What is plantain?
If the origin of the plantain remains uncertain, we find the first traces of use of this plant for its medicinal virtues among the Romans and then in the Amerindian communities.
The Latin name Plantago would mean ” plant that acts », Alluding to the medicinal properties that the Romans attributed to it. Other sources claim that the name means “sole of the feet” instead, referring to the shape of the leaves of some species.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, the plantain was considered an essential medicinal plant.
Today there are more than 200 species of this herbaceous plant found on all continents. Not all of them are used for their benefits on the human body. The species generally consumed in herbal medicine are:
- plantago lanceolata
- plantago major
- plantago media
- psyllium plantago (or Indian plantain)
Plantain has a very common appearance and grows easily. She also often invites herself into vegetable gardens. The leaves of the plantain are green and deciduous, its flowers can be white or green and appear in spring. At the end of the season, its fruits resemble small capsules and contain a seed.
What are the properties of plantain?
Almost any part of the plantain can be used for its health benefits, since it is globally antioxidant. The leaves of plantain species recognized for their virtues contain vitamins AT, B1, B2, B3, VS And K, which play an important role in the proper functioning of the body. We also find in these plants minerals like calcium and the iron, necessary for bone formation and blood oxygenation.
Plantain is best known for its effects:
- Anti-inflammatories : it protects the mucous membranes and fights free radicals. It is indicated against inflammation of the respiratory tract, the mucous membranes of the mouth and pharynx.
- Antiallergic : it calms allergic reactions including conjunctivitis. It is also a good antitussive, to be preferred in case of bronchitis, laryngitis or asthmatic cough.
- Antiseptics : it helps to form a barrier against bacteria and viruses. Studies have demonstrated the antibacterial properties of plantain on Staphylococcus aureus as well as, among others, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Healing : plantain is also used to accelerate the healing of lesions such as mouth ulcers or ulcers, but also external wounds and more particularly insect bites.
How to eat plantain?
To benefit from all the benefits of plantain, it is possible to consume its leaves, roots, seeds or juice.
In herbal medicine, plantain is found in several forms:
- in capsulesto be taken in addition to meals to contain allergies (3 to 6 capsules of total powder per day or 2 capsules per day of dry extract, rarer);
- in infusionby boiling fresh leaves
- in hydroalcoholic extractto be mixed with water
- in mother tinctureto be mixed with a little water
- poultice made from crushed fresh leaves, applied directly to lesions
- in the form of a saladbecause plantain can also be used in cooking
For positive effects, among others, on the blood sugar and blood lipid levels as part of the diabetesit is advisable to take 9 g of Indian plantain daily (plantago psyllium) for about three months. It must be plaughed at mealtimes and mixed with food changes their texture and viscosity, which lowers their glycemic index.
If you have type 2 diabetes, consult your doctor before starting a course of blond psyllium.
What are the contraindications of plantain?
No contraindications are known for plantain. It should only be noted that in rare cases side effects have been reported, such as intestinal disorders and drops in blood pressure.
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