Plantain (Plantago Major)
Plantain is found in all parts of the world, (not to be confused with the banana-like plantains) and has been used by humans as a food and herbal remedy for all sorts of illnesses. A perennial plant, it grows from six to eight inches in height. The oval/ellipse-shaped leaves grow in a rosette pattern, with the spiky, flowering stalks growing in the center of the rosette. The leaf surfaces are very smooth, edges may be slightly toothed, and each leaf has a parallel series of five to nine veins that run lengthwise through the leaf.
Plantain likes wet areas like marshes and bogs, but they’ll also sprout up in alpine areas. It is often found in watered roadsides and lawns. Common plantain can grow in sandy, loamy, or clay soils, but it needs relatively moist soil and intermediate to full light exposure for optimal growth. It grows all over North America, and Hawaii. It can be found as far North as Alaska.
The leaves are best when eaten young. They get slightly bitter as they age. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Plantain is very high in vitamin A, B1, calcium and riboflavin . It also provides a bit of vitamin C.
Plantain has a long history as a herbal remedy. The leaves and the seeds are used as an antibacterial, antidote, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antitussive (suppressing coughing), cardiac, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and poultice. Get a good herb book and study the uses of this plant.
Medical evidence exists to confirm uses as an alternative medicine for asthma, emphysema, bladder problems, bronchitis, fever, hypertension, rheumatism and blood sugar control.
This is a common plant that is easy to find and can supply you with both food and medicine. Plantain is a plant that is worth your while to study. As with any plants be sure you have correctly identified them prior to eating or using them medically.