Broad-leaved Plantago major, Narrow-leaved Plantago lanceolata Plantago Star of the Earth or Buck’s Horn Plantain Plantago coronopus
The Māori name for plantain is kopakopa or parerarera
- esteemed healers since ancient times Anglo-Saxon names Waybroad’ or ‘Waybread’ meaning a broad-leafed herb which grows by the wayside
- will grow anywhere, even in the middle of pathways
- found on every continent except the arctic and antarctic
- they grow in a rosette form out from the centre
- leaves are round or narrow with well defined veins
- threads come out of the stems when a leaf is torn
- seed-heads form on tall stalks and look like a slender bulrush with brownish flowers massed together (photo left)
- they can be annual or perennial depending on the variety.
Magical Use – this is cute
Recipe for a charm to predict love. On the summer solstice pick two flowering spikes as in the photo left and remove pollen bearing anthers. Wrap the flower spikes in a dock leaf and place under a stone overnight. Next day if more anthers have risen erect from the flowering spike, love is assured.
- herbal cure for wounds and sores
- respiratory disorders including asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis
- excellent for treating a bee sting by chewing up or rubbing a leaf to release the juice and applying to the sting
- I used it with impressive results on mosquito bites. The itching quickly goes and maybe 15 minutes later all sign of the bite has gone.
- All plantain varieties are high in protein
- Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, boron, calcium, iron, molybdenum, potassium and sulphur the
narrow-leaf plantain is more concentrated so best to use just one or two leaves in your smoothies leaves of the broad-leaved and buck’s horn plantains are less concentrated and can be used finely chopped up in salads, cultured with vegetables as well as in your smoothies.
Plantain Soup Recipe
Soak 1 cup of yellow or green split peas overnight￼
Gather a large handful of plantain leaves & chop up finely across the ribs
Stir fry a large onion, 3 garlic cloves and 1 tsp of ginger, 1/4 tsp cumin & 1 tsp turmeric in some nice olive or coconut oil
To this mix add 1 Liter of filtered water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer an hour or until the peas are soft.
Add tamari sauce, a dash of your own mineral rich vinegar and salt to taste. Garnish with you favourite herb.
- Plantain SmoothiePersimmons are ripe at this time of year, full of vitamin C they’ve been gathering all summer. They make a nice thick smoothie. Include some coconut milk along with the greens, an apple & banana, a slice of lemon and you have a lovely creamy drink.
Ingredients listed ￼below are left to right in the photo
2 small kale leaves
1 stalk of cleavers
4 narrow leaf plantain leaves
3 buckshorn plantain leaves
2 wall lettuce leaves
2 leaves & flowers of violet
3 herb robert leaves
1 sprig parsley (not pictured)
1 ripe apple
2 ripe persimmon
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
1 small slice of lemon including skin for flavour
Blend up the greens in the water and coconut milk. Once smooth add the banana, apple, lemon and persimmons including skin (take out the stalk). Blend again.
Pour into your favourite glass, decorate with a slice of lemon and a small kale leaf and voila a delicious, creamy smoothie! ￼
Yield: 1.2 liters