Plantago Major and Sinusitus

One of my first ventures into eating wild things, other than Mother's dandelion greens and milkweed greens, came out of reading Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants. Armed with some rough info from the book, off I went into the wilds, mostly down along the crick, to see what I could find.

Plantago Major
Plantago Major

I came back with a good big handful of day lily tubers, ramps, burdock, chives, plantain, and some pine needles for tea. I cleaned everything up, chopped and steeped the pine needles for tea, and boiled the greens in a couple of changes of water. I kept them separate so I could taste them separately. When I finished I had barely enough for a meal it all cooked down so much. Ah well, I'll get more next time. I sat down at my computer and surfed and ate. The greens were pretty tasty, the tea delicious, the day lily tubers also tasty.

In about fifteen or twenty minutes I started to become aware of how really good I felt - better than I had in ages. Then I realized my sinuses were starting to drain.

I had been plagued with blocked sinuses for quite some time and had been taking Sudafed regularly to keep the blockage under control, but that wasn't working anymore (as I've since learned is typical). Wow. This felt so good I just had to find out which pot herb was helping and I vowed to try them one by one and see if I could figure it out. Next morning as I set off for work, I bent over, picked a plantain leaf off the lawn (no herbisides here!), brought it to my mouth, and before it even reached my lips I "knew" I had the right one. Quite astonished I was. So I ate a couple of nice looking leaves, my sinuses drained and I felt great all day. By the next day the stuffiness was creeping back, so I ate a couple more. I've been eating them ever since, though only when I feel stuffed, which seems to be less and less frequently. In any case - the relief is almost instantaneous.

From a good article on Sinusitis by David L Hoffmann:

The sinuses are bony cavities behind, above and at each side of the nose and opening into the nasal cavity. They act as a sound-box to give resonance to the voice. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the four air-containing cavities in the skull. Like the nasal passages, the sinuses are lined with mucous membranes, which react to infection by producing mucus. This incapacitates infecting bacteria. Because the openings from the nose into the sinuses are very narrow, they quickly become blocked when the mucous membrane of the nose becomes swollen during a cold, hayfever or catarrh, and then the infection is trapped inside the sinus. Chronic sinusitis may occur if one or more of the drainage passages from the sinuses to the nose becomes blocked. This can cause a dull pain across the face, temple, around the eyes and headaches. If the maxillary sinuses above the cheeks are infected, this can produce toothache. Once the lining of the sinuses becomes swollen, he cilia no longer operate, causing the lining of the sinuses to become permanently thickened, contributing to the retention of phlegm.