Treasures of nature: Plantain heals everything, or almost …

Let us continue our discovery of the “weed” that grows in our region with: The Plantain. This is easy to find in meadows, gardens and natural lawns. There are several of them, you can find both the rat’s tail (Major plantain) and the hare’s ear (lancet-shaped plantain). The plant is easy to recognize and you can not go wrong. The leaves form a rosette (they lie close together and spread out on the ground, at the base of the stem) like that of the dandelion. Each leaf has 5 to 7 (often 5) parallel veins, hence the name: 5-year-old grass. The plant produces lots of small seeds, which spread easily and germinate.

Used for centuries as a great remedy, the plantain today is somewhat neglected. But its virtues are many, and the list of emotions which it can treat, or from which it can relieve us, is long. This very common and widespread plant deserves to be rediscovered, if only for the beneficial effects against a wide range of respiratory or skin or urinary tract disorders.

There are many varieties, 3 of which are edible: the large plantain, the medium-sized plantain and the lanceolate plantain. Fear not, however: no plantain is poisonous, and its characteristic appearance means you can not confuse it with another plant. Inedible varieties are just too bitter and / or tough. Plantains are especially rich in mucus, but also in complete proteins, enflavonoids, tannins, minerals (high calcium), beta-carotene and vitamin C.

If you suffer from constant digestive problems due to antibiotics, food allergies or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), plantain can be a simple remedy. Many have reported that the plant’s leaves and seeds reduce inflammation and help repair damage to the lining of the gut. Plantain seeds are also useful for maintaining a clean digestive tract, absorbing toxins and creating firmer stools.

As it is rich in mineral silica, plantain is also an excellent expectorant. We recommend the use of fresh leaves and flowers, which is not complicated as the plantain is harvested 10 months out of 12. But it is of course preferable to pick the plantain at flowering, in the spring and far from any contamination (which is rarely the case in lawns! ). The leaves must be washed thoroughly. To dry them, place them in the sun or in a hot oven.

In salads: prefer the young leaves that you add to your salad or your endive. The taste is slightly bitter, with a touch of mushrooms.

As a vegetable: just boil the leaves and use them in soup (as with stinging nettles).

As an infusion: Let soak for 10 minutes, 1.5 g of aerated parts to 1 liter of boiling water (2 to 4 cups a day). For cough, bronchitis and constipation.

In decoction: to be used as a gargle or lotion. 10 to 20 g of whole plant (leaves, flowers and even roots) in 1 liter of water, boil for 10 minutes. 1 cup with each meal.

In maceration: in case of digestive or urinary problems. 30 to 60 give 1 liter of water. Boil for 3 minutes and let it macerate overnight. Drink the entire maceration within 24 hours.

For friction: Rub and massage the skin with fresh leaves. Wait several hours before rinsing without soap.

In compresses and wraps: fresh leaves on wounds, varicose veins … and even arthritis.

Plantain also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. All botanists know it: Nothing like a plantain leaf to soothe small wounds when you are in nature: barrack scrapes, small cuts, insect or nettle stings.

If you do not have the opportunity to pick plantain, you will find the dry plant at herbalists and in some health food stores.

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