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If you look down while walking around in Vancouver, you will see this little plant everywhere:

Plantago major

It is called Plantago major and did you know that when you apply the leaves to a bug bit or sting, it takes the sting and pain right out? I learned this trick from a seasoned gardener I used to work for but it does actually contain chemical constituents that help with healing. In fact, I was shocked to learn that this humble little weed is one of the most widely distributed medicinal crops in the world!

It contains:

  1. aucubin (an anti-microbial agent)
  2. allantoin (which stimulates cellular growth and tissue regeneration)
  3. mucilage (which reduces pain and discomfort).

Here’s how I learned to use it for bug and spider bites:

Quickly after being bit, look around for this plant and pick several of the leaves off. Wash them and then chew them in your mouth. This action releases a jelly like substance from the leaf which, when applied to the bite, has an immediate calming effect.

When I used to garden, we would always keep a little patch of these growing somewhere for this very thing. Below is a large version I found out in the woods, the ones in the city being much smaller.

Plantago major 2

An indispensable homeopathic remedy to try for severe reactions to bug bites that cause much swelling and redness is Apis mellifica. This homeopathic preparation of the Western honey bee can take the swelling and reaction right down in some of these cases.

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