Plantain Plantago major and Plantago lanceolata are common perennial weeds, easily found, and possessing a wide range of therapeutic uses. They may be taken both internally as a tea, infusion or tincture, or topically in an ointment, compress or poultice. Three conditions that can benefit from the active constituents in plantain are acne, hemorrhoids, and eczema.
Acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin that is caused by a blockage of oil secretions within the pore which creates an ideal environment for the development of skin bacteria. Among the nutritional, lifestyle, herbal, and body care recommendations, there are a few areas that plantain can help. One recommendation is to avoid constipation. The psyllium seeds and ispaghula husks on the plantain plants are very beneficial in this area as they are high in insoluble fiber and are excellent laxative agents. Plantain is also an effective anti-inflammatory.
Hemorrhoids can be extremely painful and can have several possible causes. Chronic constipation can be a big cause, and plantain can help as mentioned above. An ointment made using plantain, or the fresh juice, can be used topically to soothe and help heal hemorrhoids.
Eczema is a skin condition that includes itching, inflammation, and scaling of the skin. Some causes include a variety of allergies to food and outside substances such as cosmetics, faulty elimination or constipation, and sluggish liver and kidneys. In addition to being a good laxative, Plantain is also beneficial topically as an anti-inflammatory. It is also soothing and helps to alleviate itch. A tincture or extract can be used internally as well as topically as a tincture, extract, or infusion. Plantain can also be paired with yellow dock and burdock to make an Itchy Skin Support Formula. Plantain is a good vulnerary, antiseptic, analgesic, astringent, and alterative herb, and can offer real relief to the symptoms.
Plantain has been reported to have powerful coagulant effects, and should never be taken by those prone to blood clots, or who are on blood thinning medication. Allergic reactions are possible with any herb, so always consult your primary care physician before adding any supplements to your regimin.
It is important to remember that the role of the unlicensed naturopath is not to diagnose, or even treat, disease, but rather to consult and educate the individual on how to restore balance. The goal of the natural health practitioner is to restore and keep the body in good “fighting condition”, so to speak, so that the internal environment is unfavorable to unwelcome invaders. Herbs play a huge role in this, and can also help in alleviating undesirable symptoms. We should always keep in mind, however, the overall goal of holistic wellness: that is a healthy and balanced body, mind, emotional self, and spiritual self.