GREATER PLANTAIN (Plantago major L.)

Description

Vivacious, perennial, herbaceous plant, 10-60 cm high. Starting on the second year, a yellowish underground stem is formed, from where plenty of white rootlets originate. Leaves are wide, large as the sole of the foot, come directly from the root and grow up vertically, forming a basal rosette, going from pale green to grayish-green, glabrous or slightly hairy. The limb is oval-shaped connected to the stem by a long wide petiole. The lower side has 5 to 7 elevated nerves in whitish-green displayed in a parallel form, clearly seen in the back. From the same point the leaves sprout, the floral peduncles do, too; these peduncles are covered, on their upper half, by plenty of small flowers without any petiole forming a reddish brush. The peduncle is shorter than that one of the Plantago lanceolata and inflorescences take most part of it. Inflorescence is a cylindrical spike, oval-shaped, globose, scape larger than leaves, oval-shaped and glabrous bracts of variable dimensions (they might be up to 45 cm long). Flowers are hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, small or purple, formed in groups, with blond petals. The corolla has a glabrous tube and free sepals along it. The fruit is a two-celled capsule, not enclosed in the perianth, when it ripens, the seedpods split in half, and the seeds fall to the ground to start the whole thing over. It belongs to the Plantaginaceae family.

It is spread along Europe and northern and central Asia. Even though it might be found around the world in the wild, Plantago plants prefer mild and cold weathers. It is commonly found in gardens and lawns, along trials, in sidewalk cracks, and in similar habitats. It blooms between late spring and early autumn. Tender and fresh leaves are edible and used in salads.

Part used
Aerial parts.

Indications
Internal use
> Respiratory disorders: common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, irritant cough, allergic rhinitis, hay fever, allergies, allergic sinusitis, pharyngitis, throat sore, tonsillitis, laryngitis, etc.
> Inflammatory disorders of buccopharyngeal mucosa, gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer, hyperacidity, diarrhea.
> Other: hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal pain, rheumatism, cystitis and urethritis.

External use
> Skin inflammatory disorders: eczema, herpes, fissures, furuncles, chafing, wounds.
> Against insect bites, especially bee-stings (crushed fresh leaves).
> Eye disorders: blepharitis (eyelids inflammation), conjunctivitis.
> Mouth disorders: stomatitis (buccal mucosa inflammation), gingivitis (gums inflammation), glossitis (tongue inflammation).


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