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Asiatic Plantain

Asiatic Plantain

The Miraculous Plant-Before-Cart Herb

Asiatic Plantain, commonly known as Plant-Before-Cart grass, is a versatile herb with a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine. Belonging to the Plantaginaceae family, this remarkable plant offers a myriad of health benefits, particularly in the treatment of various ailments related to dampness in the body.

Botanical Information

  • Scientific name: Plantago asiatica L. and Plantago depessa Willd
  • Chinese name: Before-the-cart grass
  • Pharmaceutical name: Herba plantaginis
  • Part used: Entire plant Dosage: 10 to 18g
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Energy: Cold
  • Class: Herbs to reduce dampness in the body
  • Meridians: Liver, spleen, and bladder
  • Actions: To benefit water, clear heat, sharpen vision, and expel sputum

Therapeutic Applications

The Asiatic Plantain is indicated for the treatment of:

  1. Chronic tracheitis
  2. Urination difficulty
  3. Vaginal discharge
  4. Blood in the urine
  5. Jaundice
  6. Edema
  7. Hot dysentery and diarrhea
  8. Nosebleed
  9. Pinkeye
  10. Eye pain
  11. Sore throat
  12. Cough
  13. Skin ulcers

Pharmacological Effects

Research has shown that the Asiatic Plantain possesses potent properties that can help alleviate dampness, lower blood pressure, reduce blood fat, and promote urination. However, it is worth noting that men with seminal emission due to kidney deficiency should avoid using this herb.

Historical Significance

The story of the Asiatic Plantain's discovery dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220) and involves a Chinese general named Ma-Wu. During a time of severe drought and famine, Ma-Wu's army was defeated and forced to retreat to a remote region where they faced starvation and various diseases.

A groom under Ma-Wu, responsible for three horses and a cart, noticed that all three horses had recovered from blood in their urine. He discovered that they had been eating a particular plant with oblong leaves and light-green flowers. After consuming a drink made from boiling the plant, the groom's blood in the urine disappeared. The remedy was shared with the general and the entire army, leading to a complete recovery.

When asked about the plant's location, the groom mentioned he had found it "before the cart." From that moment on, the plant was known as "plant-before-cart" grass, paying homage to its role in saving the general's army.


The Asiatic Plantain, or Plant-Before-Cart grass, is a miraculous herb with a storied past and proven medicinal properties. Its ability to reduce dampness in the body and alleviate various ailments has cemented its place as a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. As with any herbal remedy, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using Asiatic Plantain to ensure its safe and appropriate use for your specific needs.

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