Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Plantago spp. Plantain.
FAMILY: Plantaginaceae Plantain family
BOTANICAL NAME: Plantago spp. Plantago major (introduced); Plantago spathulata; Plantago raoulii
MĀORI NAME: kopakopa(P. major; Best 1908); kaupārerarera, pārerarera (P. spathulata, a native plantain; Williams 1971); tūkōrehu (P. raoulii, a native plantain; Williams 1971); pakopako (a species of plantain; Williams 1971).
COMMON NAME: plantain
MEDICINAL: Leaves - to heal ulcers (Kerry-Nicholls 1886).
Boiled leaves applied to ulcers. Upper side of leaf draws. When ulcer begins to heal, underside laid on (Taylor 1848 and 1870 ; Neil 1889).
Leaves supposed to take away pain (Bell 1890).
Leaves- lotion used for burns and scalds, uterine stimulant. Boiled leaves as poultice, ulcerated surfaces. Decoction with clover, pororua (Sonchus spp.), salt to aid placental discharge (Best 1906) Leaves- juice, wounds, cuts, pierced ears. Most commonly used as a poultice (Goldie 1905 and others).
Juice of leaves used on wounds or cuts, pierced ears, and especially on festered sores and boils. Heating leaves on hot coals or ashes for a moment or two and squeezing the juice is the most popular method. (Adams 1945).

Suppurating tubercular leg sores fixed up with kopakopa pack. Leaves used green but bruised and midribs removed. Remedy must not come into contact with food. (K. Matiu 1941).
Plant boiled and resultant liquid and steam applied to piles (A. Mokomoko 1941).
Leaves bruised and applied fresh as a pack for boils and burns (K. Kahaki 1941).
Green leaves and infusion of boiled leaves used for cuts (M. Withers 1941).

Related pharmacology and chemistry in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987. Plantago species are used extensively for medicinal purposes in many parts of the world. See Riley 1994.