This amazing guest post was written by Holly Bertone, PMP, and CEO of Pink Fortitude! You can check out their website here!
Just when you think there is nothing worse than dry winter skin, summer happens. Summertime creates its own share of issues for your skin such as bug bites, stings, heat rashes, sunburn, and dry skin. Look no further than outside your front door for an easy DIY salve that will take the itch away.
Introducing, plantain. Not the banana, but the herb, Plantago major. Plantain looks like a common weed but is a medicinal herb that grows in lawns all over North America and much of Europe. You’ve probably seen it growing in your own backyard:
Plantain’s Health Benefits
Plantain herbals date back to the 1500’s and has been used medicinally by Europeans for centuries. It has been used as a treatment for many different ailments. Plantain is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. It’s anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial and promotes wound healing and skin softening (source).
Plantain can be used on cuts, burns, bites, stings, poison ivy, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes. It can be used on the sore paws of your pets, and even diaper rashes on your baby. The coconut oil and beeswax in this DIY are all natural and do not contain the petroleum that their commercial chemical counterparts do. (source)
In an emergency situation, if you or someone you are with gets bit or stung, you can even chew up a few plantain leaves and spit it out and apply to the affected area for immediate relief (source).
Plantain is edible, is classed as “able to be safely consumed with used appropriately” by the American Herbal Retailers Association, and is not associated with any common side effects (source). While this DIY is generally deemed safe and can be used on babies with diaper rash, or the paws of your pets, it is always prudent for those who are pregnant, nursing, babies and the elderly to check with a medical professional before using. Everyone should do a small patch test before using on larger surfaces of the skin, especially those who have pollen allergies.
DIY Plantain Salve for Itchy Skin
One popular DIY method uses olive oil and requires the mixture to sit for a month. Another popular method uses a crockpot overnight. I prefer this method as it only takes a few hours and is equally as potent. (source)
Be sure to pick your plantain leaves from an area that has not been treated with pesticides. You do not have to dig up the plant, just pick the leaves. Also, you can easily reuse a two or four-ounce moisturiser or eye cream container.
1/2 cup Plantain leaves
1/2 coconut oil
2 teaspoon beeswax
Heatproof jar (Mason Jar)
4 oz or 2 oz container with lid
(Optional) Peppermint or Lavender Essential Oil
Pick the plantain leaves from a chemical-free area of your yard.
Gently wash the leaves and set out to dry.
You will want VERY dry leaves, and you can even set them out in the sun for a few hours.
The ratio of leaves to coconut oil is one-to-one.
Add the leaves to a Mason Jar, then add the coconut oil on top of the leaves. Seal the jar.
Fill a saucepan about halfway with water and bring to a simmer on medium heat.
Place the Mason Jar in the saucepan.
Simmer on low heat for about 2 hours.
While being careful of the hot jar, strain the contents and keep the liquid.
Add the liquid back to the Mason Jar, along with the beeswax.
Simmer on low heat again for about 10-15 minutes, until the contents are melted (longer or shorter if necessary).
Strain again if necessary, keeping the liquid.
Optional – add a few drops of lavender and/or peppermint essential oil, 3-5 drops each, depending on the size of the container.
Pour liquid into a small container.
Apply the salve on bug bites, stings, sunburns, diaper rash, or any other dry skin areas as needed. Typically one application will take away the itch, but reapply as often as needed to relieve the itchy skin. You can keep the salve for up to a year.