Evening Primrose Oil Benefits
The common plantain is different from the banana plantain or plantain fruit which belongs to the musa species. Plantago major, the common plantain or broadleaf plantain is an herb but also considered as weed by some people. Plantain leaves are wide and rounded. The plants produce flowering spikes which are covered with small seeds.
Plantain leaves, root and seeds are edible. The young fresh plantain leaves can be eaten raw in salads or steamed and blanched. The dried leaves are used to make plantain tea. The plantain seeds can be used to substitute linseed or added to a variety of foods. The seeds can also be boiled and drank as tea or ground into flour.
In some cultures, plantain leaves were hung to ward off evil spirits. The ground roots and leaves were used as treatment for snake bites, dog bites, insect bites and bee stings. Plantain leaf tea was used to support respiratory health and the immune system and as a remedy to treat asthma, bronchitis and parasitic worms. Plantain herb and tea were also used as poultice and compress for treating bruises, itching, rashes, sores and wounds.
The nutrients present in plantain include beta carotene, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Natural chemical constituents include allantoin, aucubin, apigenin, baicalein, linoleic acid, oleanolic acid, sorbitol and tannin. Plantain seed husks have high mucilage content.
Acubin is a powerful anti-toxin and allantoin has the ability to promote wound healing, treat skin irritation and soothes and moisturizes the skin. This was why plantain herb was effectively used to treat bites, wounds and skin problems. Plantain extract is now available as plantain ointment to treat bites and stings.
Clinical trials indicate that plantain herb has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a natural demulcent, expectorant, laxative and mild diuretic.
As a natural laxative and demulcent, plantain herb may help treat the symptoms of constipation which include infrequent bowel movements, difficulty having bowel movements, hard stools and abdominal pain or bloating. It helps by lining the mucous membrane and soothing it and increasing the volume of stool and softening it. Plantain has also the potential to treat other digestive problems such as diarrhea, dysentery, gastrointestinal ulcer and stomach ulcer.
Because plantain has expectorant and demulcent actions, it may treat lung infections, respiratory problems and coughing. The expectorant activities help thin the mucus and makes it easier to cough it out. It also helps clear the nasal passage. The demulcent actions soothe the inflamed tissues.
It anti-inflammatory properties also help relieve sore throat and other internal and external inflammations such as mouth ulcers. Use plantain tea as a mouthwash for mouth sores and drink the tea to teat internal inflammations.
Plantains emollient and astringent actions are helpful in treating skin conditions such as dermatitis. It is also used as one of the remedies to relieve itching caused by insect bites and poison ivy. You can also use plantain extract as a cleanser and moisturizer.
You can use plantain tea as skin wash. Its antibacterial actions will help prevent infections.
Plantain may assist in smoking cessation and can be used as a stop smoking aid. It seems that chewing the young fresh leaves help in reducing the craving for tobacco.
Some studies indicate that plantain extract has the potential to reduce appetite and may help treat obesity if taken half an hour before meal. The additional benefits include reducing plasma cholesterol and triglyceride.
Plantain leaf tea is also used as a remedy for bladder and kidney problems. It may increase the flow of urine because of its mild diuretic action. When applied externally on minor wounds, it assists in controlling bleeding and may also aid in controlling internal bleeding. Plantain may also reduce fever and headache.
The recommended dosage for taking the dried plantain herb is 3 to 6 grams a day. To make plantain tea, steep 1 tablespoon of the dried herb. Plantain extract is also available in capsules, liquid extract and tincture.
Even though plantain appears to be safe, you should follow the recommended dosage if you plan to take plantain supplement. And it is advisable to talk to your doctor or herbalist before taking plantain extract or supplement if you have a medical problem on taking prescription medication.