Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Plantago major L.

English Name : Plantain. Great Plantain

Family : Plantaginaceae

Origin : Eurasia

It grows from a very short rhizome, which bears below a great number of long, straight, yellowish roots, and above, a large, radial rosette of leaves and a few long, slender, densely-flowered spikes. The leaves are ovate, blunt, abruptly contracted at the base into a long, broad, channelled footstalk (petiole). The blade is 4 to 10 inches long and about two-thirds as broad, usually smooth, thickish, five to eleven ribbed, the ribs having a strongly fibrous structure, the margin entire, or coarsely and unevenly toothed. The flower-spikes, erect, on long stalks, are as long as the leaves, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick and usually blunt. The flowers are somewhat purplish-green, the calyx four-parted, the small corolla bell-shaped and four-lobed, the stamens four, with purple anthers. The fruit is a two-celled capsule, not enclosed in the perianth, and containing four to sixteen seeds.

In cultivation lands by the sides of the roads, in rich fields and farms.

Parts Used : Leaves or aerial parts

Herb Effects
The leaves are astringent, demulcent, deobstruent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic and refrigerant.

Active Ingredients
Apigenin, ascorbic acid, asperuloside, aucubin, baicalein, baicalin, benzoic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, choline, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, fumaric acid, geniposidic acid, linoleic acid, luteolin, oleanolic acid, oleic acid, P-coumaric acid, salicylic acid, urosilic acid and vanillic acid.

Medicinal Use
It is used in inflammation of the skin, malignant ulcers, intermittent fever, etc., and as a vulnerary, and externally as a stimulant application to sores. The leaves arrest external haemorrhage. The fresh leaves are applied whole or bruised in the form of a poultice. Rubbed on parts of the body stung by insects, nettles, etc., or as an application to burns and scalds. Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever. They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc. The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0 minutes. This shouldbe drunk three times a day.
Ointment: an ointment can be made that will aid the treatment of haemorrhoidsand cuts.
Tincture: take 2-3ml of the tincture three times a day.


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