Plantain is a herb, which people often think is a weed, that can easily grow where you least expect it. Plantain can be found in gardens, sidewalks, and even roads. It is a clumped perennial herb that can grow up to 10 cm with dense and thin 30 cm long spikes with yellow stamens.
There are two types of plantain, which both can be found in the summer from May to September. The first type is called Plantago Major and has wide leaves. The second type is with narrow leaves and it’s called Plantago Lanceolate. However, these herbs are not useless but offer plenty of healthy benefits. Still, the first type is more suitable since its leaves are wide, soft, and better for human consumption.
This herb can also be used as a food source since it is rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and magnesium. The slightly old leaves are best if they are cooked because they are likely to be stringy and stiff. On the other hand, the young plantain leaves are best if they are added to salads or sandwiches, or eaten raw. The seeds of this herb can also be dried and ground into meals or flour.
How to Identify and Collect Plantain Herb?
As it was previously mentioned, plantain is an invasive herb that can grow almost anywhere. However, it is not preferable to plant it in your garden but to find and collect it where it has already grown naturally. But, make sure that the herbs are clean and have not been treated with chemicals before collecting them.
Additionally, note that it is of great importance not to misidentify the plant because you can see only a tuft of leaves above the ground without any stems. Also, it would be easier for you to identify this plant by its flower stalks, but they are not present constantly. So, if you are not sure, it is wiser to get help from a person who has knowledge and experience in collecting plantain.
Furthermore, do not dig up the whole plant, but just collect the unspoiled leaves since you can only use them. The slightly old leaves are better because they are high in potent phytochemicals, but the young ones may be used in salads.
What are the Health Benefits of Plantain Herb?
1. Insect bites and wounds treatment
Plantain is beneficial in treating insect bites and slight external wounds by soothing them, preventing infections, and stimulating healing. This is so because this herb contains analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The anti-microbial effect of plantain is due to the active biochemical aucubin.
2. Diarrhea and colds treatment
Another health benefit of this herb is its cleansing effect on the body. It contains astringent properties which dry the excess secretion accumulated in the digestive or respiratory tract. The mucilage in plantain has a demulcent effect which is responsible for the astringency. Thus, plantain is beneficial for treating diarrhea and colds.
3. Skin issues treatment
Furthermore, allantoin found in plantain herb contains anti-irritating, calming and healing properties. As a result, plantain is also beneficial in treating skin issues. So, it can be used for anti-acne treatment, for sun care, and for purifying skin creams.
How to Use Plantain Herb for Healing?
Plantain has plenty of different uses for healing, from insect bites to many serious diseases. Here’s a list of the most beneficial uses:
- Burns: Apply a plantain coating instantly and a bandage with leaves. After that, apply plantain balm.
- Sunburn: Apply a plantain coating, then wash it with plantain tea, and apply plantain balm.
- Cuts and sores: Stop bleeding by applying crushed leaves of plantain. Then, wash with plantain tea or with a mixture of one tablespoon of tincture mixed in a glass of water.
- Acne and boils: Apply balm or a drop of tincture.
- Dandruff and scalp issues: Apply plantain tea to the scalp and wash it after one hour.
- Mouth ulcers: Gargle 2-3 tablespoon plantain tea, or a mixture of one tablespoon tincture mixed in a glass of water three, to four times a day.
- Throat pain and infection: Gargle plantain tea or tincture mixed with water. Take 5-10 drops of tincture right under the tongue and ingest it without hurrying.
- Colds and respiratory infections: Drink fresh warm plantain tea with honey or use the tincture under tongue method explained above.
- Liver and kidney: Improve the function of these two organs by consuming one or two cups of plantain tea on a daily basis.
- Gastrointestinal inflammation: Alleviate inflammation by using tincture under tongue method or by drinking plantain tea.