A perennial weed, plantain bears leaves that grow low to the ground and a spiked stalk with inconspicuous flowers. It is as useful to the herbalist as it is annoying to the homeowner trying to grow an attractive lawn. Due to its astringent or binding properties, it can aid in the treatment of diarrhea and hemorrhoids. Plantain also helps the body remove excess mucus from the lungs and soothes inflamed and sore membranes, making it useful for treating coughs and mild bronchitis. And its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions help in healing skin wounds.
Over the counter:
Plantain is available as tinctures, powdered seeds, dried leaves, seeds and aboveground parts.
Tea: 2 tsp. dried herb per cup of boiling water steeped for 10 minutes.
Decoction: 1 oz. seeds in 1 1/2 pint water boiled until reduced to 1 pint. Sweetened with honey.
Powdered seeds: 1 tsp. dissolved in juice, taken three times a day as a laxative.
Dressing: The tincture used as a dressing for cuts, wounds, bruises and bites.
Combinations: A liniment made from plantain juice (or tea) and rose oil can be used externally for gout.