Plantain Balls and Bee Stings

P5100010 low resThis morning I got stung by a bumblebee on the joint of my right index finger, whilst mixing compost with my bare hands. It was pretty painful.

The first thing I did was rub lemon balm leaf on my finger, which was the nearest relevant plant to me at the time. Then I got up and rolled a couple of ribwort plantain leaves into balls and pressed them against the sting.

It took about fifteen minutes for the pain to lessen to almost nothing. There was hardly any swelling. Half an hour later the area was slightly hotter than the rest of my hands but not uncomfortably so. I’d forgotten about the whole thing within an hour and now, about four hours later, there’s only a feeling of a very slight bruise if I press hard.

P5100004 low resAnd the bee? Well, the naughty bugger survived. I picked it up on a leaf and put it on some rosemary flowers. And ten minutes later it flew off quite happily. I suppose I was stung on an area that was too thin for the sting to get entirely embedded.

Anyway, it’s the beginning of summer, and so this is a reminder to everyone that for all insect bites and stings Ribwort Plantain Is Your Friend – so get those balls rolling! (Click on that link for more on plantain).

P1010461 plantainhoverflies23June2014

You can find this plant and its relative, Greater Plantain, which is tougher-leaved but shares many of the same properties, almost anywhere (you probably step on it all the time). Once you start to notice how handsome it is and discover just how many things it is good for, you’ll be seeing it and treating it in an entirely new light.

Plantain and Cleavers

All images by Mark Watson: Ribwort Plantain leaf ball on bumblebee sting; Bumblebee on rosemary flowers,  10th May 2013. Ribwort Plantain in flower, June 2014; Ribwort Plantain and Cleavers, 2012.

All posts, text and pics here on Mark in Flowers are subject to Creative Commons with Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives license.

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