Author Topic: Plantain medicinal syrup  (Read 891 times)

Offline Knecht

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Plantain medicinal syrup
« on: April 10, 2020, 06:59:39 AM »
Since some of you have previously asked me about my homemade plantain syrup, I thought I'll post about it in a separate topic. With all the "I'm not a doctor" disclaimer stuff in mind (actually I am a doctor, though in a different field), let's get to the recipe, as plantain is just about to start growing (depending where you are, it may grow at your place already). First of all, all the plantain species that I'm aware of in my area (central Europe) are edible and not only harmless, but with recognized medicinal effect. I'm not aware of any plantain species elsewhere that would be a health hazard, but 1) do your own research for your location, 2) if you're not familiar with the plant, make sure you know what you're picking.
While other plantain species might also work, my family has always used the narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata) only. We pick nice clean leaves only, of course not along roads and such, only at nice clean places. Depending on how much are you worried about possible contamination (animal poop an all the good stuff that comes with it), you may want to wash it, more or less. If you want to take the syrup making seriously, you're gonna need a small basket of the leaves, at least. But of course you can make it in any amount you want.
Now, some recipes call for boiling the leaves along with sugar, but that's not how we do it. They also call for macerating the leaves for 2-10 days. Amateurs. This is how it's really done:
- get a big glass jar, clean it well, sterilize if possible
- put some sugar on the bottom
- put a layer of plantain leaves over the sugar (some people shred the leaves, we don't)
- repeat layering the leaves and sugar, making about 1cm thick layers (don't be shy to press the leaves)
- when the jar is full, all it needs is to rest in a dark place, not too cold. What we usually do is we dig a small hole in the ground and simply bury the jar there. Needs to be closed well. Doesn't have to go too deep, just enough to hide the jar and a little extra to make sure you don't accidentally break the lid when you walk over it and such. It's good to put some marker on the spot, such as a stake. We usually make the syrup sometime in the Spring or early Summer, then take it out in late Summer. Generally about two months, give or take. You need to try this ifor your area, I can imagine that in very hot places it might go faster, perhaps even ferment(?) especially if it's not completely clean. I guess you can make couple small sample jars this year and do some experiments where and how long does it need to be and next year you're gonna know and make a big jar. Once you dig out the jar, it won't look very pretty. The leaves will be all black, floating in a dark sugary mud. Don't worry, that's all good. As long as you don't see any mould growing on it (never happened to us), it's all good. Now you need to strain it. Do it outdoors if possible, it's a messy job. Make sure you don't have bees around, in which case you ma ywant to do it indoors. Strain it well, you should get dark but clean syrup, almost like honey. Pour it into clean jars and store in cold and dark (fridge is ok, cold cellar is fine too). Take a tablespoon couple times a day to treat cough, flu and such. No idea how it works against Corona, likely will see this year. At least it gives the ill one some energy. Kids love it.
Generally you get about 400ml of syrup from 1l of the original content.