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ptmedrx.com



Articles About Health

ptmedrx.com

HERBS: PLANTAIN

Plantago spp.
(P. major, P. lanceolata)
Action: Vulnerary, diuretic, astringent, emollient, expectorant, haemostatic, antipyretic, antibacterial.
Systems Affected: General effects on the whole body.
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried leaves, dose 2-5 grams by infusion.

Plantain grows as a weed throughout temperate zones of the world, and is particularly widespread in Australia. There are several species of Plantain, two of the more common ones being the Greater or Common Plantain (Plantago major) and Soldier or Ribwort Plantain (P. lanceolata).
Essentially all the plantains have similar properties and can be used for medicinal treatment, although the American herbalist Michael Tierra adds the observation that 'the wider the leaf the more pronounced the diuretic effect'. Greater Plantain is perhaps most commonly used by herbalists.
Plantain has cooling, soothing and astringent properties. Internally it influences the entire mucous membrane and so is used to treat a wide variety of ailments: diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, infections and inflammations, ulcers, kidney and bladder problems, aching in the lumbar region, scanty and scalding urine, excessive menstrual discharge, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh and coughs. It is particularly useful in cystitis and for haemorrhoids with bleeding and irritation.
Plantain seeds (particularly those of P. psyllium, which are known commercially as Psyllium seeds) are a useful bulk laxative; 15 grams or so are taken with a cup of hot water.
Externally the plant is one of the best remedies for cuts and wounds, skin infections, boils and inflammations. For this purpose it is often used in compresses and ointments, alone or in combination with other herbs such as Chickweed, Comfrey, Marigold and St John's Wort. Used fresh, the leaves can be applied bruised or chopped in the form of a poultice.
Plantain is well known for relieving the pain of insect bites and stings, nettle rash etc. It provides relief as an application to burns and scalds, and will stay the bleeding of minor wounds. It is particularly effective as an external application in blood poisoning.
Long held in high regard as a healing herb in Europe, India and China, modern research has shown that Plantain has an antibacterial action which destroys a wide range of micro-organisms, and that it stimulates the healing process (epithelisation).

*44/66/5*
HERBAL