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Stop The Pain And Swelling From Bee Stings Naturally With Plantain

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I love plantain.

Seriously… I’ve already used it so many times this year for one thing in particular.

Bee stings.

As much as I hate to get stung by a bee, I hate it when my kids get stung even more. My oldest has been stung 3 times already, and my littlest just got stung for the first time as I was gathering plantain from our yard and taking the photos you see here! I’ll have you know I immediately put what I’d gathered to good use, plastering it all over his face where it looked like the nasty wasp got him. Poor little guy! My middle son, Isaiah, SOMEHOW, has escaped getting stung so far this year. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it stays that way, but if luck isn’t on his side and he does get stung… mama will be prepared with the goodness of plantain.

So let me tell you a bit about plantain and why it’s so great for bee stings, and then I’ll tell you about two different ways you can use it if you or your kid does get stung by a bee this summer.

Plantain For Bee Stings

Plantain is an astringent herb meaning it draws the tissues together. This action is a result of the tannins found in the leaves.

Dark chocolate and wine also contain tannins, and if you’ve ever tasted them you know that they’re bitter, they’ll cause your mouth to pucker, and you start to produce more saliva in your mouth. This is a result of the bitter tannins. The bitter stimulates digestion, which is why you secret more saliva. Have you ever wondered why people say to eat a piece of dark chocolate after a meal or why you should drink a small glass of red wine while you eat? It’s because they help with digestion.

This same principle holds true for plantain. Sure you could use it to make your own digestive aid, but that’s not what I’m here to teach you about today. I just want you to know the science behind why it acts as an astringent. Remember…. “astringent”. It means – drawing, pulling.

When your toddler steps on a bee and you put crushed plantain on it, those tannins do their thing and cause the skin and tissues to tighten up. This helps to keep swelling to a minimum as well as reducing pain.

This astringent like action can also be used for helping to stop bleeding, reduce swelling and inflammation from burns, and to pull things out of the skin like venom, poisons, and embedded objects (dirt, small gravel, splinters, etc.).

Identifying Plantain In The Wild

There are 250 different species of plantain that grow wild, not only in the US, but all over the world. Today I’m showing you what’s most common here in the US called Broadleaf Plantain. If you’re not from the US, Google plantain in your area. You’re sure to find it. There’s also another common variety of plantain here in the US called Buckthorn Plantain or Narrowleaf Plantain, and it can be used the same as the broadleaf version.

Plantain, for the most part, grows anywhere, but it prefers moist areas with full sun to partial shade and compacted soil. It also prefers warm areas so you should be able to find it as long as you don’t live in a very cold region of the world.

Today I’m going to show you Broadleaf Plantain in the photos and help give you some insights on how you can identify it. I’ve also included a video I shot on how to identify plantain and jewelweed if you’re into watching videos!

identifyingplantain

And for the video… enjoy! This is for using plantain for poison ivy, BTW!

How To Use Plantain For Bee Stings

Spitty Green Goo

The first and easiest way to use plantain for a bee sting (and this is how I usually do it) is to find it growing in your yard or close to where you are, break off a leaf or two, stuff it in your mouth, and chew it like a cow!

I’m so not joking. I really do chew it, and no, I don’t have photos for you. I’d be way too embarrassed! LOL!

Once it’s chewed up, spit it out and plaster your kid with your green goo. Sure you’ll look like a crazy hillbilly, but seeing your little one relax and start to calm down will make it worth it. Sure you’ll have green spit running down your mouth and you’ll be flossing green grass out of your teeth for a week, but hey… that’s the natural life!

In all seriousness though, it’s not that bad. Just be sure to brush your teeth afterwards!

Leave the chewed plantain leaves on the sting for 20-30 minutes. It should help to reduce redness, itching, pain and stinging, as well as swelling. I’m tellin’ you… this herb is wonderful for bee stings.

I use it every single time, and I NEVER need an antihistamine such as Benedryl… and we have bee allergies in our family!

Plantain Vinegar

Alright, so if chewing and spitting out plantain leaves is just too much for you, that’s totally fine. You have another great option, but this one takes a little longer to make.

It’s called plantain vinegar.

All you need to do here is find some plantain leaves, chop or tear them up, fill a glass jar to the top with your fresh plantain, and then add in your apple cider vinegar… filling your jar up. Put your lid on and set it in a cool, dark cabinet for 2-3 weeks giving it a good shake every day or so. After your time is up, strain your liquid through a cloth that will catch your herbs making sure to squeeze the vinegar out of the plantain leaves once you’re finished. You can also use dried plantain for this if you can’t find fresh. See the steps in the photos below.

plantainvinegar

Next up, once you’re vinegar and herbs are separated, store your plantain vinegar in a glass jar in a dark spot along with some cotton balls and bandaids. When your child gets stung, soak a cotton ball in your plantain vinegar, put it on their sting and cover it with a bandaid so it will hold. Voila! You’re little one will be good to go in no time.

Don’t forget to compost your plantain after you strain it from the vinegar… or eat it. Pickled plantain is pretty yummy if you like vinegar tasting things!

Also… plantain vinegar is great for acne. This doesn’t really apply to small children, but if you have a teenager or if you tend to get acne, you can soak a cotton ball in your plantain vinegar and rub it all over your face after washing it in the morning and before bed. The plantain vinegar will help tighten the tissues, toning your face and pulling the toxins out of your skin. Keep it up! In 2-3 weeks you’ll have nice clear skin!

Enjoy, and here’s to you doctoring your little’s summer boo-boos the natural way!

Do you have a plantain success story? Share it with me in the comments below!

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12 Responses to Stop The Pain And Swelling From Bee Stings Naturally With Plantain

  1. JAMES R. June 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM #

    Thank you for sharing this Ms.Megan.
    ‘Twas very educational, & very interesting video.

    • Meagan June 26, 2013 at 7:31 PM #

      Welcome!!

  2. Marksgirl June 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM #

    You didn’t mention mosquito bites, but do you think it would be very effective at reducing the itch and swelling caused by the little buggers? I’m apparently very tasty to mosquitoes, and Bubba swells up horribly. Thankfully we haven’t had to deal with any bees this year.

    • Meagan June 27, 2013 at 3:22 PM #

      Yes! Plantain is great for all sorts of bug bites. Again it tightens the tissues which helps decrease swelling and itching. Most bee stings itch a lot too after being stung, but with plantain, the itch is definitely not so bad. I would definitely say it would help with mosquito bites.

  3. Jentry Wright June 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM #

    I am also Northernwood Gardens on fb.
    What kind of jar is this and where did you get it. Great article.

    • Meagan June 27, 2013 at 3:43 PM #

      That is so old chemistry lab jar from the college I went to. I bought a bunch of them at a yard sale once! I love them!

  4. Kristen June 28, 2013 at 4:03 AM #

    Just this morning my doctor told me to make a tea with plantain (called ribwort in New Zealand) for a persistent cough my daughter has. He showed me a photo, though the leaf did look a lot skinnier than the one in your pictures. Will have to start looking for it . . .

    • Meagan June 28, 2013 at 8:33 AM #

      Awesome! I suppose he wanted you to use it to help dry the cough up? Is that right. I love it that doctors prescribe herbs and other natural remedies in other countries… it’s great! Thanks for sharing Kristen!

  5. Edie June 30, 2013 at 5:09 PM #

    I have used plantain, chopped up in a food processor to draw the infection out of a wound. My husband injured his toe, and when he started to get red lines running up his leg, we used the plantain on it, and it drew the infection out within an hour. I also recommended it to an elderly man who had a very ugly, infected boil, and it worked well for him too.

    I have found here in North Carolina that there are two varieties of plantain, one has narrow leaves, and one has broad leaves, like the one you showed pictures of.

    • Meagan June 30, 2013 at 6:53 PM #

      Yeah, I think the narrow leaf and broad leaf are the two most common in the US, and from my understanding they both work well. We’ve used it on things that have started to look infected too! It’s such an amazing herb… definitely one of my favorites! Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

  6. Donna Robertson February 22, 2014 at 2:42 PM #

    Our teenage son reacts terribly to poison ivy. I’ve learned to put plantain leaves through my juicer, add 1 teaspoon to water and have him drink it. It stops the swelling from getting worse immediately. I also crush the leaves and spread them across his swollen face. It helps with the pain and itch.

    • Meagan February 22, 2014 at 3:41 PM #

      Love it! Plantain leaves aren’t very juicy so I’m sure you have to use a lot of them to get a decent amount of juice from them. Thank goodness they grow abundantly in most places!! Thanks for sharing.

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