Plantain, this common, humble-looking plant, has so many things to offer.It is a low-growing, green plant with oval, ribbed short-stemmed leaves. It forms dense and slender spikes, with yellow stamens that stick out and bloom from May to September.
This plant is abundant everywhere – it grows out of the cracks of sidewalks and roads, it is found on the majority of homeowners’ lawns, on cultivated or waste ground, and even in places where there is little sun. It is one of the top three plants in lawns, along with dandelion and grass. “Plants grow where they are needed most”, goes an old saying.
Plantain can offer help in treating many health problems that people from the urban societies suffer from.
This herb has been used as an alternative medicine since ancient times. It is called a “life medicine’’ in some cultures, which may not be far from true according to recent research.
All parts of the plant can be used for various purposes. The roots, leaves, flowers and seeds can be used both externally and internally.
The chemical analysis has shown that it contains glycoside Aucubin, which is a powerful anti-toxin. That justifies its use in the field of blood poisoning treatment. Plantain can draw out the poison of the snake bites, or stings of scorpions and insects. It also eases the pain of poison ivy.
It is a first choice remedy for skin ailments due to its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has the ability to draw out infections and is used to clean cuts and wounds. It contains epidermal growth factor and repairs damaged tissue, treats bruises and even broken bones.
It is also known as an excellent deobstruent, meaning that it can remove foreign objects and particles from the body like splinters and even glass shards.
It helps in respiratory problems that involve mucous congestion due to its ability to depress the secretion of mucous.
It soothes the cough reflex and it is used to treat coughs and bronchitis as well as asthma and lung infections.
As a diuretic, it can be used for kindey and bladder problems.
Its refrigerant qualities soothe and cool sores, ulcers, sunburn, burns and scalds.
Scientific research has revealed that plantain is also useful for weight loss. It contains mucilage which suppresses appetite and reduces the intestinal absorption of fat, while lowering the triglyceride levels in the blood at the same time.
No matter what way you are going to use plantain greens, you need to wash them first to remove any germs and toxins. It is also best to pick them in your yard and further away from the sides of the roads.
“Medicinal” herb tea:
For colds and flu use 1 tablespoon of dry or fresh whole Plantain (seed, root, and leaves) to 1 cup boiling water, steep 10 min., strain, sweeten with raw honey. Drink through the day.
You can make plantain oil that can be used instead of an over-the-counter antibiotic cream. You can enjoy it all year round when plantain dies back.
Choose a dry sunny day and harvest the plantain in the afternoon, once the dew has dried. Tightly pack a clean, dry jar of plantain leaves. Cover with olive oil to the top. Place the jar out of direct sunlight and let it sit at room temperature for six weeks.
Every day for the first week, top off the oil so that it completely covers the leaves. After six weeks, strain out the plant material. You now have your own green, medicinal plantain oil.
Fill a jar with cut up fresh plantain leaves, leaving about 1 inch at the top. Completely fill the jar with brandy or vodka. Put the lid on and shake. Label, date and put in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks shaking every few days. This medicine can last for 2 to 3 years. It is safe for internal and external use.
Directions for use:
Add 10 drops under your tongue and hold for 20 to 45 seconds, then swish in mouth and swallow, or you can add it to a glass of pure water and sip making sure to swish around in mouth before swallowing. This tincture aids in drawing out toxins, infections, phlegm and mucus out of the mouth, sinuses and body.
Plantain leaves are full of precious nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. The leaves are most tender and tastiest in spring, when they are young and tender. You can mix them into salad or toss in with other salad items.
Make sure to pick some plantain next time you come across it. You may never know when you will need it.