Plantain

Plantago major
Plantago major

Part Used: Leaf.

Plantain is a very undervalued herb, growing underfoot in lawns and around dwellings. It combines soothing and mucilaginous, anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties. Internally and externally for inflammation of skin, throat, lungs, digestive and urinary tracts. Middle-ear infections and inflammation. Tooth pain. Tonic to the kidneys and bladder in chronic conditions. Painful, difficult urination. Incontinence, bedwetting. Stomach ulcer, hyperacidity. Painful diarrhea. Anti-mucous herb. Allergic conditions in general; sinus/hay fever. Cough with irritation, bronchitis, asthma . Eczema and dry skin conditions (int. and ext.). Wounds, bruises, leg ulcers. Counteracts poisons of insect and animal bites (int. and ext.)

There seems to be a misconception that the most valuable herbs have to be rare, exotic and costly. In my mind, a truly valuable herb is one found in abundance right in our environment with a great versatility in usage. Plantain certainly fits the abundance bill. A native of the Old World, it rapidly spread through North America. The Indians called it “footprint of the white man”. There is hardly a lawn or garden, or vacant lot that does not have plantain. Plantain’s myriad of external uses point to it’s general blood-purifying, anti-toxin, and tissue healing properties. One of the best emergency field measures for wasp or bee sting (or snakebite), is to chew up a leaf or two and apply. Plantain draws while counteracting poisons and relieving inflammation. Also used for spider and all other venomous bites. Should be used internally in conjunction. Its drawing properties are used to advantage in things like drawing out splinters and bringing boils and suppurations to a head. Plantain contains ‘alantoin’, also found in Comfrey, which has proven to promote healthy new cell growth in tissue, and so its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties are used in a wide variety of conditions of internal or external injury and inflammation. Skin ulcers. Plantain is a cooling herb in all toxic conditions with heat. Internal use of the fresh-herb extract or fresh-herb tea for inflammations of the mouth, throat, lungs, digestive and urinary tracts. Middle-ear infections and inflammation. Facial pain. Tooth pain (internally and on area). A tonic for chronic kidney and urinary tract conditions. Painful urination. Incontinence, bedwetting. Stomach ulcer/hyperacidity. Painful diarrhea. Passive bleeding. Plantain is also an anti-mucous herb that also aids in alleviating allergic conditions. Sinus/hayfever. Cough with irritation, bronchitis, asthma. Children’s mucousy conditions. Eczema and other skin conditions with irritation; boils (internal and external). As a blood-purifier in many conditions with blood toxicity and/or an allergic component. In the field, Plantain is readily identified by the prominent veins that can be stripped out of the leaf. It is a low-growing plant Both round and narrow leaf varieties are equal in their efficacy. One of its most useful aspects is that it can be gathered fresh through most of the year; the fresh herb or fresh herb extract being a good deal more potent than the dried herb, but some can be gathered and dried for winter use.

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