11 Health Benefits and Uses for the Herb Plantain

11 Health Benefits and Uses for the Herb Plantain

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook, June 6, 2017, http://www.care2.com/greenlivi...e-herb-plantain.html

On a daily basis, most of us walk past or trample on one of the most profoundly therapeutic herbs without giving this natural medicine much consideration. But this weed, as we are inclined to call it, could be the answer to what ails you.

This potent plant is known as plantain—not the banana-like fruit, Plantago major is a low-lying herb found in almost every lawn and many sidewalks. There are many reasons to stop treading on plantain and start enjoying it instead, including the following health benefits:

Nutrition Booster

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.

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Energy Booster

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.

Antiviral and Liver Aid

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.

Respiratory Booster

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.

Cancer Answer

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.

Wide-Reaching Health Tonic

Plantain has been used to relieve toothaches, ulcers, digestive complaints, gout and kidney infections.

Insect Bites or Stings

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.

Snake Bite Remedy

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.

Smoking Cessation Aid

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.

Fresh plantain leaves—make sure you work with a knowledgeable herbalist or are familiar with wild-crafting herbs before picking them yourself—can be used in salads, steamed or sautéed like spinach, or made into a fresh herb tincture. Smokers trying to quit can fill in a small spray bottle with the tincture and spritz it into the mouth to help quell the urge to smoke. You can also make a plantain tea by adding a cup of boiled water to one teaspoon of dried or one tablespoon of plantain leaves and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes, covered. Drink one to three cups daily for best results.

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