Plantago. Plantago major.

Botanical name: 

Synonyms—Plantain, Rib wort, Rib grass, Ripple grass.

The leaves contain a resin, citric and oxalic acids. There is no alkaloid or glucoside.
Specific plantago. Dose from one to five drops.
The juice of the leaves is used, dissolved in alcohol.

Therapy—The remedy is of value in the internal treatment of all diseases of the blood. Scrofula, syphilis, specific or non-specific glandular disease, and mercurial poisoning. It is used in ulcerations of the mucous membrane, due to depraved conditions. It may be given in diarrhea, dysentery, the diarrhea of consumption, cholera infantum, and where there are longstanding hemorrhoids. It is also given in female disorders, attended with fluent discharges, and in hematuria, also in dysuria and some forms of passive hemorrhage. It would thus seem to possess marked astringent properties, as well as those of an alterative character. The older physicians ascribe an active influence to it, in the cure of the bites of venomous serpents, spiders, and poisonous insects. A simple but important influence is that exercised in tooth-ache. The juice on a piece of cotton applied to a tooth cavity, or to the sensitive pulp, has immediately controlled intractable cases of toothache. It seems to exercise a sedative influence upon pain in the nerves of the face, and relieves many cases of earache and tic-douloureux. In the nocturnal incontinence of urine, in young children, accompanied with a large flow of colorless urine, this agent has produced curative results in many cases.

Plantago is of immediate benefit, Dr. Kinnett says, in the treatment of snake bites. It should be made and given freely and a poultice of the leaves applied to the wounds.

Plantago relieves inflammatory infection of the skin, especially if accompanied with burning pain or itching. Inflammation of the intestinal tract which involves the mucous membranes and is accompanied with colicky pains will be relieved by plantago.

Old Dr. Smith from southern Illinois applied plantago in the form of a saturated tincture as a dressing for fresh cuts, wounds, or bruises. He could thus secure healing without the formation of pus. He made his tincture of the entire plant and roots, pounded up in alcohol. He applied one part usually to four of water.

Where the teeth have developed sudden tenderness and seem to be too long from ulceration of the roots, Dr. Turnbaugh gives plantago, ten drops of a three x dilution every three hours. He gives the late Dr. K M. Hale credit for the formula.

Dr. Wallace dips a teaspoon into hot water, drops into this five drops of the specific plantago, and pours this into the ear for earache, filling the ear afterwards with cotton. He claims immediate relief in aggravated cases.

Externally the bruised leaves have been applied in the form of a poultice, to chronic ulcers, and skin disorders, resulting from depraved blood. The juice may be combined in the form of an ointment. One physician told the writer that he saw an Indian woman pound up a large quantity of Plantain leaves, put them into a skillet, and pour on enough lard to cover. This was boiled for some time, then strained. When cool, the product was a smooth, greenish colored ointment. With this a chronic and previously absolutely intractable skin disease, similar to a dry form of eczema, was rapidly and permanently cured. This ointment in appearance and action very closely resembles the proprietary preparation, known as cuticura.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.