree oil, then pour into a 2 oz container.
- Label the bottom portion of the container with the name, ingredients, and date made.
This balm will have a long shelf-life with the added essential oil and lack of water, but I like to make sure our salves and balms are used up in about a year to ensure they remain effective.
Mountain Rose Herbs is a fantastic place to get all of your ingredients and supplies for easily making salves, balms, and other skin care products at home.
5 Other Recipes Using Plantain
If you’re looking for more ways to put this often-free and extremely valuable herb to use, try one of these recipes.
- My Skin Soother Salve features plantain, as well as two other excellent herbs for the skin.
- Tooth powder takes a unique turn with this Plantain & Kelp Tooth Powder!
- Infusing plantain in apple cider vinegar, like this, is another valuable way to convenient use plantain through the year.
- This herbal first-aid salve features plantain, St. John’s Wort, Calendula, and Comfrey.
- Another herbal salve version includes garlic, chamomile, and olive leaf.