Great Water Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)

Perennial
A. parviflorum. A. subcordatum. A. triviale. Pursh.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Great Water Plantain
Alisma plantago-aquatica
Alismataceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diaphoretic, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive[4, 147, 176]. They are used in the treatment of cystitis, dysentery, renal calculus, gravel etc[4]. The fresh leaf is rubefacient[222]. It is used in the treatment of leprosy[218] and is also applied locally to bruises and swellings[4].

    Dried stem bases eaten, or grated and taken with water in treating digestive disorders such as heartburn, cramps and stomach flu[257].

    The powdered seed is an astringent, used in cases of bleeding[4]. The seed is also said to promote sterility[218].

    The root has a wide range of medicinal uses[176, 218]. It is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diuretic and hypotensive[176]. It is said to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels[238] whilst it also has an antibacterial action on Staphylococcus, Pneumococci and Mycobacterium[176]. The root is used in the treatment of oliguria, oedema, nephritis, acute diarrhoea, cholesterolaemia and fatty liver[176]. It has been thought of as a cure for rabies, though this has not been substantiated[4]. The whole plant is believed to promote conception[218]. The root is harvested before the plant comes into flower and is dried for later use[238].

    A homeopathic remedy is obtained from the fresh root[4].

  • Edible Use

    Root – cooked[13, 46, 61, 74]. Rich in starch[114]. Caution is advised, the root is acrid if it is not dried or well cooked before use[2, 183].

    Leaves and petioles – must be thoroughly cooked. They require long boiling and have a salty flavour[105, 179].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The fresh leaves and roots are toxic but the toxic principal is destroyed by heat or by drying[13, 46].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Place the pot in about 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. Pot up the seedlings when large enough to handle and keep in the cold frame for the first winter, planting out in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Fairly easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.
Succeeds in a sunny position in boggy ground or shallow water up to 25cm deep[200]. Plants often self-sow aggressively when in a suitable position[1, 56]. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima orientale. Sam. is the form used medicinally in China[176]. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima parviflorum (Syn A. parviflorum, A. subcordatum) is the form used medicinally in America[222]. Plants are very attractive to slugs[K].
Northern temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, Asia and America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.