Natural Cough Medicine
Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is a common weed with overlooked medical potential. Many people wonder what natural medicine can be given for a difficult cough, bronchitis, asthma, or lung congestion. One of my favorite remedies is made by Uriel pharmacy in Wisconsin and contains plantain. This handy herb has been studied in medical journals and found to have three important properties for the respiratory tract.
It is anti-inflammatory– the lung passageways can become inflamed from infection, allergy or autoimmune processes. These cause production of mucous and bronchoconstriction- tightening of the smooth muscle in the smaller air passages. Bronchoconstriction is what happens in asthma, bronchitis and COPD and typically causes air trapping. So the anti-inflammatory properties of plantain are welcome in the lung.
It is spasmolytic. This simply means it relieves spasm in the lung- in particular the bronchospasm mentioned above that is key to the wheezing heard in asthma and bronchiolitis as well as COPD.
It is immunostimulatory. Plantain has immune boosting properties so that lung infections- both viral and bacterial can be cleaned up and resolved faster by your body.
Let’s compare the plantain trifecta with the three key treatments we use in conventional mediicne for a COPD exacerbation, COPD is a chronic lung condition that people often get through cigarrette smoke exposure or other chronic lung scarring. Often an acute worsening of COPD will occur that results in wheezing and severe shortness of breath. In acute case we try to treat three things:
- We give an antibiotic as often there are bacteria worsening the breathing
- We give a steroid to decrease inflammation in the lungs
- We give breathing treatments to open up the airways
Unfortunately these treatments, though highly effective in the short term, don’t address any of the causes of COPD. Many times I witness patients with a dependence on steroids which also depress the immune system and cause other system-wide effects on the body. Can we do better for this condition? I will explore COPD in another post as it is a big topic.
I give plantain for most lung conditions with phlegm and mucous as well as wheezing.
Bibliography Beer, André-Michael, and Dieter Loew. “[Medicinal plants for infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract: practical recommendations].” MMW Fortschritte der Medizin 150, no. 41 (October 9, 2008): 29–33. Vigo, E., A. Cepeda, O. Gualillo, and R. Perez-Fernandez. “In-Vitro Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Pinus Sylvestris and Plantago Lanceolata Extracts: Effect on Inducible NOS, COX-1, COX-2 and Their Products in J774A.1 Murine Macrophages.” The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 57, no. 3 (March 2005): 383–91. https://doi.org/10/fgq9nb. “WC500123351.Pdf.” Accessed February 15, 2018. http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2012/02/WC500123351.pdf. Wegener, T., and K. Kraft. “[Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.): anti-inflammatory action in upper respiratory tract infections].” Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) 149, no. 8–10 (1999): 211–16.