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PLANT PROFILE LIST
NAME: Narrowleaf Plantain
LATIN NAME / FAMILY: Plantago Lanceolata / Plantaginaceae
OTHER COMMON NAME(S): Ribwort, English Plantain, and Lamb's Tongue
CONDITIONS: sun / well-drained soil
PORTION: small, herb
COMMENT: Plantains are the most important, versatile, and abundant of all medicinal herbs for external and internal wounds. Plantain are also edible, but in small amounts. Tastes like mushrooms. Eat young leafs and green seed heads (raw or cooked). Dry leaves and crumble for year-around use or to cook more easily, otherwise old leafs do not break down easily, even after extensive boiling. Dry carefully, not close to heat source. Plant color when dry should remain green, not brown. Broadleaf plantain dies back in the winter, unlike narrowleaf which is easier to transplant and grow inside, plus it survives through most of the winter.// Grows in many parts of the world: http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:321286-2
CAUTION: Always go slow with any plant in case you are allergic or sensitive to it. // Use only in small amounts, particularly internally. Plantains can be drying internally and externally, as that is part of the healing and detoxifying process. In my limited experience, it appears that Plantains are not helpful for certain rashes and skin conditions, which need more 'cooling down' and for which other herbs might be more helpful, such as chamomile and chickweed.
NUTRITION/MEDICINAL: It's a fantastic medicinal plant for some of the symptoms of colds and flu, external and internal wounds and abrasions, and much more. (Editor: I have used plantain for many of the issues listed below and found it to be very effective. As I understand the situation, all plantain species provide similar medicinal benefits)
LIST: Analgesic (relieves pain), antibacterial (anti-infective, treats wounds internally & externally), anti-cancer, anti-cough (prevents or relieves coughs, expectorant, anti-tussive, demulcent), anti-diabetic, anti-diarrhea (leaf only), antidote (detoxifying, depurative), anti-fever (cooling, refrigerant, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, anti-mucus (prevents mucus buildup in any part of the body, catarrh), anti-parasitic (expels worms & parasites, vermifuge, anthelmintic)anti-ulcer, antiviral, astringent (skin cells contract, stops bleeding), blood coagulant (stops bleeding, anti-hemorrhagic, hemostatic), cholesterol lowering (anti-hyperlipidemic), de-obstruent (open ducts of fluids and secretions), decongestant, diuretic (causes urination), immunity booster, laxative (seeds relieve constipation), liver protective, ophthalmic (treats eye diseases), oral health (treats gum disease), sore throat (pharyngitis), and removes warts using spit poultice covered with bandage, and anti-radiation.
HOW TO USE: Although all parts of the plant can be used, this paragraph refers to using the leaves. Plantain can be 1) eaten raw, 2) chewed and applied directly to a wound as a poultice, 3) plantain water (light green): leaves made into a drink (put in blender with water, blend, then sieve out the fiber through cloth or fine steel mesh), 4) plantain water (light green color) can be sipped, added to the bath, and can be used as nose drops (as needed) a very effective nasal decongestant and expectorant (cuts phlegm), 5) also walnut oil (or other kind of healthy oil) can be added to plantain water and used as a sink body wash which cleans, heals, and also helps prevent mosquito bites, 6) plantain parts (seeds, leaves, and roots) can be dried and jarred for year round use, dried leaves can also be powdered.
MEDICINAL INFO SOURCES: (Same sources for both broadleaf and narrowleaf plantain, as they appear to have the same effect)
Plantain: Nature's First Aid Kit - http://www.gatheringground.nyc/new-blog-1/2018/3/27/plantain-natures-first-aid-kit (easy to read article)
Plantain: A Healing Herb in Your Backyard https://wellnessmama.com/5387/plantain-healing-herb (easy to read article)
https://healthyfocus.org/health-benefits-plantago-plantain-leaves/ (easy to read article)
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.581840/full - COVID-19: Is There Evidence for the Use of Herbal Medicines as Adjuvant Symptomatic Therapy? Plantago lanceolata is indicated for symptoms of respiratory disease, namely cough, pharyngitis (sore throat), and fever... can be used as a demulcent (relieve inflammation of mucous membranes by forming a protective film), to reduce bronchial catarrh, and mild inflammation of the pharynx (part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity.) Editor: Catarrh is a build-up of mucus in an airway or cavity of the body. It usually affects the back of the nose, the throat or the sinuses (air-filled cavities in the bones of the face). It's often temporary, but some people experience it for months or years. Source: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/lungs-and-airways/catarrh
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5878035 Plantago major has been used widely since ancient times, to manage a wide range of diseases including constipation, coughs and wounds. Plantago major has been prescribed in various forms such as roasted seeds, decoction, syrup, liniment, gargle, rectal enema, vaginal suppository, eye and nasal drop for each illness by TPM scholars. Some of its traditional properties including wound healing, antipyretic (fever prevention and reduction), antitussive (prevent or relieve coughs), anti-infective, anti-hemorrhagic (stops bleeding), anti-inflammatory, diuretic, laxative, astringent and hemostatic have been confirmed in recent researches. Also saved to this webpage.
Plantago major L. leaves have been used as a wound healing remedy for centuries in almost all parts of the world and in the treatment of a number of diseases apart from wound healing. These include diseases related to the skin, respiratory organs, digestive organs, reproduction, the circulation, against cancer, for pain relief and against infections. P. major contains biologically active compounds such as polysaccharides, lipids, caffeic acid derivatives, flavonoids, iridoid glycosides and terpenoids. Alkaloids and some organic acids have also been detected. A range of biological activities has been found from plant extracts including wound healing activity, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, weak antibiotic, immuno modulating and antiulcerogenic activity. Some of these effects may attribute to the use of this plant in folk medicine. https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0378874100002129?
Good summary: ANTIVIRAL, ANTIBACTERIAL, ANTHELMINTIC, IMMUNITY, ANTI-ULCER, ANTI-CANCER, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, ANALGESIC, WOUND HEALING, ORAL HEALTH, ANTIDIABETIC, LIVER PROTECTIVE, HYPOLIPIDEMIC, FEVER, https://www.earthtokathy.com/great-plantain-plantago-major-research/ also saved to this webpage
https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hn-2148003 Bronchitis, Burns, Cough, Dermatitis, Insect Bites and Stings, Peptic Ulcer, Urinary Tract Infection, Wound Healing. Plantain has long been considered by herbalists to be a useful remedy for cough, wounds, inflamed skin or dermatitis, and insect bites. Bruised or crushed leaves have been applied topically to treat insect bites and stings, eczema, and small wounds or cuts. It was considered by herbalists to be a gentle, soothing expectorant, and additionally to have a mild astringent effect said to help remedy hemorrhoids or bladder infections with mild amounts of blood in the urine.
- Anti-fungal properties for people https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27723643/ and crops https://www.mdpi.com/2504-3900/70/1/94
Antioxidant - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf048076s
Anti-viral, including herpes - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0166354202000074
Anti-parasitic (Giardia) - https://www.herbal-organic.com/en/pubmed/In_vitro_effect_against_Giardia_of_14_plant_extracts_7839013
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33411066/ Response of plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) supplementation on nutritional, endo-parasitic, and endocrine status in lambs. Circulating cholesterol concentrations were suppressed, liver enzyme activity was improved, highly effective in suppressing some parasites, increased growth hormone, insulin concentrations in plasma level, decreased carcass fat by 32.7%. Conclusion: showed some beneficial effects on productivity and parasitic infection, while it led to a leaner carcass.
Anti-radiation - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32507421/ CONCLUSION: Plantago major L syrup was effective on the reduction of the symptoms of radiation induced mucositis in patients with head and neck cancers.
LOOK-A-LIKES: Broadleaf Plantain (very closely related, use the same way, also other species - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago)
OTHER USES: Plantain water can be used for all-purpose cleaning, alone or with other herbs and ingredients. Seeds used in remediation of waste water-
SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):