Water Plantain.

Botanical name: 

Plate 52. Plantago aquatica.

A very common tall plant in ditches, and having not the least resemblance of any kind of plantain, except in the leaves; from which, however, it has received its name. The root is composed of a great quantity of fibres. From this, there rise in spring a number of leaves, oblong, broad, smooth, and of a beautiful green colour, and having in shape, though not at all in colour or consistence, some slight resemblance of plantain: they are perfectly smooth, of a glossy surface, and brittle. These stand for many months without the stalk; and doubtless in this state it got the name. The stalk is two feet or more in height; round, firm, and upright; and at the top it sends out a vast number of branches, which send out other smaller; and even these last are again divided. On the tops of the last divisions stand the flowers with their buds, and the seed-vessels; so that the whole has the appearance of a cone. The flowers are little and white, and consist of three leaves each; they stand but a little time, and only a few are seen together.

The seed is the part used: the plant is to be suffered to stand, till this is thoroughly ripe, and then cut up gently, and laid to dry two or three days upon a table: a smart stroke or two, will dislodge a great quantity of the seeds; they are very good against the overflowing of the menses, and all other bleedings; and are given in powder, in electuaries, small doses being to be taken at a time, and often repeated.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.