Benefits of Plantain with jim mcdonald

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Episode Summary

Though often dismissed as a “beginner herb,” the health benefits of plantain leaf – and ways of working with this versatile herb – are many. Please join me to explore all things plantain with my dear friend and fellow herbalist, jim mcdonald.

For those of you who don’t yet know jim, here’s a bit more about him:

In 1994, jim mcdonald’s life changed when he drank tea from a wild plant he harvested from the land he lived upon.  Since those first sips of strange tea, his life in the woods and meadows of southeast Michigan has been centered on the plants and ecosystems of that land, and how he might share their virtues to restore wellness with those around him. jim’s approach to herbcraft is deeply rooted in the land he lives upon, and blends traditional european folk influences with 19th century eclectic and physiomedical vitalism, which he conveys with story, experience, humor, common sense and lore to students, clients, random passersby and readers of his website He’s taught classes throughout North America and is currently alternately writing “Foundational Herbcraft” and “A Great Lakes Herbal,” in addition to articles for journals and other publications. jim is a community herbalist, a manic wildcrafter and medicine maker, and has been an ardent student of the most learned teachers of herbcraft… the plants themselves.

Listen in for:

► jim’s experience of working with plantain in his own life (Timestamp: 22:19

► The most effective way to work with plantain for itchy, irritated, insect-bitten skin (33:03)

► How other herbal traditions can be a springboard for exploration

jim shines at bringing curiosity, critical thought and common sense to working with herbs, matching herbs to people rather than mixing and matching herbs for X, Y, Z problem or disease. He’s an engaging teacher with a world of wisdom to share and I’m delighted to bring our conversation to you today!

So much of herbalism is in not the big claims of this does that, or this is that, or this is anti-bacterial or anti-inflammatory for this reason or that reason. It’s finding the nuance of ‘Oh, this works best like this for this presentation and this kind of person.’


What You’ll Learn from This Episode

  • [01:09] Introduction to jim mcdonald
  • [03:21] jim’s early experiences with herbs
  • [08:22] Herbal knowledge is constantly evolving
  • [12:34] Why jim loves plantain (Plantago major, Plantago lanceolata, Plantago rugelii)
  • [14:53] The energetics of plantain and various ways to work with plantain leaf
  • [20:53] Working with plantain as a drawing agent
  • [31:59] Working with plantain for insect bites
  • [33:41] jim’s plantain handout
  • [34:10] Working with plantain as a chew for mouth ulcers, canker sores, cold sores, etc.
  • [37:17] jim shares current projects and upcoming classes
  • [42:50] Exploring how to work with invasive plants that are used medicinally in other herbal traditions

Download Your Benefits of Plantain Handout!

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