Plantain (the weed, not the small banana) has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Native Americans and Europeans have used it to treat a variety of medical issues including skin wounds, insect and spider bites, snake bites, and indigestion. It is said to even help with acne and blood clotting. Overall, this prolific weed has some powerful medicinal uses. I’ve just recently discovered it, but I’m already impressed with it as a treatment for bug bites.
With all of this new information I have, I ran into a problem. As it gets hot here in Texas, the Plantain is starting to dry up and crumble away. I researched ways to preserve some of it. Dehydration is an option, but I’m certain a lot of the medicinal qualities would evaporate away. It looks like the best option to save the qualities I want is by making a tincture. Tinctures are liquid extracts, usually made with ethanol. I just happened to have a stash of moonshine at a pretty serious concentration, probably close to 180 proof (90%). A bit of Google research turns up that tinctures are simple to make.
The basics are to add plant matter to the alcohol, let it sit a while, then strain the plant matter out with a filter or cheesecloth. The alcohol will absorb the herbal goodness.
The leaves will steep in the alcohol for a week or two to do its work. After this time, I will strain the plant matter out and save the liquid. This liquid is the tincture. This batch will net me around 9 or 10 ounces. Once it is done, I will put it in a dropper bottle and test it out on the numerous bug bites I receive here on the homestead. I’m really hoping it can offer some relief from all the chiggers that seem to find my legs delectable. Stay tuned for an update in a couple of weeks on the final product and the relief it might offer.