Prepare some healing syrups for the cold winter. They might come in handy when the cold, bronchitis, tonsillitis and flu epidemics arrive. You can make the best of fresh herbs in your home kitchen for next to nothing!
Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
Ancient Greeks named this herb “seven-rib” (the literal translation), because it really has seven “ribs”. The Greeks and the Romans used it against herpes and skin infections and as an antidote to rabid dog bites. Ribwort plantain grows commonly along roads and pathways. That led it to become “the wayfarer’s herb” already in the Middle Ages. It is a perennial with a short rootstock that grows basically everywhere: you can pick it up in fields and meadows, along roads or grassy trenches.
The plant contains phenylethanoids such as acteoside, cistanoside F, lavandulifolioside, plantamajoside and isoacteoside. It also contains the iridoid glycosides aucubine (up to 2%) and catalpol, silicic and citric acid, enzymes like invertin and emulzin, vitamin C, tannins, potassium chloride, coumarins, zinc, and bittering agents. Thanks to its chemical composition the plant is considered a herbal antibiotic.
The common plantain normally discourages the discharge of mucous, especially in the respiratory system; therefore it is mainly useful in treating colds, runny nose, bronchial congestions, tonsillitis, and allergies like hay fever. It is also a suitable remedy for asthmatics and those who suffer from infections of the ear. The common plantain is also useful in clearing stomach, bowel and urinary infections.
Used externally, it helps in treating burns, frost wounds, and eczema. Plantain seeds are used to lower blood sugar levels. The herb also helps in alleviating the pains and exasperation caused by colic. Plantain broth functions well as eye drops to treat conjunctivitis and eyelid inflammation. Last but not least, the common plantain is known to be an effectual medication for swelling of the prostate.
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