There are a few species of Plantago that are a great make-shift band aid. Plantago laneolata and Plantago major are the most common. The broad leaves are used topically for wound healing, helping to reduce inflammation and soothe painful cuts and scrapes. They can even soothe and heal burns! After you pour a little water on the wound, simply grab a leaf, smush (a very technical term, I know) gently with your fingers, and apply to the wounded area. Make sure to get that good juice in there! You can use another leaf or bandage to cover the wound to facilitate healing.
This is another wild medicine that is found everywhere in the U.S. Just check your lawn, roadsides, meadows, or fields. Try not to collect directly from the side of the road or on a lawn that has been sprayed by chemicals. Look for long oval leaves, spreading from a central point, with parallel veins. Of course, always be sure to properly ID a plant before you use it. But I don't have to remind you of that. Right?!
Gathering your wild band-aid will cheer those kids right up after a fall. Especially if you combine it with another plant to stop bleeding--which I'll talk about next post.
Kristin Henningsen M.S., C.H., R.Y.T.