Botanical Name: Plantago Lanceolata Family name: Plantaginaceae
This "weed" often falls victim to the lawnmower despite being one of the most useful herbs. Chew a leaf (the young leaves are spinach-like but get quite bitter as they age) then rub the mulch on mosquito bites or bee stings for instant relief.
The Herb Federation of New Zealand notes:
"Principally used as a poultice, ointment or in a decoction for external treatment of wounds, plantain has the ability to destroy a wide range of micro-organisms as well as stimulate the healing process (epithelisation). The upper side of plantain leaves can be used to draw poisons from wounds, while the undersides are used to heal the wound. Pour boiling water onto the leaves and mash them slightly — these can be wrapped in muslin and used as a poultice. The juice has been used to treat ulcers and boils."
The Peace Health information library rates the use/effects of plantain for numerous health conditions including; bronchitis, burns, coughs, dermatitis, bites and stings.
Medicinal Herb Info has the following information on usage and dosage:
Useful remedy for cough irritations and hoarseness and for gastritis and enteritis. Good for all respiratory problems, bronchitis, asthma, especially those involving mucous congestion. Used for diarrhea, nosebleed, kidney and bladder trouble, jaundice, headache, infections, hepatitis, spermatorrhea, loss of sexual power, promotes fertility, bedwetting, sciatica, tuberculosis, syphilis, snakebites, worms, toothache, dropsy, prevent blood poisoning, excessive menses, and inflamed eyes. A decoction of the dried leaves promotes the coagulation of blood. The fresh juice, pressed from the whole plant, is helpful for chronic catarrhal problems, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, gastro-intestinal ailments, and worms. Externally, the fresh leaves are crushed for application to erysipelas, eczema, burns, ringworms, tetters, shingles, scalds, wounds, running sores, ulcers, cuts, scratches, boils, tumors, insect bites even hemorrhoids. Widely used as a laxative, and combats inflammation.
If stung by insects, immediately rub some crushed English plantain leaves into the area around the sites of the stings, this will prevent swelling and itching. English plantain grows everywhere and is easily spotted.
Formulas or Dosages
Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. leaves in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes. Take 1 cup a day.
Decoction: boil 2 oz. dried leaves in 1/2 qt. water. Helps coagulate blood.
Juice: take 1 tbsp. in water or milk-alternative or mixed with 1 tbsp. sweetener, 3 times a day.
Ointment: for hemorrhoids, boil 2 oz. of the plant in 1 pint soybean or peanut oil."
Published research into the medicinal-uses / effects of Plantain include:
[Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.): anti-inflammatory action in upper respiratory tract infections].
Abstract Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) is used for the therapy of infections of the upper respiratory airways. While only few clinical data are available, results of experimental research confirm e.g. antiinflammatory, spasmolytic and immunostimulatory actions. A positive benefit-risk-ratio allows the recommendation of plantain in moderate chronic irritative cough, also especially for children. [available on PubMed]
[In vitro cytotoxic, antiviral and imunomodulatory effects of Platango].
Abstract ...The present study concludes that hot water extracts of P. major and P. asiatica possess abroad-spectrum of antileukemia, anticarcinoma and antiviral activities, as well as activities which modulate cell-mediated immunity... [available on PubMed]