Plantago major L.

Plantago major L., Sp. Pl. 1: 112 (-113) (1753).

Plantago major
(Plantago major L.; Photo Javier martin and Jouko Lehmuskallio.)
Plantago major L.; Plantaginaceae
Vietnamese name: Mã đề, Xa tiền, Xu ma, Nhã én dứt (Thái), Su mà (Tày), Nằng chấy mía (Dao).
Chinese name: 大车前 da che qian
English Name: Bethlehem star, Madam fate, Star flower.
Latin Name: Plantago major L.
Synonym Name: Plantago borysthenica Wissjul.; Plantago dregeana Decne.; Plantago gigas H. Lév.; Plantago jehohlensis Koidz.; Plantago latifolia Salisb.; Plantago macronipponica Yamam.  ; Plantago major var. borysthenica Rogow.; Plantago major var. gigas (H. Lév.) H. Lév.; Plantago major var. jehohlensis (Koidz.) S.H. Li; Plantago major var. kimurae Yamam.; Plantago major var. major; Plantago major f. major; Plantago major var. paludosa Bég.; Plantago major var. pauciflora (Gilib.) Bég.; Plantago major var. sawadai Yamam.; Plantago major f. scopulorum Fr.; Plantago major var. sinuata (Lam.) Decne.; Plantago sawadai (Yamam.) Yamam.; Plantago villifera Kitag.
Family: Plantaginaceae
Description: Small perennial herb up to 30(–70) cm tall, with numerous fibrous and whitish roots. Leaves in one or few basal rosettes, arranged spirally; stipules absent; petiole usually as long as the blade; blade ovate to elliptical, (1.5–)5–30(–40) cm × (0.5–)3–10(–15) cm, base abruptly narrowed into petiole, apex rounded, both surfaces glabrous or pubescent, margins entire or irregularly dentate, veins 3–5, distinct, parallel. Inflorescence a spike 5–20(–35) cm long, densely to rather laxly flowered; peduncle 5–15(–25) cm long; bracts ovate, 1–2.5 mm long, acute. Flowers minute, usually bisexual, regular, 4-merous, sessile, greenish or yellowish white; sepals broadly elliptical to rounded, 1.5–2 mm long, keeled; corolla 2–4 mm long, lobes elliptical-ovate, c. 1 mm long, acute or obtuse; stamens inserted on the corolla lobes, exserted, anthers conspicuous; ovary superior, 2–4-celled, style 1 with a stout pilose stigma, protruding. Fruit a circumscissile capsule 2–4 mm long, (4–)6–34-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid or ellipsoid-trigonous, 1–1.5 mm long, dark brown to dull black, mucilaginous when wet. Seedling with epigeal germination; cotyledons sessile or shortly petiolate, sheathed at base; hypocotyl elongate, epicotyl absent.
Cultivation: Common Plantain prefers full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and soil containing loam or clay loam. It tolerates considerable compaction of the soil, but the size of individual plants will be somewhat smaller. Individual seeds can remain viable for up to 60 years and require light to germinate.
Distribution: Plantago major originated in Europe but has become cosmopolitan. It is essentially temperate in its distribution. In the tropics Plantago major is most common in mountainous regions. In Africa it is most common in southern Africa, including South Africa.
Ecological: Meadows, wet places, wastelands; near sea level to 2800 m. Chemistry: Whole plant contains oleanolic acid, β-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, luteolin, 6-hydroxyluteolin, acteoside and lu-teolin7-O-glucoside. Leaves contain fumaric acid, benzoic acid, cinnamic acid, syringic acid, vannillic acid, p-coumaric acid, gentisic acid and salicylic acid.
Pharmacology: Effective on urinary system; antitussive, pant-calming, phlegm-eliminating; anti-pathogenic microorganism; effective on stomach and intestines and anti-inflammatory.
Harvest & Processing: Harvested in autumn of the second year of sowing, excavated the whole plant, washed sediment, sun-dried or used fresh.
Diuretic, cough treatment (both excellent plants drink). Cure burns (whole plant cooks smeared). Diarrhea, cough with sputum (drink of seed extract).
Oral administration: decocting, 15-30g, fresh products 30-60g; or pounded to extract juice. External application: appropriate amount, decocted for washing, smashed for applying or extracted juice.
1. Treat bloody stranguria and pain: plantain seed, dry under the sun, grind into a powder, take 2 qian each time, decoct plantain leaves and swallow.
2. Treat itching pain of scrotum: plantain seed, cook in 3 sheng water and boil for 3 times, remove residues and wash the affected lesions.
3. Treat obstructed urine: plantain 1 jin, water 3 sheng, decoct until reduced to 1.5 sheng, and swallow in 3 times.

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