‘Tain in the Butt

My son recently had a bout of diarrhea that left him with some pretty serious diaper rash. We tried a variety of treatments to cure the rash including Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, Desitin and Vaseline. The Desitin seemed to calm the pain for him the best, but nothing really seemed to heal the rash very well.

Ribwort plantain leaves and flowers (Plantago lanceolata) - click to enlargeOne day, though, while we were at a friend’s house for a BBQ, we found that we had left the ointment at home and had to change a painful diaper for our son without anything to treat him with after cleaning him up. While we changed him out in the yard, I saw some large plantain leaves growing nearby, so I picked several of them, chewed them up and squeezed the green juice all over the little red bumps on my baby’s butt. I had never eaten such a large amount of plantain before, and I felt the astringent effect in my mouth for a while afterward — kind of like a really mild version of eating a green persimmon. But the anodyne action of the plantain juice seemed to help.

click to enlargeWhen we got home, I found the little jar of Vaseline that we usually kept in the diaper bag. We had used so much of it in the past week that we had practically emptied it. I poured it half full of the plantain oil I had made last summer and filled it the rest of the way up with gobs of Vaseline, mixing the two together. For the rest of the time I treated my son’s diaper rash, I used only this plantain/Vaseline ointment, and it healed the rash pretty quickly. The plantain treated the skin while the Vaseline provided a moisture barrier.

I really believe my son could tell the difference in how the plantain mixture felt versus the other ointments we had used, as he would always ask for the plantain when we changed his diaper. In his little voice he would say “Tain in the butt, Daddy.”

click to enlargeOnce his cheeks had healed up enough for him to go on walks with me again, I showed him some live plantain plants in our yard. He picked the long flower stems and tried to blow the blossoms off them like he does with “wee-wies” (his word for dandelions). I also showed him the ribs in the plant to help him tell it apart from the other long-bladed plants he found in the yard. He held the plantain leaf up to his own ribs to cement the connection.

I feel proud of my little wildcrafter and relieved about how well Tain took care of his little butt.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bonnie on 05/29/2008 at 1:00 pm

    love this post! love these pictures!


  2. Posted by Rix on 05/29/2008 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks, Bonnie! It’s great to hear from you.


  3. Plantains are pretty cool.. btw.. I just noticed on MySpace that we have a friend in common named Shawn, now I wonder if we might have met when you lived here..


  4. Ah, Mike. Ah, Rix. How our world is a multidimensional Venn diagram. Let’s meet somewhere around the intersection.

    Hope everyone is doing well.


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