Thursday, October 01, 2009

Plantian - A wonderful weed

This lowly little plant may look like another weed to erradicate to most gardeners, but lets take a second peek and the meek little Plantian.

Plantian is a very common weed throughout North America. Many a gardener has worried about removing it from his yard or lawn, but I hope to convince you to keep at least a small organic patch of it growing somewhere near your home.

A few years ago a good friend of mine was visiting me and as we sat out on the back porch, we were swarmed by mosquitos. After several bites, my friend showed me the best trick for taking the itch out of an insect bite. He strolled over to the weedy patch along side my driveway, picked a couple leaves from this little plant and proceeded to show me how to roll the leaf and smash the edges to get some of the plants juice out. We then applied the juice directly to our mosquito bites. The relief was instant and within a few minutes the reddness, swelling had subsided along with the itchiness!

I couldn't believe it! What a great bit of wisdom from my good friend Paul!

I was so amazed at the anti itch properties of this plant that I developed a salve from this plant for bug bites and itches. I've been using this now for several years and it is a winner, so I wanted to share this old timers wisdom with others. Here's my simple recipe:

  • 2 good handfulls of plantian leaves (try to harvest your plantian at least 100' from a roadway to avoid pollutants on the leaves)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cheesecloth
  • lavender or some other fragrant essential oil (optional)
  • 1 small refridgerator container with lid (a jelly jar works great!)
  • food processor
Wash your plantian leaves in cold water to remove any insects or dirt that may be on them.

Place leaves in food processor and blend to a puree adding small amounts of olive oil to form an emmulsion. (you want about the consistancy of a good pesto) Add 1 drop of essential oil if you want to add scent this mixture.

Allow the emulsion to steep together for 24 hours in a covered container unrefridgerated.

After 24 hours place the emulsion in the cheesecloth and strain out the oil. Small peices of leaf in the final mixture are fine, but I try to strain most of the vegetable matter out.

Once strained place the emulsion in a covered container and keep in your fridge. It will set up into a thick greasy paste that will be fine for up to a year in the fridge. Label well so it doesn't get eaten!

To use this wonderful salve simply rub on mosquito or other bug bites and works as good or better than any on the market "itch be gone" product I've tried.

It's safe for kids too! My neices and nephews called it Tia Christi's Bug Bite Relish!

So the next time you are out pulling weeds I hope you'll see this plantian in a new light and save a bit for your bite!

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