Plantain belongs to the Plantaginaceae family, which consists of more than 200 species, twenty-five or thirty of which are used for therapeutic properties. In the northwest of the Pacific there are some varieties such as the common plantain (Plantago major) and narrow leaves (Plantago lanceolata). The name of the genus Plantago derives from the classic Latin name Plantago which in classical Latin indicated some species of Plantain, including Plantago major and minor. The name was formed from the classical Latin planta which means “sole of the foot”. because the leaves of these species grow near flat places at ground level. The suffix -ago in Latin means “a species”.
Used since prehistoric times as for its medicinal properties, it has astringent, anti-toxic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, emollient, expectorant, astringent and diuretic properties.
Among the remedies of the Anglo-Saxon folk tradition, there is a medicine for external use, composed of Plantain leaves and Ivy , to soothe insect bites, snake bites, sores, rashes, skin sores.
The herbal extract for internal use – in the formulation of tea, tincture, or syrup – obtained by boiling the leaves – is indicated for cough and bronchitis.
Plantain varieties: ovata, psyllium and major
The variety known as Plantago psyllium:
Seedlings of Plantain (Psyllium) become mucilaginous when wet and are used in the formulation of laxatives and fiber supplements. Psyllium seeds are useful for constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, for the supply of dietary fiber and for treating diverticula. Psyllium supplements are used in powder form.
Dosage: 7 grams per day taken with water or fruit juices, it is used in case of high cholesterol.
This remedy is known as Desert Indian Wheat , it is obtained by grinding the peel. Mucilage is used for irregular bowel syndrome and intestinal constipation. It is also used in Ayurvedic Medicine and Unani for intestinal problems.
In Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, Plantago major leaves are used as a folk remedy to prevent infection on cuts and scratches, thanks to its antiseptic properties. In Slovenia and in other regions of central Europe, the leaves were traditionally used for topical use, in case of skin cracks and on mosquito bites (Eastern Westphalia and Western Ostfalia). It also has cooling, diuretic properties, cures malignant ulcers, intermittent fever. The leaves are used to stop estrene bleeding, but they are useless even in cases of internal bleeding: bleeding from the lungs and stomach and in the case of dysentery.
In Scotland, the Plantain is still called ‘Slanus’,’ “healing method”, to witness the common understanding in its healing virtues.In the United States, the Plantain is called ‘Snake Weed, from a belief in its effectiveness in case of bites of poisonous animals. It is said that a dog was stung by a rattlesnake and a plantain-based juice medicine applied to the wound. The animal was in agony, but was saved thanks to this medicine.
Dr. Robinson in New Family Herbal, 1863, tells us that an Indian received a great reward from the South Carolina Assembly for discovering Plantain as the main remedy for rattlesnake bites.
Robinson refers to it as a remedy for coughing irritations, hoarseness, gastritis, enteritis, bronchitis, asthma, mucosal congestion, diarrhea, nosebleeds, kidneys and bladder problems, jaundice, headache, infections, hepatitis, infertility, sciatica, tuberculosis, syphilis, toothache, dropsy, eye inflammation.
Plantain: decoction of leaves for blood
He indicates a decoction based on dried leaves of plantain for the coagulation of blood.The fresh juice of the plantain instead, obtained from leaves and roots, is indicated by Robinson as an excellent remedy in the case of chronic catarrh, hay fever, gastro-intestinal disorders.For external use, he suggests using the plantain’s crushed leaves and applying them in case of eczema , burns, shingles, burns, wounds, stroke sores, ulcers, cuts, scratches, boils, tumors, insect bites, punctures of nettle and hemorrhoids, inflammation, soothe tired feet.
Other uses of plantain
Plantain juice mixed with lemon juice is used as a diuretic.
Herbal tea for colds and flu with plantain extract
Mix 1 tablespoon of dry or fresh Plantain extract (seeds, roots) with a cup of boiling water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes, add honey and drink during the day.
Being an edible herb, the broad-leaf varieties are sometimes used for salads, green sauce.