You've probably seen it countless times, and maybe even stepped on it. But a natural remedy to those itchy, pesky bug bites might be growing right in your backyard here in Minnesota.

CSJ/TSM-Rochester

I'm talking about this plant, which the Minnesota DNR says is officially called 'Cacalia plantaginea,' or 'Cacalia tuberosa.'  But you might know it better by its more common name, plantain. And you probably have some growing right in your yard.

I've seen plantain a TON of times, both growing up back in Wisconsin and since living here in Minnesota. I always just thought it was a weed. But, it turns out that this plant that grows pretty much grows anywhere-- cracks in the sidewalk, or near your garden-- also has some pretty cool healing powers.

According to Do It Green Minnesota, plantain can be used as a first aid agen to help draw out nasty toxins from bug bites and stings that get on your skin. "Plantain is analgesic, and best used for abrasions, numbing the pain. It’s antibacterial, stops itching, bleeding, and swelling. The plant also contains allantoin, which promotes new skin growth instantly," it said.

And this website echoes the benefits of plantain, saying it can help give you relief from things like:

  • bee and other insect stings
  • spider bites
  • eczema and psoriasis
  • sunburn
  • chapped lips
  • diaper rash
  • burns
  • cuts
  • rashes
  • poison ivy or oak
  • acne

Wow! I had no idea! There are a couple of different 'recipes' listed for making a quick balm, while a few other sites said you can just mash up the plantain leaves you find right there in your yard and apply to your skin. Just make sure, though, you're actually using plantain and not some other weed. Plantain-- the Minnesota weed healer!

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