The psyllium in plantain has been used as GI therapy, to treat hyperlipidemia, for anticancer effects, and for respiratory treatment. In human studies, plantain has been effective for chronic bronchitis, asthma, cough, and cold. Clinical studies show that psyllium seed is useful as a bulk laxative. Many reports on psyllium have concluded that it can be helpful in treating various hyperlipidemias. A polyphenolic compound from P. major leaves was found to exhibit cholesterol-lowering activity. In addition, the mechanism by which plantago reduces cholesterol also may include enhancement of cholesterol elimination as fecal bile acids.
Plantain is a perennial weed with almost worldwide distribution. There are about 250 species. P. lanceolata and P. major are among the most widely distributed, and they grow aggressively. Plantain is wind-pollinated, facilitating its growth where there are no bees and few other plantain plants. P. major produces 13,000 to 15,000 seeds per plant, and the seeds have been reported to remain viable in soil for up to 60 years.
Common Names: Plantain also is known as Spanish psyllium, French psyllium, blond plantago, Indian plantago, psyllium seed, flea seed, and black psyllium.
Put a teaspoon of plantain leaf into a 200ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it brew for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup three times per day.
Plantain is packed with nutrients, including beta carotene, calcium, vitamins C and K, and phytonutrients like allantoin, apigenin, aucubin, baicalein, oleanolic acid, sorbitol and tannin. Beta carotene boosts eyesight and helps fight cancer, calcium builds strong bones and is essential to a healthy nervous system, vitamin C helps to fight cancer and reduces the effects of stress, and vitamin K is necessary for blood and blood-vessel health.
Due to its allantoin and apigenin content, plantain is a potent natural anti-inflammatory.
Because the herb contains the powerful nerve healing substance known as aucubin, it may heal damaged or injured nerves.
The substance, baicalein, naturally found in plantain has been found to aid in the repair of mitochondria (the cells’ energy centers). Healthy mitochondria are integral to a healthy body.
The natural compound known as oleanolic acid has both antiviral and liver-protecting qualities, which may be helpful in the prevention or treatment of hepatitis.
Not only does plantain reduce cravings for cigarettes, but it is also used by natural health practitioners to reduce bronchial congestion, laryngitis, lung irritation and inflammation, and coughs. Multiple studies indicate that plantain has demonstrated abilities to heal upper-respiratory conditions as well as bronchitis.
Research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that an extract of plantain strongly suppressed the growth of human cancer cells, suggesting that this herb could play an important role in addressing cancer naturally or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The scientists also believe that plantain may help prevent the damage to DNA normally caused by cancer cells.
Plantain has been used to relieve toothaches, ulcers, digestive complaints, gout and kidney infections.
If the mosquitoes have bitten you or you’ve been stung by a bee or hornet, apply freshly pulverized plantain leaves to the area to relieve the stinging sensation.
While the herb came from Europe with early European settler to America, both Native Americans and Europeans alike carried plantain root with them for use on snake bites, a use that is still common today. I don’t have experience with this application nor am I aware of any research into the use of plantain for snake bites so I can’t attest to this property.
Plantain seems to create a natural aversion to cigarettes, thereby making it easier to leave them behind. It can be used in various forms: tea, tincture or spray. For a tea, simply add one teaspoon of dried plantain to a cup of boiling water, steep for at least ten minutes, then drink before you reach for a cigarette. Many people find that this eliminates the craving or that they don’t want to smoke a whole cigarette. Plantain tincture or quit-smoking spray should be used according to the package directions, usually just prior to lighting up.
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