You may have probably seen it, but as usual plant ignored it. However, this little weed that grows in poor soils, lawns and rocky areas contains numerous health benefits – and its name is plantain. Additionally, some types of this plant have elongated, more pointed leaves that look like spear, while others have round leaves. It has bright green colour and when some of its leaves are broken off there are strings.
But, it is very important to know that there are 2 completely different plants with the same name – plantain. Moreover, the other plantain type, i.e., Musa paradisica, or it is also called cooking plantain, is actually an enormous plant that looks like a palm, which grows as much as a tree and its fruits are very similar to bananas, but they are starchier and lower in sugar content. The fruits have bright green colour and even stay green when ripe.
Plantain herbal uses:
We are talking about the other plantain type – the small green plant, i.e., Plantago species, which have been used for thousands of years in a form of an herbal remedy and food, as well. Furthermore, people usually use its leaves as an herbal remedy, and also its seeds and some parts of its stem can also have beneficial effects. In other words, this little weed has numerous health benefits including: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-histamine, anti-toxic, diuretic, demulcent, styptic, and expectorant effects. On the other hand this miraculous herb, particularly its leaves poultice, can also be used topically in the treatment of various insect bites, minor sores, poison-ivy rashes, and boils, as well. Also, it is thought to be great natural cure for snakebite. If used internally, it gives positive results when it comes to coughs and bronchitis, in a form of tea, syrup or tincture.
- Helps in the treatment of IBS and other bowel problems: Plantain regulates a healthy digestive system. In addition, when its seed get wet, they husks expand and become mucilaginous, particularly those of P. psyllium. They actually can be found in almost all over-the-counter bulk laxatives as well as fibre supplements, for instance: Metamucil. Moreover, the seed of P. psyllium has extremely beneficial effects when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, dietary fibre supplementation, and diverticular disease. Also, herbalists suggested that it is an excellent option in order to ease indigestion and it was even used in the past in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea, as well.
- Helps various skin issues: Usually, this herb is used topically. In fact, herbalists crush the leaves of plantain and combine them along with oil, for instance: grape seed or olive oil, thus preparing an amazing homemade remedy for minor wounds, diaper rashes, hemorrhoids, as well as blisters, which contains faster healing properties.
- Alleviates insect bites and poison ivy: In case you get an insect bite, took plantain and then, shred or mash some of its leaves. After that, you should apply the juice on your bitten or stung areas, and you will feel a quick relief thanks to the astringent properties of this herb. Also, it acts in the same way for poison ivy.
- Alleviates conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis, i.e., pink eye, is actually an inflammation inside the eyelids, reaching to the outer part of the affected eye. You should know that it is not a serious disease, but it can be a contagious one. However, plantain has a capacity to decrease the redness and itchiness caused by conjunctivitis. Also, a compress out of Plantain leaves is prepared by the herbalists and it is soaked in boiling water, and when it is cool, it should be put on the affected eye.
- Acts as a diuretic: Plantain is described by Phyllis Balch and James Balch in Prescription for Nutritional Healing as an excellent diuretic. In fact, plantain is able to eliminate the excess water from your body.
- Stimulates respiratory health: According to herbalists, plantain has a strong capacity to ease heartburns, treat coughs and bronchitis, and also soothe the lungs, thus promoting optimal respiratory health. Therefore, it is recommended to prepare a tea of plantain leaves.
Also, it is considered that plantain can lower bad cholesterol, improve circulation, treat fever, cystitis, as well as stimulate the uterus.
Nutritional benefits of plantain
Since prehistory plantain has been consumed as human food in various parts of the world. It has been used as a leaf vegetable for green sauces, salads, etc. In addition, this little plant can provide your organism with additional healthy nutrients, i.e., it is abundant in Vitamins A, C and K, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, phosphorous, and copper.
Plantain also is rich in antioxidants, i.e., substances that are able to prevent free radicals-related body damage. Or, they can help in the cleansing process of the body as well as in the stimulation of the immunity.
Where can you find plantain?
In fact, plantain leaves are sold in a form of herbal supplements as a tincture or dried powder. Also, its dried leaves are sold as tea.
Safety notes: Even though plantain is generally believed as a safe option, before you use it you should always consult your doctor. Or, you should just use a harvest or a wild plant and only in cases you are absolutely sure of its identity.