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Plantain as a poultice

 
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Hi Dr. Tilgner...so nice to see you on this forum and congrats on the new book. I have a question about Plantain...I recently had an infection on my finger, and tried a plantain poultice for several days but without much result. I chewed the plantain and then applied it with a bandaid to the infected area. Is this the best way to do this, and what could I have done for a better result? Thanks!
 
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Location: Pleasant Hill, Oregon
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Plantain is a wonderful vulnerary. It heals all kinds of skin irritations quite well. However, you say you are dealing with an infection and an infection needs to be cleared before you try to heal the wound over.  You generally want to keep the wound open until the infection is gone. I would additionally add that an infection should start to get better within 24 hours of treating it. I am assuming it is bacterial, although it was not mentioned. If a bacterial infection, an individual would want to look to antimicrobial herbs.  What I usually do with a simple infected finger is the following: I soak the finger in strong hot epsom salt water. Then I use clay or an antimicrobial/astringent herb powder paste (goldenseal is one and easy to procure) or clay mixed with an antimicrobial herb over the infected area and cover with a bandage. (Generally I just use a plain clay paste or I might add Echincaea tincture rather than water to make the paste from the clay powder.) I change up what I do depending on what the finger looks like. This should be done 1-2 times per day, depending on how bad it is. If it is more complicated than a simple infection, I may add more soaks, other types of hydrotherapy and internal use of immunomodulators.
 
pollinator
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Should one be worried about chewing the plantain and applying it to the infected area?  Is there a chance of the bacteria from the mouth introducing additional infection?
 
Sharol Tilgner
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There is always a chance of infection. In theory it could happen indeed.  However, I have never seen it or heard of it. Spit poultices have been used for a very long time. It simply is not antimicrobial, so I would simply use a different herb for an infected wound. Plantain poultices are commonly used for non-infected wounds to heal them quicker.
 
pollinator
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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I am no medicinal herb or plant person. However, chewing up a few plantain leaves into a poultice is my favorite treatment for stings. Every time I get stung by a bee or wasp or similar, I simply reached down and find the ubiquitous plantain and chew up a couple of leaves and apply it to my sting. Has worked every time for me to reduce pain and inflammation.
 
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