I became interested in herbs and natural healing several years ago, including how to recognize herbs in the wild. It's come in handy many times, including a few days ago when I was walking to the mailbox and got stung by something. I immediately looked for some plantain. Fortunately there was some right by my feet, so I was able to apply it immediately.
Plantain is a fabulous astringent. It draws toxins out quickly and well. To use it, pick some leaves and chew them up really well, then put the green goo on whatever needs it, in my case it was my foot. I chewed up a couple leaves, and my two year old thought it looked like fun, so he chewed up a leaf or two for me, and my husband chewed up a couple for me too. I left it on until it dried and fell off, and by that time the pain was gone, and there was never any swelling from the sting.
It's good stuff.
Another good use for plantain is to pick a bunch of fresh leaves, put them in a jar, and fill the jar with apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 2-6 weeks, shaking a few times a week. Keep it in a dark place, because sunlight will destroy the healing properties. When it's done sitting, strain it out into a clean jar, discard plantain. You can use this tincture to clean your face. Use it twice a day. It will draw out the toxins from your face so well that your face will probably develop some blemishes for a week or two, but if you keep using it consistently every day, you should have beautiful clear skin after it detoxes. And don't worry, your face will only smell like vinegar until it dries.
Plantain is an edible plant, including the seeds. It's very easy to identify. There is a broadleaf variety and a narrowleaf variety. I prefer the broadleaf. I don't know if there is a medicinal difference between them.
It's one of my favorite herbs, and one that I think everyone should be able to identify and use. If you are ever bitten by something poisonous, or something that COULD be poisonous, apply some immediately if possible, while waiting for medical care.