My mother is a skilled herbalist and gardener, and I grew up absorbing the knowledge she shared— these are edible, these are deadly, this will protect against insects— a wealth of information. One of my earliest experiences of engaging with herbalism, of truly marveling at the power of plants, came in the wake of an unpleasant kerfuffle with a hidden hive of ground-nesting bees. After multiple stings, my mother treated the spots with a poultice of plantain leaves from the yard… and it was like magic! The relief I felt was tangible, and so began my love of the wonder weed plantain.

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major) is one of three varieties found throughout North America (along with Plantago Rugelii and Plantago lanceolata). Though it has a variety of medicinal uses, and both the leaves and seeds are edible, it is one of my garden “go to’s” for skin ailments— which is why I am pleased to say that I have updated my recipe for Alchemy hand salve to now include this marvelous herb! Now doubly-infused, first with calendula and then a second time with broadleaf plantain, Alchemy is like liquid gold for hard-working hands.

Find Plantago major in…


  • Binney, Ruth. Plant Lore and Legend. Dover, 2016.
  • Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn, 2020. [SHOP NOW]
  • Cunningham, Scott. Magical Herbalism. Llewellyn, 2021. [SHOP NOW]
  • Lust, John. The Herb Book. Bantam, 1974.

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