Plantain Leaf

Plantain Leaf

plantago major

Plantain is an effective remedy for bites, stings, cuts, and scrapes, and it helps to draw out slivers, splinters, or stingers. Plantain may also be used to soothe and cool the pain, itching, or burning symptoms of poison ivy and stinging nettles.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: White Man's Foot
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves, Seeds & Root
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About Plantain

Plantago major is a perennial that is an adherent of family Plantaginaceae. It is an herbaceous flowering plant with broad leaves that have a diameter of about 6 to 12 inches, depicting a circular arrangement. They are oval-shaped with a smooth margin and an acute apex. It has small flowers with somewhat brownish-green petals and purple stamen. The height of the whole plant ranges from 24 to 36 inches whereas its rhizome can penetrate deep enough to reach 12 to 15-foot distance.

This has been living for nearly 4000 years and has been used as an ancient traditional medicine in Iran and Persia. Globally, plantain is used as a diuretic, astringent, anti-irritant, and anti-inflammatory agent. It is also helpful in treating wounds, burns, insect stings, skin problems, fever, constipation, and even cough too. In advanced phytotherapy, plantain is employed for the attenuation of irritation in the catarrh of the upper respiratory tract.

Plantain is rich in vitamin A and C, Calcium, flavonoids, polysaccharides, terpenoids, lipids, iridoid glycosides, and caffeic acid derivatives. These active ingredients, vitamins, and minerals are accountable for all the disorders it manages.

Its young tender leaves are edible and are oftentimes found in salads to tease your tooth. On the other hand, the older leaves can be cooked with stew to bring it in vogue.

Plantain leaves know all the secrets to popularize itself in medicinal and culinary disciplines.

Growing

Plantain can be planted anytime during the rainy season as they require a lot of water during the first 3 or 4 months of growth. After that, they can lean on average water supply but it should be regular. They do well in any kind of soil. Either sandy or rocky, everything works well for the growth of the plantain tree. Full to partial sun exposure accounts for the robust growth of the plantain.

Its seeds show better germination in outdoor frames but can be grown in a big sized pot too. If the seeds are first stratified, then it pays back healthily as stratification aids in rapid germination.

The ideal growth criteria of plantain include sowing the seeds in mid-spring directly into the garden bed or sow the seeds in early spring in an indoor setting then transplant it in later spring.

It takes around 30 days for the plantain seeds to germinate. The plant grows to a satisfactory degree and begins its flowering journey from mid-summer and keeps up with the task till early fall.

Plantain is pollinated by the wind as its pollen grains are quite light-weighed.  The fertilization treads on its heels to bring about fruit formation. The seeded varieties are used for propagation and improvement of the specie.

Harvesting

Plantain Leaf is cultivated normally for its big broad leaves.

The leaves can be snipped at any time of the year of an adult plant to dress up your salad. Contrastingly, the seeds are harvested when they turn brown as if they turn a shade darker, then they are of no use.

Plantain leaves are harvested profusely to meet its increasing demand. They are just snipped off of the narrowest part of the stalk. The roots are left behind to witness another yield in no time.

Scissors are preferred to be employed for the harvest of plantain leaves as failure to do so results in ripping and tugging.
Its seeds are also harvested from the pod that can be found at the tip of the flower stalk.

Plantain leaves are washed thoroughly to loosen the dirt and debris. They are then preserved by wrapping them loosely in a damp paper towel and kept in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

The leaves can also be dried to preserve their flavor. Plantain leaves are kept in the oven at 150 degrees or below until they turn crispy and are brittle to touch. 

Usage

Plantain leaves are quite useful when it comes to preparing their different dosage forms.

  • Tincture-  Infuse freshly chopped plantain leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Tea- Fresh plantain leaves are soaked in boiling water until the cup seems cold to touch. The liquid is strained and the tea is served.
  • Decoction- Dried plantain leaves or powdered roots are simmered in water for 20 minutes. The liquid is then cooled down and strained to form a decoction for kidney and bowel disorders.
  • Salve- Wilted plantain leaves are combined with tea tree oil, olive oil, and beeswax to formulate a perfect plantain salve.
  • Syrup- Fresh plantain leaves are simmered in a sugar solution to form sweet plantain syrup. Cinnamon sticks can be added as a cherry on the top to enhance its flavor and smell.
  • Infused oil- Dried plantain leaves are infused in coconut oil or olive oil.