Buck’s-Horn Plantain

The buck’s horn plantain or Plantago Coronopus (botanical name) is a so-called salt plant or halophyte.  On Syros, the Capital of the Greek Cycladic Islands, they call it Kokoraki, which translated means ‘little rooster’.  The buck’s horn plantain has a long tradition as a food and medicinal plant in Germany. Unfortunately, this plant has been forgotten over the past few decades but in other European countries such as Italy and Greece, the buck’s horn plantain is still known today.  It is consumed raw as a salad or cooked as a vegetable.  In Italy it is known as “Barba di frate” and in Germany ‘monk’s beard’.

Prostatapflege Kokoraki
Freshly Harvested Kokoraki from Syros

God has scattered the plantain to all paths, set it in all the meadows, so that we always have it at hand; for he is indisputably the first, best and most common of all medicinal herbs. In our climate, there are about seven varieties, and all are wholesome.

Pedanios Dioscorides wrote in the first century AD in his work “Materia Medica”, about the healing power of the plantain.  This five volume work is still regarded today as the basis of European pharmacology.  He writes, amongst other things “against bladder and spleen ulcers, root and leaves are given with sweet wine”.  In 1546, the German physician and botanist Hieronymus Bock lists the buck’s horn plantain in his herbal book and recommends it as a medicinal herb for kidney and bladder complaints.  In Greece, it is consumed as a “tea-like” beverage.  It is dried and cut to be infused in boiling water.  After a brewing time of at least ten minutes you drink it according to taste; hot, warm, or cold, throughout the day.

We grow our Kokoraki on the island of Syros and process it locally.  On Syros it gets a lot of sun and grows magnificently in the Mediterranean climate.

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