Plantain is a useful herb that is often considered a weed by most people.
The leaves are actually edible and somewhat similar to spinach, though slightly more bitter. They can be used in salads or other culinary uses.
Nutritional attributes :
Ribwort plantain has good nutritive value with high vitamin and mineral content (Cu, Ca, Se) (Kostuch et al., 1997; Kozowski et al., 1996; Wilman et al., 1997; Moorhead et al., 2002; Bilbao et al., 2007). It is known to contain compounds such as anti-oxidatives and anti-inflammatories (Al-Mamun et al., 2007).
All plantain varieties are high in protein
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, boron, calcium, iron, molybdenum, potassium and sulphur.
The narrow-leaf plantain is more concentrated so best to use just one or two leaves in your smoothies. Leaves of the broad-leaved and buck’s horn plantains are less concentrated and can be used finely chopped up in salads, cultured with vegetables as well as in your smoothies.
Plantain Soup Recipe :
Soak 1 cup of yellow or green split peas overnight￼
Gather a large handful of plantain leaves & chop up finely across the ribs
Stir fry a large onion, 3 garlic cloves and 1 tsp of ginger, 1/4 tsp cumin & 1 tsp turmeric in some nice olive or coconut oil
To this mix add 1 Liter of filtered water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer an hour or until the peas are soft.
Add tamari sauce, a dash of your own mineral rich vinegar and salt to taste. Garnish with you favourite herb.
The L. Plantago family contains 265 known species.
These plants contain compounds which:
reduce swelling (astringent)
reduces pain and itching (analgesic)
are healing for mucous membranes (demulcent) -think canker sores
protect and soothe the skin (emollient)
expel phlegm (expectorants)
helps the bladder/kidneys remove excess fluids (diuretic)
eliminates/destroys toxins (detoxicant)- think poison ivy, bee stings, venom, etc.
The leaves can also be made into a tea or tincture, and this is said to help with indigestion, heartburn and ulcers when taking internally.
Externally, Plantain has been used for insect and snake bites, and as a remedy for rashes and cuts. I use it in making my Homemade Healing Salve, which we use as a natural antibiotic ointment on cuts and bruises.
The natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of plantain leaf make it great for healing wounds, and for itching or pain associated with skin problems. A tea made from Plantain leaf can be sprayed on mosquito bites to ease the itch.
Plantain has been used as a panacea in some Native American cultures and with some very good reasons. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. The leaves, shredded or chewed, are a traditional treatment for insect and animal bites and the antibacterial action helps prevent infection and the anti-inflammatory helps to relieve pain, burning, and itching. There is some investigation ongoing to study its affects on lowering blood sugar.
A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine.
There is unconfirmed information that a plantain infusion, taken internally, can help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and that a plantain infusion can improve blood sugar. While taking plantain in these situations would generally be considered safe, one should still check with an attending physician before doing so.
Plantain has been used since ancient times for snake bites, mad dog bites, and a variety of internal diseases. It was brought to America by colonists, and they spread quickly throughout the New World. Native Americans quickly discovered the usefulness of the plantain herb, and quickly adapted it to new uses with their already broad knowledge of herbal medicine. (1)
History records a black slave being granted a handsome reward and his freedom by the colonial assembly of South Carolina in return for teaching them how to treat rattlesnake bites with plantain. Shakespeare even mentions plantain in Romeo and Juliet as being good for wounds.
Plantain is good for injuries because of its coagulating properties, but those with blood disorders or prone to blood clots should not use Plantain internally. If harvesting it yourself, make sure to get from an area that has not been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides and make sure that you have correctly identified the plant before consuming.
Plantain is great for making blood clot, but should not be used by those who are taking blood thinners or are prone to blood clots.