A bit of history
The healing properties of the plant were known to ancient Greek and Roman doctors. They prescribed plantain for many diseases. In the form of compresses, its leaves were applied to treat ulcers and abscesses, bleeding, burns, dog bites.
The juice of the leaves was buried in sore ears and eyes, it was recommended for general exhaustion of the body. Doctors of Ancient Greece treated goiter with plantain. They advised wearing a necklace of leaf bases with roots around the neck until the goiter has resolved.
Ibn Sina used the leaves of this plant as a hemostatic agent, and the seeds for hemoptysis. In addition, he successfully treated hives with plantain.
In the XII century, this plant was used in China. But in America, it appeared only with white settlers? and the Indians sometimes called it "the white man's footprint." Accordingly, the application came only after his relocation.
Botanical description and habitatBig plantain (Plantagomajor) - the most famous species of this numerous genus from the plantain family of the same name. The plant has a fibrous root system, and broadly ovate, petiolate leaves, collected in a basal rosette, from the center of which leafless flowering stems (flower arrows) grow, bearing one inflorescence (ear). The flowers in it are small, inconspicuous, brownish. Fruits are ovoid, opening across, two-celled polyspermous capsules. Blooms in May-July; fruits ripen in August-October.
The plantain lives mainly along roads, where the soil is often heavily polluted. In this regard, the plant can accumulate substances hazardous to health, in particular, it tends to concentrate copper, zinc, strontium, chromium and molybdenum. Therefore, it is better to transfer the plantain to the garden or lawn near the house. As a perennial plant, it will grow in one place for a long time.
Known variety with purple leaf color "Atropurpurea". It can be used along with ordinary plantain, and it looks much more impressive on the site due to the anthocyanins contained in it, which give an unusual color. And as research shows, it's even healthier than the regular green form.
And the variety "Rosularis" has bizarre inflorescences, shaped like roses.
Medicinal raw materials
For medicinal purposes, mature seeds, leaves and juice from them are used. Leaves are harvested during flowering, before they begin to turn yellow or partially redden. Raw materials are dried in attics or under awnings, spreading them in a thin layer of 3-5 cm, stirring regularly. Seeds are harvested by cutting off peduncles with mature seeds, laid out on paper, dried, and then threshed by rubbing between palms or rolling with a rolling pin. After that, it is sieved through a sieve of the appropriate diameter.
The leaves contain carbohydrates (polysaccharides - up to 20%, mucus, mannitol, sorbitol), alicyclic compounds, iridoids (iridoid glycoside aucubin, catalpol), nitrogen-containing compounds (allantoin), vitamin K, phenols and their derivatives, phenolcarboxylic acids, flavonoids (baicaleinoids luteolin, scutellarin), derivatives of caffeic acid (chlorogenic acid). In addition, plantain leaves are rich in potassium and calcium. Organic acids, mucus (19.5%), iridoids, sterols, saponins, alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and fatty oil (9.4%) were isolated from the seeds.
Application in official and traditional medicine
Plantain preparations have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hypotensive, sedative, wound healing, antiulcer and antispasmodic effects. In domestic scientific medicine, the juice of the leaves of the plantain is approved for use. It is recommended for the treatment of patients with chronic colitis and acute gastrointestinal diseases (gastritis, enteritis, enterocolitis).
In dermatology, plantain is prescribed for itchy allergic skin diseases, psoriasis, boils, carbuncles, erysipelas, trophic ulcers. Use externally and internally either plantain juice or a decoction of leaves (10 g of leaf and 200 g of water).
In folk medicine, juice, decoction and infusion of leaves are used as a tonic and cleanser.
Microbiological studies have shown the antimicrobial effect of psyllium preparations, and clinical trials have shown a good effect in the treatment of wounds, pustular skin diseases and burns. In this case, you can prepare an ointment from dry leaves powder (1 part by weight) and petroleum jelly (9 parts), which are mixed, thoroughly ground and infused for about an hour in a water bath. After that, in a liquid state, it is filtered (actually pushed) through an ironed cotton cloth. Such an ointment successfully heals poorly healing festering wounds.
A number of herbalists point to the hypotensive effect of plantain large and recommend it as an antihypertensive agent. In animal experiments, this ability of the plantain has been confirmed.
The mucus from the seeds has an enveloping effect. It is prepared by shaking the seeds in hot water for 15-20 minutes until a thick, slimy solution is formed. Powdered seeds are taken on an empty stomach with warm herbal infusion or water as an enveloping and laxative.
Mongolian doctors believe that plantain eliminates fever, stops coughing and nosebleeds, makes eyes shine, acts as a diuretic, and strengthens the masculine and feminine principles.
Tibetan medicine recommends for cystitis to take 7.5 g of sun-dried, crushed plantain seeds, washed down with a decoction of the leaves of the plant. With frequent miscarriages, Tibetan doctors advise taking a tablespoon of plantain seed powder with water. For diarrhea accompanied by high fever, a mixture of honey and plantain juice is useful. Good results are obtained by the treatment of various digestive disorders with plantain tincture.
In Chinese folk medicine, fresh plantain herb is used for chronic bronchitis, pleurisy, and also as a hemostatic, wound healing and diuretic. Seeds are prescribed for diabetes, obesity, constipation, cough, male and female infertility.
A tablespoon of seeds, taken by mouth with a glass of water, creates a feeling of fullness, which is beneficial for people who are overweight and have an excessive appetite. This remedy also has a strong laxative effect. Outwardly, in the form of lotions, a decoction of seeds is used for inflammatory diseases of the eyes.
Plantain juice you can cook it yourself. For this, fresh clean leaves of plantain are scalded with boiling water, crushed in a meat grinder and squeezed through cheesecloth. In dry and hot weather, the juice is more concentrated, so it is diluted in a 1: 1 ratio with water. The juice is boiled for 1-3 minutes, cooled and placed in a refrigerator. For long-term storage, it is preserved with ethyl alcohol (for 80 ml of juice - 20 ml of 96% alcohol). The drug is taken orally 1 tablespoon 3 times a day, 15-20 minutes before meals.
Plantain leaf infusion prepared from 1 tablespoon of crushed dry raw materials and 1 cup of boiling water. Insist 2 hours, filter and take 1 tablespoon 20 minutes before meals 4 times a day.
Outwardly, plantain is a wonderful wound healing agent. It is simply irreplaceable at any summer cottage. In case of abscesses, it is necessary to grind a fresh plantain leaf so that it lets in the juice, and apply it to the sore spot at night, covering it with plastic wrap and bandaging it. This is a wonderful remedy for burrs.
Plantain leaf preparations are contraindicated in hyperacid gastritis and gastric ulcer with high acidity.
Young plantain leaves are used for food. Soups, cabbage soup, salads are prepared from them.
(See Cutlets from plantain leaves, Plantain leaves baked with milk, Green cabbage soup, Plantain salad with onions and nettles, Salad from herbs "In the country", Soup "Roadside", Salad "Supervitamin").
Growing on the site
Well-lit areas are preferred for plantain. The plant is extremely undemanding to soils. A plant is sown before winter (in this case, the seeds do not need to be stratified), superficially, without embedding, observing an interval of 15-20 cm between rows. When seedlings appear, the crops are weeded manually 1-2 times and loosened 3-5 times. If the crops have sprouted too densely, the plants can be transplanted in the phase of 3-4 true leaves. No special care required.
Leaves are harvested as needed, cutting with pruning shears. To obtain seeds, ripe spikelets are cut and dried, spreading them in a thin layer on paper. And then rubbed between the palms, thereby thrashing. At the same time, the seeds fall off, and they are sown as needed. It is not necessary to peel the seeds from the "husk".
You can place the plant on a rocky hill, along the path, with a curtain on the lawn. As mentioned above, the red-leaved form is very decorative and successfully sets off other plants.