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Gifts of Siberia: Plantain

The chapter is about how plantain not only heals wounds, but also contributes to our health and beauty...

In Russia people know plantain from childhood as a "patch". Back then walking outside with the guys we could get a scratch or a cut, and the first thing we did was to find a plantain leaf, squeeze it and spit on it and then put on a wound to be back into the game ASAP. However, this weed has many other advantages – let's talk about them.

Description: dear traveler

Plantain belongs to Plantaginaceae family (Latin: plantago) and has more than 150 species of annual and perennial grasses and semi-shrubs. It probably got such name for its ability to "settle" along roads and the unusual shape of the leaves, which resemble the imprint of a human foot. The word itself comes from the Latin planta (sole of the foot) and suffix -ago (a sort of). The plantain had many names among people, but all of them were associated with wanderer; a man travelling along the road.

The plantain looks pretty attractive. Small flowers are collected in a spike-shaped inflorescence located on stalks up to 45 cm high, and the fruits is a multi-seeded box. Due to the fact that plantain seeds tend to stick to people's shoes and animal fur, it grows everywhere – along paths, in forests, meadows, near reservoirs, in courtyards and gardens, except regions of the Russian Far North.

What's Inside

The formula of plantain includes both simple elements and complex compounds. Psyllium seeds contain a lot of fatty acids, proteins and planteose, while leaves contain potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper and some other micronutrients. The leaves also contain polysaccharides with anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects, a large number of flavonoids involved in redox processes.

Different parts of the plant contain pectins (seeds – up to 40%, leaves – up to 20%), vitamin complex (Vitamins K, C), carotenoids, saponins, tannins, glycoside aucubin with a wide spectrum of action, organic acids.

Healing Properties

The medicinal properties of plantain were known in ancient times. Healers used the leaves to stop bleeding, heal burns and inflammation, while juice and decoctions were used as a tonic and for the treatment of various diseases (and even tuberculosis).
Due to the unique biochemical composition and interaction of all substances, plantain has antiseptic, wound healing, hemostatic, emollient, anti-inflammatory, sedative, analgesic, diuretic, and tonic effects. Modern medicine and cosmetology use leaves and seeds of the plant as medicinal raw materials and include plantain in a number of remedies for the treatment of various diseases.

Use for the Body

Plantain supports the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract
It regulates digestion, increases appetite, reduces the tone of the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines, has a regenerating effect in gastritis and other damage to the gastrointestinal mucosa. Iridoid glycosides, aucubin, catalpol in the composition enhance the secretion of gastric juice, increase its acidity.

Wound Healing
Phytoncides in the composition kill bacteria, while Vitamin K increases blood clotting.

Plantain helps with respiratory diseases
Thanks to mucus, enzymes, and phytoncides, plantain has an expectorant effect: It dilutes and removes sputum, stimulates ciliated epithelium of the respiratory tract.

Plantain lowers cholesterol level
Saponins, flavonoids, oxycoric acids and pectin substances have a hypocholesterolemic effect.

Plantain is effective for cosmetic purposes
It promotes the regeneration of damaged tissues, soothes and softens the skin, cleanses pores, increases tissue elasticity, evens out the tone of the face:
– bioflavonoids as powerful antioxidants slow down the aging process and increase the elasticity of the skin;
– vitamins protect the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, stimulate the formation of collagen, nourish the skin;
– salicylic acid helps to reduce the symptoms inherent in oily and problematic skin;
– tannins normalize the functions of the sebaceous glands;
– polysaccharides restore the water balance of the skin.

Due to the wide range of beneficial properties, plantain is included in many Siberian Wellness products: