Planetary Herbs

There is strong evidence that suggests significant global warming is occurring.  Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface.

Normally, this radiation would escape into space – but these pollutants, which can last for many years in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter.

The impact of global warming is being felt across the globe and the dairy industry is seen to be one of the causes which may contribute to global warming.

New research shows that a bovine diet that includes plantain, sometimes known as ribwort, means cows don’t produce as much harmful nitrogen in their urine while still making good weight gains.

The study by Lincoln University in Canterbury showed that incorporating plantain into pasture proved a successful mitigation tool to reduce the environmental impact from animal production and increase the sustainability on farms.

Plantain is a herb which flourishes here on Waiheke Island and acquires its name from the strong parallel veins in its leaves.  A ubiquitous weed on roadsides and in lawns, it is used medicinally to dry out the mucus trapped in the sinus cavities, relieving pressure and allowing easier breathing.

Whether you consider it a weed or a herb, it has a strong demulcent action which means it soothes and protects mucus membranes, relieving irritation and inflammation.

If you are collecting fresh plantain, the young leaves can be eaten raw in salads as it is rich in vitamin B1 and riboflavin. It can also be added to honey and used to soothe sore, gravelly throats.

Plantain leaves are ancient medicines with many virtues and still used throughout the world. It is traditionally used to combat a number of respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis, nasal catarrh and sinusitis as well as middle ear complaints.

And, if you cut yourself when out foraging or gardening, simply gather and chew a couple of good looking leaves, then apply the ‘spit poultice’ to the afflicted area. Bleeding stops quite quickly and broken flesh is rapidly sealed together, due to the astringency of tannins and the soothing mucilage to help you get to your GP for assessment.