The Story of Plantain from A Kids Herb Book by Leslie Tierra
Once there was a fluffy cloud that lived high in the sky. Every so often the cloud would grow dark as it filled with water from the earth and then uncontrollably rain upon all the plants and creatures below. Now the cloud could have lived happily ever after just like all the other clouds in the sky, except one day it realized it could not be fully happy so long as someone below was unhappy. This usually happened when Cloud released rain when people were not ready for it. Cloud was silly to wish that it could only rain when everyone was ready because it is impossible for everyone to be happy at the same time. So, no matter what, Cloud was left no choice but to feel unhappy every time it released a shower.
One day Cloud thought long and hard about this problem. It heard a rumor going around in the heavens. The news spread from stars to the moon, and the moon to the planets that a special event was about to happen. This rumor was that the sun and moon were going to shine together at the same time. Now this event meant that there was opportunity for magic to occur. When Cloud realized this, it suddenly had a brilliant idea. Cloud would use this magic to give a special gift to the people in exchange for the good times they missed when it rained.
When the day arrived, Cloud took special position in the sky so that it could cover a large area. Then, at the exact moment sun and moon carefully beamed all their rays into the cloud, filling it with light instead of water. When Cloud was so stuffed it could hold no longer, the magic happened. Cloud burst open and showered down special seeds instead of water. Where ever this special cloud seed landed it sprouted up. It had ribs like the rays of the sun and moon. A long stem held a crown of tiny white flowers that seemed to reflect light back to the skies. This was a magical plant, for it had many healing properties.
Now these plants began to spread everywhere and people began to treat them like weeds. They did not eat it because it did not taste good enough, and they wouldn’t pick the flowers because they were too small and not as attractive as the rose or peony bush. People began to curse this plant and poison or yank it from the ground. They would yell at this plant “why do you grow where I am planting, planting, planting?” (See how fast you can say planting, planting, planting. See how it changes to plantain).
When Cloud saw how this plant did not change the people’s happiness, he realized some people choose to be happy and receptive and others become closed and unhappy even with a special gift. But then Cloud saw that some people did appreciate the gift as they used it for injuries, stings, slivers and a blood purifier. It was magic after all.
Often, we only try to connect and teach people on a rational level, but I find it not enough to actually change how people understand or behave. Most people may understand what you want them to do, but they need to be emotionally engaged to do it. Storytelling gives parents, leaders and teachers a way of inspiring others in a way that appeals to both sides of our character. A story can make everything come to life, and as you connect with that story, a relationship is made. Stories have the ability to open parts of our mind and heart. When working with kids and teaching life lessons, engage children through storytelling conversations without them even knowing they are learning.
As plantain begins to spring up everywhere, keep in mind it is a gift to have such an amazing plant at our fingertips whenever we are in need of it. To use it in an emergency for things like bee stings or painful slivers, pick one or two leaves (rinse them if possible), and chew them for a second. Place the newly chewed plantain on the area, and let it work its magic.
Author: Angela McElroy is a Naturopathic Practitioner with a special interest in children’s health. She treats both acute and chronic conditions including allergies, digestive concerns, skin complaints (boils, rash, eczema), nutritional deficiencies, and childhood illnesses. Angela works to support, encourage, balance, and bring healing to children and families struggling with ADHD, anger, anxiety, and other emotional imbalances.