Plantain – the Latin names are Plantago lanceolata and Plantago major
Synonyms: Ribwort plantain, english plantain, rib grass, long plantain, ribwort, broad leaf plantain, lance leaf plantain
Plantain is a visually familiar plant to anyone looking down at their feet while walking on the grass, or by roadways. Growing up to 5-15 cm tall, two species are most common, broad leaf plantain – or plantago major (with round large leaves) and lanced leaf plantain – plantago lanceolata (with long, narrow ribbed/ lanced leaves). Both species can be used interchangably and the leaves are commonly used medicinally.
Traditional uses of Plantain
1. Soothing: Due to the high mucilage properties in this plant, the actions of the mucilage properties in this plant are active both internally and externally. A notable wound healer, plantain is soothing for pain and inflammation. Plantain can be combined with other herbs for bronchial ailments and offers soothing protection for dry inflamed mucosa, for a thick mucous and harsh cough or asthma. Also soothing for the digestive tract.
2. A nutritive tonic herb: The leaves are an excellent source of chlorophyll and packed full of minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium, magnesium and silica.
3. Antiseptic: ideal made into a poultice for addressing wound healing, cuts and abrasions on the skin, also used in combination with other herbs for lung infections or urinary tract infections.
4. Urinary Tract Tonic: soothing for the mucous membranes lining the urinary tract, helps to reduce colic and spasm or bleeding. Gently soothing and weakly antiseptic for the urinary system.
5. Refrigerant: a cooling effect both locally and for inflammation and a fever. Can be combined with diaphoretic herbs for lowering a high body temperature and encouraging sweating.
6. Anti catarrhal: a unique remedy that can help to depress the secretion of mucous from the membranes of the respiratory tract. A possible herb used for hayfever and seasonal allergies.
7. Astringent: The presence of tanning in this plant make it ideal for toning the mucous membrane issues of the mouth and throat, skin and digestion. Added into a soothing eyewash, or also of benefit for diarrhea. Traditionally used for both internal and external wounds to stop bleeding from an open wound or cut. Internally using plantain as a tea would go far in supporting conditions of a bleeding ulcer. Ideal for bleeding gums and gum inflammations.
8. Traditional External Applications: Plantain is a widely used and soothing agent for all types of skin healing, from cuts and wounds, scrapes and abrasions, plantain can be applied as a poultice, a cream, salve or fomentation. Also ideal for assisting the body remove venom from insect bites and as a poultice, effective for pulling out congestion. A soothing remedy for all mucous membranes in the body, for hoarse dry coughs and also for bronchial congestion. An ideal healing agent for wounds and ulcers, inflammation and bleeding conditions. A soothing urinary system herb for inflammation of the mucous membranes.
Dosage: Infuse one teaspoon of herb for 15 minutes in boiling hot water, strain and enjoy 3 cups daily as a general adult dose.
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