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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

HERB PLANTAGO MAJOR OR COMMON PLANTAIN AND ITS MEDICINAL USES

I like this herbal drink because of its flavour. Once in a while I will boil this herbal drink for my family. What is this herbal drink that I am writing about? This herbal drink is made by boiling the herb Plantago Major. This herb has many names. Some of the names are Plantago Major, Common Plantain, Broadleaf Plantain, Greater Plantain, English Man's Foot, etc. In Cantonese, I learnt that it is called something like "Teen Koon Choe". It belongs to the Plantaginaceae Family.
Plantago Major is a short, little herb plant. It has green, roundish oval shaped leaves. The leaf when matured is very tough and not easily broken. A poultice made from the leaves can be applied to wounds, cuts, burns, insect stings or bites, ulcers, sores to promote healing and prevent infection. It is also anti-inflamatory, antioxidant, etc.
The very young and tender leaves can be eaten raw as salad green. The matured or older leaves are very fibrous and stringier but they can be cooked and boiled in stews. Tea made from boiling leaves in water can be used to treat diarrhea, dysentery and to soothe and promote healing.
The leaves are high in minerals especially calcium, vitamins and also contain very high healing compounds.
The flowers are tiny and are on long, thin and straight stalks raised high above the leaves.
Plantago Major is wind pollinated. It is propagated through seeds. The seeds are very tiny and they are oval shaped.
I can still remember the weekend trip in Fraser's Hill many years ago with some church members. We got up very early in the morning to go for our morning walk and at the same time to catch the beautiful sunrise. On our way back to the bungalow for breakfast, we saw plenty of Plantago Major growing wild on both sides of the road. They were so healthy and fertile. We stopped to gather some of these plants.

We wanted to pull out some of these herbs to take back to Ipoh to boil as herbal drink for the coming small group meeting to be held in my house. We were all squatting by the roadside, ready to begin pulling the plants when on of the ladies (Shirley) stopped us. She told us to hang on and watch. She then used her hand to gently rustle the tip of the leaves and there on the ground we saw many leeches appearing upright, swaying and reaching up, ready to cling to whatever is causing the movement of the leaves.

Those of us who were squatting screamed and jumped up and away from where we were! We were so taken aback at the size of the leeches, they were approximately about an inch and a half long. After overcoming the initial shock and fright, the lady showed us that once we can see the leeches, now we can carefully pull the plants without touching the leeches. That was a very memorable incident and lesson that I can never forget.
Last year, I saw some fresh Plantago Major on sale in the village market by an elderly woman. Plantago Major is not always on sale and it is no longer cheap. For a small bundle, it costs about MYR 2.50 to 2.80 (approx. 0.70 to 0.79 USD). Usually I need about 2 to 3 bundles. The Plantago Major plants are tied in bundles with the whole plants and roots intact. I bought a few bundles home to boil and I kept 1 bundle aside. I wanted to try growing them in my garden since the plants are still fresh with the roots intact.
The bundle of Plantago Major grew very well in my garden. This picture is the second generation Plantago Major.
The dried seeds from the first batch dropped onto the soil and many small plants started to grow from the soil.


Wherever the seeds dropped, they grew into many baby plants. They are very hardy, able to resist and withstand all the trampling when I move about in the garden. They are left to grow wherever they are and harvested when matured. In this way I no longer need to buy from the market, I now have my own supply from my garden.
On Monday morning, I harvest some Plantago Major to boil herbal drink. I picked and throw away all the dried, old leaves and shake the roots free of all soil particles.
Then I soaked the plants in a basin of water to loosen all remaining soil particles from the roots. I rinsed the plants with a few rounds of clean water to remove all dirt particles.
I boiled the Plantago Major plants in a pot of water with a packet of the above ingredients bought from the Chinese medical shop. I was told that these are half cooked barley beans. These are ready packed and when you tell the sales person that it is for boiling "teen koon choe", they will give you this ingredient.
I placed the plants, ingredients and water together in the pot and boiled for about an hour or more over low fire. After a while you can smell the nice aroma coming from the kitchen. I did not add any sugar because we prefer the drink plain without sugar. According to your preference, you can add rock sugar or brown sugar or palm sugar.
This is how the drink will look like. Just drink like any normal herbal drink. This can also be used to treat fever, respiratory infections and to soothe sore throat. It is also commonly used to cleanse kidney, urinary bladder and urinary track of impurities and stones.

I would like to add that all herbal drink and alternative treatment are to be taken with caution and at your own risk. For those who are taking medication, it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctors.

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.

Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail.

Every month they will bear,

because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.

Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

(Ezekiel 47:12, New International Version-NIV)

23 comments:

  1. So far, i have not boil herbal drink myself before...

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  2. I don't think I have try this herbal drink before. What does it taste like if boiled plain without barley or sugar?

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    Replies
    1. I can say that it is not bitter, just like some tasteless green tea.

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  3. i remember a similar plant growing in our yards where i was raised in the northern US.

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  4. I am afraid I would have run miles away at the sight of the first leech! I thought they like sucking blood, so don't know what they were doing on green leaves! We have the English Plaintain here and they are all over the yard . Most pull them up to have pretty yard.

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    Replies
    1. The place is damp, good place for leeches. Once the plants come into the garden, they are there to stay.

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  5. I would love to try the tea version. I love tea :)

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  6. It looks a little bit like 'cekur' or 'sar keong'... I'd love to try this but better not go for wild plants in case it's the wrong thing!

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    Replies
    1. Sar Keong/cekur does not have long stalks. Better not try if you are not sure if correct plant or not.

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  7. This plant looks familiar. Like what Stacy commented, it does look like daun cekur. Ekkks...that story about the leeches is so scary!

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    Replies
    1. Very scary, I can still remember the incident so clearly.

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  8. Amazing Article!!!
    Herbal medicine is safety for our health. And it’s good for our body.
    You should watch this!!!!
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johnathon, thank you for visiting my blog. Are you a financial advisor?

      Delete
  9. I also love tea and often use it as medicine. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Linda, I too like tea, most tea are medicinal.

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  10. Nan...I want to plant this too. One day I come and take some anak from you :p Yours growing so healthy and plentiful :)

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    Replies
    1. Can, you let me know when you are coming.

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  11. didnt notice this plant before. So many new things to learn.

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    Replies
    1. Same with me here. I am learning more about my garden weeds, that they are herbs and can be used instead of pulling them up and throw them away.

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    2. Same with me here. I am learning more about my garden weeds, that they are herbs and can be used instead of pulling them up and throw them away.

      Delete

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