Perennial plant spread all over the continent, Plantain is a herb with narrow and lanceolate leaves that ends with cylindrical ears. D'Estate blooms with small red or even dark flowers that in turn give life to fruits that contain a seed. The name derives from Planta which is a Latin meaning that indicates the sole of the foot since the plant resembles the latter.
The plantain is native to Asia and Africa where there are real plantings but in Italy we find it a little everywhere because its germination is spontaneous and grows especially in the hills or low mountain areas.
Used since ancient times, the plantain treated various diseases and was considered of great importance.
Its main use was for colds, bronchitis and cough but was also used as a diaphoretic and diuretic.
The plant was considered very useful to soothe the burns of bruises and small wounds and even today, through this popular word, the plantain leaves are rubbed on the skin after the annoying sting of an insect and the pain and burning, disappear automatically.
Beneficial effects of Plantain
The aucubine, the main element contained in the plant, means that its external use is very effective for insect bites and not by chance this plant is also used for the preparation of soothing creams against mosquito bites.
In addition to the creams, however, it is also possible to use different products prepared in a homely way such as the decoctions with which to apply bandages or gauzes soaked in solution, on the aching part of the skin.
Its consumption for internal use instead, is advisable for all those disorders related to colds and to all those catarrhal states that need to thin the secretions.
According to very recent studies, plantain can also be used by older people and children because it does not have any significant side effects unless it is used disproportionately.
Cultivation of Plantain
Although plantain germination is completely spontaneous, the plant can also be cultivated for ornamental purposes or simply to take advantage of its therapeutic benefits. Therefore it can also be grown in the garden or in terracotta pots.
The plant needs brightness and therefore must be placed in a very sunny place and in direct contact with the sun's rays.
The plantain does not need any particular trick and as far as irrigation is concerned, the rain is fine except in those periods of dryness and long drought.
In this case it will be absorbed by the water and when it is perfectly penetrated into the ground, it will be watered again without leaving stagnations.
The plant is resistant to pests but it could happen that it is infested with fungal maples, in this case, especially if it is used for therapeutic purposes, it is necessary to use natural insecticides and that are not harmful for humans.
If the cultivation is carried out on large plots of land, the ground must be leveled to make it flat otherwise the machinery will not be able to proceed with the harvest.
As found on the market
The plantain is found on the market in the form of seeds to plant it or to make decoctions but its use is generally carried out using the fresh plant that is always found and especially if it is cultivated domestically, the plant can be used to rub the tip skins of insects.
However, the plant is also found in the form of an extract or a soothing cream and is always useful to soothe heartburn and pain caused by insect bites.
In herbal medicine there are also plantain pills or extracts that are taken especially in the case of catarrhal cough to be able to thin the secretions. Also there are also preparations like syrup.
The leaves of the plant are also used to dress salads.
How to prepare products with plantain
The plantain infusion is prepared using 3 grams of leaves in 100 grams of hot water and then the mixture is left to rest until it is cooled. You drink sweetened and three times a day.
It is very useful for disorders related to the intestinal tract, for coughing and for catarrhal affections.
For the same symptoms, you can also use the centrifuged leaves of the plant and take three tablespoons a day.
The decoction instead, is made by boiling 5 grams of leaves in 100 grams of water. Drink a cup of decoction in the evening before going to sleep. The effects as well as purifying, will cause a slight diuresis.
The poultices should be prepared by making a decoction and then soaking with a solution of gauze or cloth that will be applied to leg ulcers or small wounds. The crushed leaves, are an excellent dressing on those small excoriations that struggle to heal.
Given that plantain is a food that is good for anemic people, it is very useful to combine its leaves with various salads that can be eaten even by the little ones without exaggerating because they bring a slight constipation.
An excellent lotion for face skin, it is made by infusing 50 grams of green leaves in a liter of water. The solution is then used by soaking gauze tablets that will be applied to the skin of the face to hydrate it and decongest it.
Some curiosities on the plantain
At one time plantain was sought as a food for rabbits because it fortified them and made them very prolific. Breeders went hunting for this important herb but at some point it is not known why, it was added to the category of weeds and peasants used various herbicides to counteract their growth.
Dioscorides, Pliny and Galen, considered it an almost magical plant given the amazing therapeutic properties and the rich fibers of mucilage, gum, pectin, bitter substances, saponin, citric oxalic and silicic acid, chlorine, potassium and magnesium salts, aucubine glucoside and healing silicon oxide, phytocide, plant antibiotics, antibacterials.
In ancient times the plant was used as a refreshing, diuretic and purifying and above all as an intestinal astringent.
Cataplasm was made to soothe itching and to purify the skin of bridesmaids by boils or small skin imperfections.
Many people used the plantain that was also dried and preserved with a wise methodology.