First Aid in Your Backyard
by Corinna Wood
First Aid in Your Backyard
by Corinna Wood
Twelve years ago, I was walking barefoot with a friend
in the Catskill Mountains. I was enjoying the flowers and
conversation when I suddenly felt an excruciating pain.
I quickly realized I had stepped on a bee. Immediately,
I was flooded with memories of the last time I was stung
on my foot: restless nights and over a week of pain and
itching. My friend, who was studying herbs with me at the
time, suggested plantain, an herb that was growing right
at our feet. I I said, "Sure, plantain may be good
for mosquito bites, but this is a BEE STING! I don't think
After a few minutes, as the throbbing pain increased, I
decided to give the plantain a try after all. I picked a
leaf, chewed it up, and put it on the bite. A minute later
(to my astonishment), the throbbing and burning had almost
completely disappeared! In ten minutes, when the pain began
to return, I put on a fresh poultice and again experienced
immediate relief. Same thing half an hour later, then several
hours later, and a few more times over the next day. In
less than 24 hours, the sting was completely healed.
I no longer dread bee stings. Over the last twelve years,
I have turned to plantain many times - whenever I, my child,
or any of our friends have been stung. I have learned that
the sooner we use it, the better. So when someone cries
out that they've been stung, one of us goes straight for
the plantain. And it's always just a few steps away!
one of the most widespread "weeds" in the world,
is a first-choice remedy for many skin ailments. It is safe
and effective, for not only bee stings, but also for bleeding,
cuts, bruises, bug bites, hemorroids, and itchy skin. Its
ability to draw out infection - as well as spinters and
even glass shards - is especially remarkable.
The easiest way to make a plantain poultice is to chew
up the leaf, put it on the wound, and cover it with a band-aid
to hold it in place. Saliva actually contains many antibacterial
properties (which may be why animals lick their wounds).
If a "spit poultice" is not for you, you can chop
plantain with a knife or in the blender with a little water.
So how do you find plantain? Luckily, it is one of the
top three plants in lawns, along with dandelion and grass.
There are actually two species of plantain that grow in
our area: lance-leaved plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and
broad-leaved plantain (Plantago major). They can be used
The easiest way to identify plantain (of either type)
is that it has leaves with parallel veins. Most plants have
leaves with veins that fork outward from a central midrib.
Plantain, on the other hand, has side veins and a midrib
which all run parallel to one another down to the base of
the plant. Plantain doesn't have showy flowers, but it does
have a distinctive, compact seed head that turns from green
to brown as the seeds mature. All parts of the plant, including
the seeds, are edible.
To enjoy plantain's healing properties year 'round, it's
easy to make your own plantain oil (see box). This oil will
last you through the winter when plantain dies back. It
also comes in handy when mosquitoes make a meal of your
arms and legs. A dozen spit poultices is probably more than
anyone wants to make!
Plantain is what my family uses instead of an over-the-counter
antibiotic cream. When my two-year-old hurts himself, he
knows where to find plantain. A day later, as he takes off
his poultice, my heart warms as he delights, "Mommy,
it's healed! Plantain made it better!"
Choose a dry, sunny day and harvest the
plantain in the afternoon (once the dew has dried). Tightly
pack a clean, dry jar full of plantain leaves. Cover with
olive oil to the top. Place the jar out of direct
sunlight and let it sit at room temperature for six weeks.
Every day for the first week, top off the oil so that it completely
covers the leaves. After six weeks, strain out the plant material.
You now have your own green, medicinal plantain oil!
For permission to reprint this article, please contact
Wood has opened the hearts of thousands to the wisdom of the
plants and their own bodies. She is director of Red
, an herbal medicine company focusing on women's
health and fresh, local plants. Corinna's background includes
a B.S. in biology and an extensive apprenticeship with Susun
Weed. Corinna is certified as an Herbalist, a Fertility Awareness
Teacher, and also in Permaculture Design. Corinna lives with
her family at Earthaven Ecovillage in Black Mountain, NC.
Red Moon Herbs organizes the first annual Southeast
Women’s Herbal Conference
For at least ten years, the other regions of the country
have held women's herbal conferences--California, the Northeast,
the Southwest . . The time has come for the Southeast to
join in this powerful and vital tradition! This event will
weave together hundreds of women to reweave and celebrate
women’s powerful healing traditions.
The conference will be held September 16-18th, at Camp
Merrimac in Black Mountain, NC. Camp Merrimac is 1 mile
from downtown Black Mountain, which is 15 minutes from Asheville,
NC, and 30 minutes from Earthaven Ecovillage, where Red
Moon Herbs is based. The camp is in a beautiful, private,
and wooded settining, including a lovely small lake, which
the women will enjoy in both the sunlight and the moonlight
(the conference falls on a full moon weekend!).
Weed will give the keynote presentation on Herbal Medicine:
The Wise Woman Way. Susun will also give an exciting class
on Optimum Nutrition Beyond Heroic. There will be intensives
on Menopause with Susun, Wholistic Sexuality with Sheri
Winston, and The Language of Plants with Suki Roth. Other
leading women herbalists presenting from all around the
Southeast include Kathleen Maier, Katherine Chantal, Robin
Bennet, Corinna Wood, and Whapio.
Over thirty other classes include Herbs for Young Children,
Pampering the Skin with Herbs, Moon Cycle Magic, Local Herbs
from an Eastern Perspective, Aphrodisiacs, Midwifery and
Pregnancy. There will be Plant Walks and hands-on Herbal
Medicine Making classes offered throughout the weekend.
Mornings begin early with yoga, and all the meals will
feature delicious local, organic food. Evenings will feature
local woman artists, with woman-centered dance & music,
fun & frolic. Sunday afternoon, there will be a field
trip to Red Moon Herbs and Earthaven Ecovillage.
For more information about the conference, and to register
with Susun Weed in the convenience of your home! Choose from
four Correspondence Courses: Green Allies, Spirit & Practice
of the Wise Woman Tradition, Green Witch, and ABC
of Herbalism - includes audio/video tapes, books,
assignments, special mailings, plus personal time.
Learn more at www.susunweed.com
or write to:
Susun Weed PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498
Visit Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com
Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered
an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures,
teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges
conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her
vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly
pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging
and often profoundly provocative.
Susun is one of America's best-known authorities
on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health.
Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists
and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions
of women around the world. Learn more at www.susunweed.com
Introducing a brand new
A Correspondence Course with Susun Weed
A special course for the aspiring herbalist
who would like to have me "by your side" teaching
you how to identify, harvest, and buy 52 healing herbs. I'll
"watch over your shoulder" as you make nourishing
herbal infusions, tinctures, vinegars, oils, honeys, poultices,
soups, and beauty aids.
Your studies will be both experiential and intellectual.
You will make and use herbal remedies as well as reading about
them in a variety of sources. You will try out my
Your course materials include:
* Fifty-two herbal projects and twenty health projects to
complete at your own pace. (Value $100)
* Guidance in developing a green ally.
* Five herbals: 1. A City Herbal; 2. Common Herbs for Natural
Health; 3. Healing Wise; 4. The Herb Book;
5. Natural Health Bible. (Value $80)
* Up to four more books -- your choice from the enclosed list.
(Value up to $65)
* Four of my audiotapes or one of my videotapes -- your choice
from the enclosed list. (Value $40)
* Three hours of phone time to talk with me personally. (Value
* Initiation and completion gifts.
* Erratic mailings several times a year for two years. (Value
* A 50% discount on three days of classes with me. (Value
up to $150)
* A graduation certificate for you to frame and hang. (Priceless)
Click here to learn more about the ABC's
of Herbalism Correspondence Course
Register online at www.wisewomanbookshop.com
or via mail:
Susun Weed PO Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498 ~ phone/fax: (845)
more about Wise Woman classes with Susun Weed
by Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive
mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food,
beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston.
312 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $17.95.
Wizard of Weeds DVD
Wizard of Weeds DVD
Dr. Peter Gails, the Wizard of Weeds, shows you how to harvest the bounty of your backyard for your culinary pleasure and health. Discover the bounty of wild foods.
Time: 63 minutes Green Earth Studio Produced by HerbTV Studio
Order Wizard of Weeds DVD in our Bookshop