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Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2nd WHMonth: PLANTAIN

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

HERBS ARE NATURES MEDICINE . . . and there are amazing relationships between flora and fauna that serves as guides to man. One such relationship is between the Mongoose and the Snake. In ancient India when the mongoose often fought the cobra, it was noticed that if bitten, the mongoose would scurry off to eat the herb PLANTAIN to neutralize the venom.

PLANTAIN  (Plantago major; Plantago lanceolate) belongs to a group of herbs categorized as "alteratives," which are herbs that gradually alter and correct impure conditions of the blood, and thus are often considered 'blood purifiers.' Alteratives do not simply purify the blood stream but at the same time steadily tones up the organs which may not be able to secrete impurities from the blood themselves. Oftimes the impurities may arise from improper food, beverages or impure air.  So not only as healers must we strive to remove the cause - but also purify the blood.  Too many times we simply take herbs to cleanse, detoxify and clean the blood, but don't change our habits to eliminate the cause for the imbalances in the first place.  We need to make a Spiritual Decision to change that, since our "minds" have failed us.

PLANTAIN grows profusely in the streets and parks.
You've probably walked by it a thousand times.
 Once we understand that our major organs for carrying off impurities and waste matter - liver, kidneys and skin - the cleansing process becomes clear. So in these instances it is necessary to know what organ is at fault when using alteratives, as we must also use herbs to rejuvenate and strengthen the liver (dandelion, cascara, bupleurum, gentian, sassafras), kidneys (gravel root, parsley, horsetail, juniper berries, rehmania),  and skin (comfrey, plantain, marshmallow, mullein, witch hazel, white willow bark) - depending on other signs and symptoms. If the liver is torpid, and bile retained in the system, we may find in one case the retained bile has affected the digestion. In another  instance we may find a skin eruption. If the kidneys fail to secrete as they should, the blood stream is polluted. The skin may be retaining impurities, or the lungs may be unable to oxygenate the blood due to impure air being breathed.  In addition, there are stimulating and toning alteratives as well as relaxing alteratives - depending on the other symptoms that are presenting . . . MAKE NATURE'S MEDICINE YOUR OWN

Lance-Leaf Plantain
PLANTAIN has a cool, pleasant and mildly astringent taste and the roots, leaves, flower spikes and seeds (which you probably know as 'psyllium seeds') are used medicinally. The therapeutic effects include strengths as a vulnerary, astringent, diuretic, emollient, antiseptic and expectorant.  As I said in the last posting, I've used this herb many times (along with others, like Mullein, especially when experiencing serious physical pain).  Plantain is a stimulating alterative, and is good for bruises (stuck blood),  inflammation (congealing infection fighting fluids) and pain (stuck Chi). Combined with other herbs, it will relieve pain and "move things along."

Both the roots and leaves are strong healers of the circulatory system and the glandular system as it proves marked healing success to affected lymph and epidermal areas in skin diseases.


For stings, bites of poisonous insect, plants animals or boils and tumors: bruise the fresh leaves (or chew them) and apply directly to affected area, cover and keep moist; changing every couple of hours.


To heal hemorrhoids, piles and arrest diarrhea, steep one ounce of the herb in one pint of water for 1/2 hour (covered) and inject 1 tbs three to four times daily (especially after each bowel movement).

As relayed in the book School of Natural Healing (see Book List on the side), page 54: ". . . a mad had come to us for help who had blood poisoning. Red streaks were running up his arm; he had a large lump under the arm pit, and he was in extreme pain. His fingers were swollen so large that his hands were spread wide. We simply bruised some leaves of plantain herb, made them into a poultice and applied it over the entire arm. Within twenty-four hours, the fingers were normal, the lump was gone and the tell-tale red line had entirely disappeared.  The herb had drawn the poison completely out.

Harvest the 'psyllium' seeds before or after
the stem "flowers."
There are two types: broad leaf and lance leaf plantain. They all have similar properties, but the wider leaf (at top and to the left) has a more marked diuretic effect and is more effective in water retention and kidney and bladder infections.  Plantain is really useful in salves and ointments, alone or combined with chickweed, comfrey or elder flowers, as it is one of the best herbal remedies for cuts, skin infections and chronic skin problems.

Plantain is an ancient herb in China, and is given as a tea for general debility, spermatorrhea and loss of sexual power, as well being known for promoting fertility. To strengthen the health of the prostate, steep 1 ounce of the psyllium seeds in boiling water, covered, for 20 minutes; in another pot pour 1 1/2 pints of boiling water over once ounce of flaxseed (which contains Vitamin F, a critical nutrient for the prostate), covered, for 20 minutes. When done, mix the two together and drink three to four cups daily. The tea can be reheated and taken warm or hot.

Don't forget to share your personal experience (in the comment box below or via email: with herbs you use for similar conditions ~ so we can all EXPAND OUR MEDICINE BAG.