Remedies & Therapies > Medicinal Herbs & Oils

Plantain: When, Why & How to Use

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SamsGirl:
Yes, and is nice and easy for emergency's because you can normally just walk out into your backyard and get it.....my 8 yo brother was in need of some just 3 days ago and my mom sent my sister outside with a walmart bag and she gathered a whole bag in less than 5 mins..... :)

Whiterock:

--- Quote from: healthybratt on June 20, 2008, 03:31:53 AM ---
--- Quote from: Whiterock on June 19, 2008, 05:40:31 PM ---Y'all may already know this (it may already be posted somewhere), but I found out a while back, kept intending to post it, and kept forgetting (seeing some plantain seedheads in the yard today reminded me)... plantain seeds are psyllium!

So go out and gather the seeds as well as the leaves!

Man, plantain is such a useful plant, ain't it?!

WR

--- End quote ---
I looked this up as I was curious about your other post.  This is what I found on psyllium.


--- Quote ---Definitions of Psyllium on the Web:

    * A plant, also known as "fleawort," that is valued for its high fiber content. The powdered seeds of this plant are often used as a laxative.
      www.dietsoftware.org/nutseed.shtml
--- End quote ---

--- End quote ---

Yeah, I found that it's sometimes called fleawort or flea plant too because of the tiny seeds. I will post more on the other thread when I get back from my milk run.

WR

AgainstTheGrain:
I was so disappointed 2 years ago when there was NO plantain in our yard because we had new sod from new construction :-\  BUT then last year I noticed some right next to my garden!! ;D Yeah!! The perfect spot. So, this year I told DH not to mow it around the garden so I could have some big plants to dry/use. I'm so excited!! :D ;D 

Now the seeds too!! How great since mine have some tall spiky seeds. So, then my question is . . . Is there a "best time" to pick and dry the seeds/psyllium? And what would you use it for? Are there medicinal qualities? In my short search it seems the biggest thing is the fiber content :-\
_____________
Never mind - I found the thread on Psyllium
http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,18992.0.html



Whiterock:
I posted the link to this page somewhere, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the info too...

Kingdom: Plantae (plants)
 Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (vascular plants)
 Superdivision: Spermatophyta (seed plants)
 Division: Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)
 Class: Magnoliopsida (dicotyledons)
 Subclass: Asteridae
 Order: Plantaginales
 Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain family)
 Genus: Plantago (plantain)
 Species: Plantago major
 Common Plantain
 
   Common Plantain came to the United States with the Europeans. The native Americans, observing its spread, named it "white man's footprint" or "Englishman's foot". Perhaps they saw the same resemblance to feet (or affinity for paths) as the Greeks. "Plantago" is derived from a Latin word meaning "sole of the foot". Plantain is now naturalized throughout the United States.

   This is a perennial plant, which dies to the ground each winter and sprouts anew from its fibrous taproot around mid-spring. The oval, ribbed, short-stemmed leaves form basal rosettes which tend to hug the ground. The leaves may grow up to about 6" long and 4" wide.

   Between early summer and late fall, leafless flower stalks, 6" to 18" tall, arise from the center of the rosette. The flower stalks bear densely packed greenish white flowers each of which will become a small capsule-like seedpod containing 10 to 20 seeds. When the seeds are mature, the seedpods split in half, and the seeds fall to the ground to start the whole thing over.
 
   I commonly find plantain in gardens and lawns, along trails, in sidewalk cracks, and in similar habitats. It prefers full sun, but will grow in partial shade. It also prefers rich moist soil, but it will grow even in poor, fairly dry soils.

   Plantain is edible. The very young leaves can be added to salads, or cooked as greens. The leaves do become stringy and strongly flavored rather quickly as they age, particularly where they grow in hot, dry, or very sunny locations. This does not mean they are no longer edible, only that at this point, they are better suited to making stock or tea.

   Plantain is very high in beta carotene (A) and calcium. It also provides ascorbic acid (C).

   The immature flower stalks may be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds are said to have a nutty flavor and may be parched and added to a variety of foods or ground into flour.
 
   Among the more notable chemicals found in plantain are allantion, apigenin, aucubin, baicalein, linoleic acid, oleanolic acid, sorbitol, and tannin.

   Medicinally, plantain is astringent, demulcent, emollient, cooling, vulnerary, expectorant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antitoxin, and diuretic. It effects blood sugar, usually lowering it. It has been used to treat lung disorders and stomach problems. For these purposes, a tea is made from either the leaves or the whole plant and taken internally. This same tea may be used as a mouthwash to treat sores in the mouth and toothaches. It may also be used externally to treat sores, blisters, insect bites and stings, hemorrhoids, burns, rashes, and other skin irritations. Alternatively, a poultice of the leaves may be applied to the afflicted area. This is probably plantain's most common use. For relief from a bee sting or insect bite, simply shred (or chew) a plantain leaf and hold it on the bite for a few minutes.

   I've begun making a plantain ointment which is proving to be remarkably effective. Reports so far (and personal experience) indicate that it very rapidly relieves itching and swelling from bee stings, insect bites, poison ivy rash, and other allergic rashes. It also seems to speed healing of sores and bruises. The best part is that not only does this ointment work as well as or better than the usual commercial preparations, it's also completely non-toxic.

   I should add that plantain is currently being marketed as a stop smoking aid. The claim is that it causes an aversion to tobacco. I suppose the simple version of this would be to chew on a plantain leaf whenever you want to smoke. Doing this will freshen your breath, at least, and who knows, maybe you won't want that cigarette so much.

   Plantain seeds are very high in mucilage and fiber, among other things. The seeds of a closely related species (P. psyllium) are the primary ingredient in laxatives such as Metamucil. Common plantain seeds may be used in the same fashion.

   The plant provides food for butterfly caterpillars, rabbits, deer, and grouse. A wide variety of birds eat the seeds.

   To control or eradicate plantain, pull up the plants before they go to seed, or cover them with a thick layer of mulch. The best long-term control for plantain in a lawn is probably to shade it out, which can be done simply by setting your lawnmower a bit higher.

 http://www.kingdomplantae.net/commonPlantain.php

redeemed:
Being very new to herbs, it all seems a bit overwhelming (tincture vs. salve...differing recipes...), but exciting, too! My biggest question is about heating the plantain--
I've read you can let it soak in water or alcohol for a couple weeks and press it out, but you can also cook it in vaseline or beeswax. Won't the heat destroy some/all of it's properties?

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