Health Benefits and Uses of Plantain

Health & Wellness

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior) || Narrowleaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) || Health Benefits of Plantain

Plantain herbs scientifically known as Plantago maior and Plantago lanceolatais are low growing perennial plants belonging to the Plantaginaceae or the Plantain family. The two most common types you’ll find in the U.S. are Broadleaf Plantain or Greater Plantain (Plantago maior) and Narrowleaf Plantain or Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Broadleaf Plantain was used as food about 4,000 years ago in Europe and there is some indication that this plant was cultivated. These plants are native to most of Europe and northern and central Asia, but has widely naturalized elsewhere in the world, from cracks in sidewalks, to roadsides and meadows, to garden beds and lawns, except the arctic regions. They grow throughout most of the United States and North America. Plantain is from the French word meaning "sole of the foot" referring to the plant’s flat leaves. Legend has it that Plantain was a young girl who longed for her lover's return and spent so much time watching and waiting for him by the roadside that she eventually transformed into this common roadside plant. Plantain was one of the nine sacred herbs of the ancient Saxons and was an early Christian symbol of the path followed by the multitudes of the devout. It derives one of its common names, White Man's Foot, from Native American folklore, as the plant seemed to follow the path of the white settlers everywhere they went. Longfellow made mention of this in the classic Hiawatha.

Broadleaf Plantain is a perennial, coming back year after year from the roots. Leaves grow in a rosette, close to the ground. Plantain leaves are 1-6 inches in length, broadly lance shaped to egg shaped, and are hairless or sparsely short haired. Each leaf has prominent parallel veins, like celery. If you break a leaf in half, it has strings. The flowers shoot up from the center of the basal rosettes in spikes 3-12 inches tall. They're rather dull colored, changing from green to brown as the seeds mature. Plantain leaf extract is not the same as the yummy, starchy staple found in many tropical countries. It doesn’t make a great snack chip or addictive side dish at Bahama Breeze restaurants. Instead, we’re talking about the benefits of Plantain leaves and their extracts.

You can use either one for healing purposes, depending on the availability in your locality, but most herbalists seem to prefer the Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior) with larger, but softer, edible leaves. Weed or just wild, whatever you decide it is still an amazing plant. You gotta love walking out in Plantain your yard and picking your own wild salad. This herb can be eaten, steeped into tea and made into poultices and salves, using leaves, roots, seeds and flower spikes. In other words, the entire plant can be used. Plantain is a good plant and survival food to have on hand and to know about, not only as a survival food, but even for an every day in-season contribution to salads and other foods. If you’re going to plant plantain, we recommend the Broadleaf Plantain, (Plantago maior), for more vegetation to put good use. Plantain can be eaten raw or cooked and used almost anywhere you would use lettuce or greens. Great in salads, salsa, pesto, smoothies, juicing, and vegetarian meals addition that is high in nutrients, especially minerals that are often lacking in modern diets. Just use your imagination. Plantain makes a great wild picked substitution for so many dishes and it just happens to be a weed growing in most everyone’s yard. As the leaves mature, the strings in the prominent leaf veins can make the experience more like flossing than eating. You can avoid this by chopping the leaves cross-wise to cut the strings into short pieces. If your young plantain leaves are still too bitter, you can blanche them first to remove some bitterness.

Narrow Leaf Plantain scientifically known as Plantago lanceolata also known as Ribwort Plantain or Buckhorn Plantain, is an erect cool-season perennial plant that is a member of the Plantain family (Plantaginaceae). The plant is native to northern Africa (i.e. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia), the Azores, the Canary Islands, Europe, western and central Asia and the Indian Sub-continent (i.e. northern India, Nepal and Pakistan). It is a common weed of cultivated land.
The genus name Plantago, derived from Latin “planta” what means "foot sole" or "foot face" with the common suffix of plants “ago” refers in part to the flat, oval leaves of the plantain (Plantain maior) lying closely on the ground in rosettes, on the other hand that the plantain is formed by being compressed by feet. The long-lanceolate and typical parallel leaves of the plantain are referred to in the epithet lanceolate from the Latin "lanceolata" what means "small lance". In some old books we find this species called Costa canina, in allusion to the prominent veinings on the leaves that earned it the name of Ribwort, and it is this feature that caused it to receive also the mediaeval name of Quinquenervia. Another old popular name was "Kemps", a word that at first sight seems without meaning, but when fully understood has a peculiar interest. The stalks of this plant are particularly tough and wiry, and it is an old game with country children to strike the heads one against the other until the stalk breaks. The Anglo-Saxon word for a soldier was cempa, and we can thus see the allusion to kemps.

Narrowleaf Plantain is a small stem less glabrous to pubescent, rosette-forming, herbaceous and perennial herb, 20 to 80 cm high. The plant is found growing in grass and heath land, riparian habitats, freshwater wetlands, coastal dunes, fields, lawns, meadows, roadsides, waste ground, parks and even sand dunes, disturbed areas, open woodlands, grasslands, cracks in pavement, vacant lots, fallow fields, grassy paths, beside railway tracks and harbors. The plant prefers moderately fertile soil and also thrives in very poor land. The plant has a thick rhizome and fibrous roots. Flowering stems are grooved and covered to varying degrees in short hairs pressed close to the stem (appressed), especially towards the base. This herbaceous perennial plant consists of a rosette of basal leaves and one or more flowering stalks. The basal leaves are up to 10 inches long and ¾ inches wide, but more commonly about half this size. They are linear-elliptic and smooth along their margins, being broadest toward the middle and tapering toward their tips and the base of the rosette. There are 3-5 parallel veins along the length of each leaf. Leaves are gray-green to green and glabrous to sparsely hairy. There are usually a few hairs along the central vein on the underside of each leaf. Inconspicuous flowers are densely packed in a cylindrical spike ½ to 3 inches long and about 1/3 inch wide, at the end of a long naked stem. The flowers open in a ring around the spike, starting at the bottom and progressing upwards, the stamens’ long filaments and large white tips (anthers) extended out about as far as the central column is wide. Spent flowers, sepals and bracts below the blooms are papery brown; buds above the blooms are gray-green.

Its cultivation was never seriously taken up, for though its mucilaginous leaves are relished by sheep and to a certain extent by cows and horses, it does not answer as a crop, except on very poor land, where nothing else will grow. Moreover, it is very bitter, and in pastures destroys the more delicate herbage around it by its coarse leaves. The seeds are covered with a coat of mucilage, which separates readily when macerated in hot water. The gelatinous substance thus formed has been used at one time in France for stiffening some kinds of muslin and other woven fabrics. The leaves contain a good fibre, which, it has been suggested, might be adapted to some manufacturing purpose. Theophrastus, in the third century BC, cites the Narrow Leaf Plantain among the wild vegetables sprouting in spring. Apart from describing many medicinal applications of the leaves and roots of both species, Dioscorides mentioned their consumption as cooked vegetables, with lentils. Some of these medicinal prescriptions include the consumption of the cooked leaves, being therefore described as a medicinal food.

Plantain leaf is used in many traditional medicinal systems including Traditional Persian Medicine, Arabic, Greek, European, Chinese, and Indian medicinal system. According to the traditional medicinal history, Plantago major plant is a wild plant and in the ancient age, it found in Iran. However, researchers believed that 4000 years ago this plant exists in Asian, European and American countries. In Malaysia, Plantain leaf is used as an herbal diuretic, health tonic, cough remedy, diabetes, and urinary stone treatment. Herbal researchers have proven Plantain leaf has many medicinal properties including antiulcerogenic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating activities and antioxidant, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic activities. Did you know that the long and fascinating medicinal history of the plantain plant started in ancient times? It gained the folkloric name of "Green Bandage" based on its use as a poultice to soothe skin irritations, offer a form of first aid, and expedite the healing of bacterial infections. Pliny the Roman (23 A.D.-79 A.D.) referred to the plant as an infallible remedy for bites caused by wild animals. Throughout the plant’s history, it took on many names relating to medicinal purposes, such as the Germans called it “band aid plant”. The Lacnunga or “Remedies” in English, an Anglo-Saxon collection of medical texts from the 10th century CE, included plantain as one of nine sacred herbs used in combination as a cure for poisoning and infection. English botanist Nicholas Culpeper (1616 – 1654) listed the plant in his book The English Physitian, currently titled Culpeper’s Herbal. Culpeper suggested medicinal uses of the plantain leaves in his writings, such as drinking it as a juice for a few days for skin abrasions and pains in the bowels. It stops fluxes and helps with women’s courses when they are too abundant while staunching the also free bleeding wounds. He wrote quite a lot about its uses, including killing worms in the belly or treating old and foul ulcers. Alexander the Great took plantain leaves to ease his headaches. Greek-born, Pedanius Dioscorides (40 BC-90BC) suggested Plantain leaves for wound healing, dog bites and burns, cooling, soothing, softening and healing properties. If a mad dog bit you, he would treat you with plantain poultices. In the ancient world of India, watching the mongoose fight the cobra, once bitten, the mongoose chewed on the plantain to nullify the venom. Other scholars suggested plantain as the essential herb to have in your medicinal collections. Even the Gaelic called it the “healing herb". Native Americans in South Carolina used the herb to treat rattlesnake bites. While the Delawares used it for diarrhea or “summer complaint". Plantain leaves historical uses to continue on and on as a popular remedy for many ailments, such as blood poisoning, respiratory infections and wound healing. Herald as a traditional treatment for skin ailments, plantain leaf helps treat sunburns, pink eye and dandruff. If you experience coughs, fevers, bleeding, insect bites, burns and insomnia, plantain leaf and help you. Modern research shows it reduces inflammation, aids wound healing, kills bacteria and viruses and relieves gastrointestinal distress. It’s also an excellent antioxidant. In some circles Plantain is observed as a weed, but it’s actually one of the best healing herbs on the planet. It is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world. Some records indicate that various Native people called this plant “The footstep of the white”, because it ultimately ended up growing in areas where the Europeans had been. For centuries Plantain was well-recognized as a medicinal plant. In the late 1500’s Shakespeare made mention of this amazing plant in “Romeo and Juliet”. In Act I, Scene II he wrote:

“Your plantain leaf is excellent for that… for your broken shin”, Romeo says to Benvolio. As Shakespere references, this herbal remedy has long been used as a salve for scrapes and minor injuries. But Romeo also dishes out the same medicine Benvolio has given him with his mockery, insinuating that Benvolio has offered little help for his love-sickness.

Here are just some of many natural ways to use plantain as medicine, it makes a great addition to DIY skin creams or salves. Plantain soothes, cools and heals burns, sunburns. Plantain draws out the toxins and the stingers from bug bites, bee, wasp and hornet stings, relieves the swelling and pain. Plantain is great for so many skin issues like eczema, impetigo, rashes and reactions to poison ivy, oak. Plantain is also great as an astringent for your face. It is a great addition to your nopoo routine to help heal dandruff and other scalp issues. Plantain contains natural allantoin a phytochemical, and allantoin produces its desirable effects by promoting healthy skin, stimulates new skin cells and healthy tissue growth. Plantain is an anti-inflammatory that kills germs and speeds wound healing. Plantain is great used on adults and children. And the kids can help you pick them and prepare them too.

Plantains were once highly respected medicinal herbs. Broadleaf plantain is also a highly nutritious wild edible that is high in cbeta carotene, calcium, ascorbic acid, vitamin K, allantion, apigenin, aucubin, baicalein, linoleic acid, oleanolic acid, sorbitol and tannin. When used in natural form as a mild anti-anti- inflammaion, anti-microbial, anti-hemorrhagic and as a expectorant.It is great for wound healing, skin health and skin softening. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten.

Respiratory Health:

A traditional use for Plantain leaf was to ease coughs and other types of respiratory problems. The leaves contain a good amount of mucilage, which helps to soothe, moisten, and protect the throat and respiratory system. The German Commission E (an organization similar to the FDA) has approved the use of plantain for coughs and other infections of the upper respiratory system.

Cold and Cough:

Got a cough or cold? Go grab some Plantain weed from your back yard and make tea out of it. Plantain has been traditionally used to treat coughs and colds for centuries. Plantain has both expectorant properties, and antitussive properties, which makes it perfect for treating coughs and colds. It’s anti-inflammatory, cooling and pain relieving actions make plantain a good choice for sore throats. Plantain reduces the secretion of mucus in the body, especially in the respiratory system. Plantain also exhibits antiviral properties against some viruses that cause the common cold. It’s also a demulcent, relieving irritation in mucous membranes. So the next time you get a nasty cold or cough, turn to this ancient herb for relief.

Experimental research also confirms that it has immunostimulatory, spasmolytic, and anti-inflammatory actions that can be beneficial when dealing with an infection in the upper respiratory airways.

For a cough and cold remedy, drink plenty of plantain tea. And for sore throats gargle with cooled Plantain tea, or with a few drops of tincture in a glass of water. You can make a Plantain cough syrup by simmering 2 ounces of fresh leaves in 2 cups of water for around 10 minutes. Keep the pan covered. Strain and add 3 cups of brown sugar to the liquid. Bring to a boil and as soon as the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat. Allow it to cool. This cough syrup can be stored for up to 6 months. Take 1–2 teaspoons of the syrup when required. Instead of brown sugar, you can use honey to sweeten the syrup. Honey, however, does not need to be heated.

A 2006 study "Antitussive Effect of Plantago lanceolata in Guinea Pigs" published in Iran J Med Sci by M H Boskabady, H Rakhshandah et al. evaluated ethanolic extracts of chopped, dried plant for antitussive effect in guinea pigs. Plantago lanceolata extracts showed significant reduction in cough numbers. The antitussive effects of aqueous and macerated extracts were not significantly different with that of codeine.

Respiratory Infections:

Plantain reduces mucus secretion in the airways, which makes it helpful in treating colds, catarrh, sinusitis, lung and bronchial allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma. As the herb also has antiseptic properties it can be used as a remedy for a sore throat, tonsillitis and coughs.

Bronchitis:

Plantain can be a helpful natural remedy if you have bronchitis. This is a condition where an infection in your bronchi causes irritation and inflammation. It is characterized by coughing and the production of mucus. Plantain contains complex polysaccharides that can soothe irritation and help with coughs.

A few studies done in Bulgaria have indicated that it can be effective for chronic bronchitis. Studies have also found it to be useful for people with chronic bronchitis. However, do keep in mind that demulcents can stimulate the production of mucus; therefore, some people prefer to use it only for dry coughs. 

Steep around ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of the herb in a cup of hot water for around 10 to 15 minutes to make Plantain tea. Around 3 cups of this healing tea a day should give you relief.

Lungs Disorder:

Besides being cooling for hot conditions, Plantain is also moistening (demulcent). These two qualities make it ideal for hot and dry lungs, resulting in chronic or acute coughs. For this is the dry, hacking cough that hangs on long after your upper respiratory infection has healed. In this situation, anti-tussive herbs may temporarily stop the cough but, by addressing the root cause (heat and dryness leading to irritation), you can more effectively alleviate the cough and change the dry conditions in the lungs. It is recommended Plantain for coughs that result from the inhalation of fine particulate matter, which might be experienced in a work environment or during wildfires or weather conversions.

Respiratory Burst (ROS):

A 2013 study "The effects of Plantago maior on the activation of the neutrophil respiratory burst" published in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Vol 3, No 4 by Elaine Reina, Nouf Al-Shibani, Eman Allam, Karen S Gregson, Michael Kowolik, L Jack Windsor evaluated the in vivo effects of Plantago maior extract, baicalein, and aucubin on human neutrophil respiratory burst activity. Results showed Plantago maior extract inhibited neutrophil ROS production, as did aucubin and baicalein, and suggest further study in its relation to the regulation of destructive ROS production in conditions such as periodontal disease.

Skin Care:

Skin Irritations:

Plantain leaves have been used over the ages to deal with inflammation and irritation of the skin. Plantain contains a compound known as allantoin that promotes the growth of healthy tissue and has soothing, anti-irritating, and healing properties. In fact, allantoin is an ingredient in many commercial cosmetic products such sunscreens, anti-acne ointments, clarifying lotions, as well as oral hygiene and pharmaceutical products. So whether you’re dealing with eczema, acne, or a sunburn, this herb can help you.

Plantain leaf is a dermatological dream. One reason is that it contains lots of tannins. No, not the orange stuff you spray before you hit spring break, but the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory chemical compound found in many plants. Research indeed shows that plantain leaf effectively manages acute urticaria, better known as hives. It also helps wounds heal faster. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and antibacterial properties contribute to this effect. But that’s not all. It can stimulate skin cell proliferation and collagen production, which also speeds up healing.

Either plantain herb salve or tea can be used for itches and irritations of all sorts. This powerful herb can be used in many applications. Crush fresh leaves and apply it to irritated skin.

Boils and Acne:

Plantain is wonderful in pulling impurities and infection out of skin. It also soothes, reduces inflammation and kills bacteria. Use a Plantain poultice as a face mask for deep cleansing, and use cooled plantain tea as a facial toner morning and night.

Eczema and Psoriasis:

Plantain poultices can be used to relief itchiness and swelling associated with these skin conditions as well as protecting the skin from infection. Plantain is considered to be one of the best itch relieving herbs. In addition to using a poultice, you can also use Plantain tea to swab over problem areas, and plantain salve to moisturize and heal.

Cuts:

Plantain consists of certain epidermal growth factor, which enables to speed the healing of minor wounds and bruises. You can use fresh Plantain leaves, washed and softened in hot water as a wound dressing, or you can swab the injury with a cotton ball soaked in plantain tea. If you make the salve you can use a thick layer to keep infection out, ease discomfort and inflammation, and speed up healing.

Burns:

Plantain can be quite beneficial for healing superficial burns quickly. More serious burns should always be treated by your doctor. Plantain helps to prevent infection, reduce inflammation and ease the discomfort of the burn. Mild burns, though not serious can be very sore and painful and they can take an age to heal. Use a Plantain poultice on the burn for the first few hours and then regularly apply a Plantain salve. You can use plantain leaves as a dressing over the salve too.

Sunburn:

Plantain herb can also be used as a healing spray that can help with sunburn. Just spray the tea on and let the soothing begin.

Insect Bites and Stings:

Another example of a hot condition is bites and stings from insects, spiders, and scorpions. Let’s take a bee sting for example. When a bee stings a person it releases its venom into the skin. Fairly quickly, the area around the sting will swell, turn red, and feel hot to the touch. The pain is generally sharp (as opposed to a dull ache). If you find yourself out and about with an insect bite, you can simply chew up Plantain leaves and apply them to the area. Plantain is an excellent remedy for bites and stings. If you’re at home, you can rapidly apply a plantain poultice to draw the toxin out and prevent the itchy, red swellings from developing.

When using plantain for bites and stings, fresh leaves are preferred. A simple spit poultice is often the best choice. To make a spit poultice, chew up a fresh leaf or two until the cell walls are broken and you have a gooey, green leaf poultice. Place this on the affected area. A whole leaf can be used to cover the poultice and a Band-aid or gauze can further hold the poultice in place. Any hesitation you may feel about how this green mess looks will quickly be forgotten as it soothes the pain and swelling or itching.

Apply to the affected area, wrap with a cloth, and leave on for 30-45 minutes. Repeat with fresh leaves until symptoms subside. Plantain leaves may also be chopped or mashed for a poultice if that’s more your speed. It’s a good idea to carry a small pot of Plantain slave and a small spray bottle of Plantain tea with you in the first aid kit that you keep in your purse or backpack. A Plantain salve will also work well, especially on common itchy insect bites, like those from flies and mosquitoes. Plantain tea can also be sprayed or swabbed onto nettle rash, and the rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak.

Poison Ivy Relief:

Plantain is perhaps most prized for its ability to soothe insect bites and stings, as well as other skin irritations, so it's one of many natural poison ivy remedies. Plantain works so well for issues such as this that was called a poultice herb supreme.  Use the Plantain tea as a spray or make a salve.

Removes Splinter:

Plantain leaf is also used for drawing, pulling out irritants like bee venom and helping to release splinters. A popular herb for what are called drawing salves, Plantain can also work to draw out splinters by soaking the area in hot Plantain tea with a tablespoon of salt. Plantain can also remove splinters that are too deep to grasp with tweezers.

Make a poultice and apply to the area over and surrounding the splinter. The plantain will prevent infection and reduce inflammation which makes a splinter easier to grip and it will also draw it closer to the skin’s surface.

Antiseptic and Soothing:

Drinking Plantain tea helps conquer internal infections too. It brings up mucus when there’s unproductive coughing. It’s a mild diuretic, which together with its soothing mucilage cools down irritation in the urinary tract. Plantain leaf tea also soothes inflammation in the digestive tract. Read the caveats at the bottom of this post about taking plantain internally.

You can harvest Plantain leaves any time they’re above ground, but best is to take them in spring and early summer, when they’re still green and vibrant. Take no more than 1/3 of any one plant, and make sure you’re not taking the mother plant.

Wounds:

One of the greatest benefits of Plantain leaf is its ability to help damaged or infected skin heal. Earning the nickname "Healing Blade", Plantain was once used in Scotland to stop blood flow and heal tissues from sword wounds. It was also valued by the Native Americans for treating stings, burns, rashes, and wounds. Plantain leaf contains certain bioactive phytochemicals like baicalein, plantaginin, and hispidulin. These flavonoids containing phytochemicals has potent antioxidants property and also acts as free radical scavengers. This property helps to heal the wound.

Plantain herb stitches together many types of wounds, from minor cuts and scrapes to blisters to hemorrhoids and postpartum tears. It makes a wonderful all-purpose salve, poultice, or sitz bath (combined with other herbs such as Calendula). Because it has the ability to draw things out, Plantain is perfect for splinters, boils, or even puncture wounds. Plantain is also antimicrobial, so it helps to prevent bacterial growth in wounds as they heal. Examples of infections and wounds that are a great match for Plantain include boils, eye infections, or urinary tract infections. Plantain has also been shown to heal wounds and irritations caused by radiation. Oral mucositis caused by radiation is common in patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer.

A review "The traditional uses, chemical constituents and biological activities of Plantago major L.". Well known in traditional medicine as a wound healing remedy. Studies have yielded biologically active compounds and a range of biologic activities as wound healing, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, antiulcerogenic activity.

Modern herbalists calls plantain a "poultice herb supreme". Its fresh leaves can be mashed and applied directly to insect bites and stings, burns, skin eruptions, and wounds. It is also recommends using Plantain alone or with an herb like yarrow on wounds that are still bleeding to slow or stop the flow. Plantain also contains a substance called allantoin that is highly beneficial for soothing skin and promoting new cell growth. This, along with its anti-inflammatory properties, makes a poultice or infusion of the leaves good for calming sunburn, acne, and other types of skin inflammation. If you don't have access to fresh plantain (or it's the wrong season), try a salve containing plantain leaf for all kinds of skin distresses.

Plantain has been used for ages to treat wounds and even finds mention in Shakespeare’s "Romeo And Juliet" for its wound-healing properties! It contains long -chained saturated primary alcohols which help heal minor wounds. And then there’s allantoin. You can also use this herb for minor cuts, sores, as well as bee, wasp, and insect stings. Some research notes that plantain weed may support wound healing by reducing inflammation, blocking microbial growth, and relieving pain. The wound healing and antimicrobial nature of Plantain leaf has been confirmed in several studies.

A study in 40 people found that applying a gel containing aloe vera and Plantain weed helped heal foot ulcers.

Similarly, in an animal study, Aloe Vera and Plantain weed improved wound healing and enhanced tissue repair when applied topically. All the same, it’s difficult to determine Plantain’s exact effects since these studies also used Aloe Vera.

In another animal study, applying only Plantain weed extract to wounds helped increase the rate of healing, compared with a control group. Still, further research is necessary.

A study performed on rabbits showed the positive effects of plantain on wound healing as an anti-inflammatory. The herb stimulated the injured area and helped close non-infected wounds.

Plantain grows in South Africa, where an extensive study showed the plant’s effectiveness in wound healing, burns, skin growths and sores or ulcers. The South African Journal of Botany reports the benefits of taking its powder and making ointments, compresses and paste.

A human clinical study published in 2022 showed that patients who used a 10% Plantain extract gel saw a significant reduction in wound size compared to those using a placebo. Many patients in the trial were completely healed with the Plantain gel.

A 2019 stereological study of Plantago major and Aloe vera "The Healing Effect of Plantago Major and Aloe Vera Mixture in Excisional Full Thickness Skin Wounds" published by Soheil Ashkani-Esfahani, Mahsima Khoshneviszadeh, Ali Noorafshan, Ramin Miri, Shima Rafiee, Kimia Hemyari, Sina Kardeh, Omid Koohi Hosseinabadi, Dorna Fani, Elnaz Faridi (source: www.wjps.ir) evaluated the effects of P. major and Aloe vera mixture in the process of wound healing in a model of excisional full thickness skin wounds in Sprague Dawley rats. Results suggest the mixture has the ability to improve wound healing by enhancing fibroblast proliferation, collagen bundle synthesis, and re-vascularization in skin injuries.

In a 2016 study "Investigating Biological Activity Potential of Plantago lanceolata L. in Healing of Skin Wounds by a Preclinical Research" published in Turk J Pharm Sci 13 by Esin Kuranel, Esra Küpeli Akkol, Ipek Süntar, Şule Gürsoy, Hikmet Keles, Göknur Aktay was evaluated the wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects of aqueous and methanol extract of P. lanceolata in in vivo excision and incision wound models in rats and mice. Aqueous extract showed significant wound healing activity with 49.09% tensile strength value in the linear incision wound model and 85.08% contraction in circular excision wound model. Both extracts showed significant and moderate anti-inflammatory activity at 200 mg/kg dose. Extracts exerted antiphlogistic effect on carrageenan-induced edema.

Another 2012 study of different leaf extracts from fresh and dried leaves in an in vitro scratch assay "Effects of Plantago major L. leaf extracts on oral epithelial cells in a scratch assay" published in J Ethnopharmacol. by Zubair M, Ekholm A, Nybom H, Renvert S, Widen C, Rumpunen K. showed both water extracts and the more poly-phenol-rich ethanol extracts showed increased proliferation/migration of oral epithelial cells suggesting a wound healing effect.

A 2010 study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology has shown that it does contain chemical substances that disinfect injuries, kill pathogenic organisms, reduce inflammation and accelerate the healing process. In this study, it was demonstrated that the fresh Plantain leaf is the most effective.

Traditionally, Plantain leaves are mixed with antibacterial honey and applied on wounds to promote healing. You can also apply fresh leaves directly on minor injuries.

Improves Digestive Health:

Have you got belly bloat, ulcers or just a sensitive GI system? Well, Plantain leaf extract might be just what you need. While it’s the go-to for external issues, the Plantain plant benefits more than the body’s skin. Plantain is considered helpful as a treatment for diarrhea, gastritis, colitis and other digestive ailments due to its astringent properties. The herb has been used to restore acid balance, to regulate gastric secretions and treat inflammation or irritations in the stomach and bowels. It has been used as a remedy for stomach and bowel infections, as well as urinary tract infections and because the herb has antispasmodic and demulcent effect it can be used to soothe irritation and reduce spasm in relation to colic in infants and young children. Several compounds in plantain weed’s seeds and leaves have been shown to alleviate certain digestive issues. In particular, the seeds contain psyllium, a type of fiber often used as a natural laxative since it absorbs water as it moves through your digestive tract.

Some animal studies suggest that plantain weed’s anti-inflammatory properties may aid digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which can cause symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Gastric Ulcers:

Plantago major has been historically used for the treatment of ulcers too. Plantain leaf extract has an acid-lowering effect which helps to prevent ulcer formation in the gastrointestinal tract.

A rat study even found that narrowleaf Plantain extract promoted the healing of stomach ulcers.

An animal study that looked at traditional medicinal plants used in Turkey found that plantain does indeed have anti-ulcerogenic properties. The anti-inflammatory effects of Plantain are believed to make it useful for people with ulcers.

A research study conducted to check the anti-ulcer effect of Plantain leaf reported that Plantain leaf extract has an inhibitory effect against ulcer formation. The detail research finding also stated that Plantain leaf extract can inhibit H. pylori. H. pylori. is one of the major causative organism of ulcer formation.

According to traditional methods, the dried leaves are powdered and eaten with a little honey on an empty stomach to help with ulcers.

Constipation:

Eating Plantain leaves and drinking Plantain tea help to provide relief from constipation. Plantain has laxative properties, and its leaves when eaten also contain plenty of fiber to get things moving again. The seeds reportedly have a mild laxative effect, and some varieties are actually cultivated to make psyllium, a powder often used to treat constipation.

Seeds of Plantain can be soaked to make a laxative similar to Psyllium. Use one or two teaspoons of the seeds soaked in two cups of filtered water.

Diarrhea:

Got the runs or just an upset tummy? Use plantain tea. Since plantain is an astringent herb, it works to soothe the gut. Plantain tea is also a great thing to aid with indigestion. Plantago major is one of the traditional medicinal plants recommended to treat diarrhea due to presence of flavonoids, sterols, and sugars. Some herbalist recommended Plantain leaf for management of diarrhea. Treatment with Plantain leaf can reduce gastrointestinal motility and higher dose provides a relaxing effect on the gastrointestinal tract. This plant leaf can also reduce the intestinal secretion. Tannins, alkaloids, and flavonoids present in Plantain leaf provide the anti-diarrhoeal effect. Studies confirm plantain leaf extract can reduce the acidity of gastric fluids and possibly increase “defensive mucosal factors”. It means it can be helpful for conditions like gastric ulcers. It also has an antidiarrheal effect.

According to one review, Plantain leaves may also slow the movement of your digestive tract, which may promote bowel regularity and help treat diarrhea.

Improves Eyesight:

Soothes Irritated Eyes:

Cooled Plantain tea can be used as eyewash for red, irritated or tired eyes. Cotton pads soaked in the tea can also be placed over closed eyes to soothe irritation.

Ear Health:

Earache:

Infuse fresh Plantain leaves in olive oil to treat earaches. Rinse the leaves to get rid of roadside dirt and towel-dry them carefully. Hang them up to dry further for a few hours, or spread them out on a clean, dry towel. Water in the infused oil will turn it rancid.

Chop the leaves finely, put them in a very clean, very dry jar and cover them with good olive oil. Close the lid on the jar and place it in a saucepan; pour water into the pan to come up about ¾ of the jar’s height. Cook the jar at a medium-low temperature for 2 hours. Add more hot water if it looks like it’s evaporating away. Either let the jar cool in the water bath or remove it from the pan and set it down on a folded towel to avoid shocking the glass. Strain the oil into another clean, dry jar. Label it with the contents and the date, and keep it in a dark, cool place. It will last a year if carefully prepared and stored.

This remedy works for common earaches. If there is major pain, deafness or pus exuding from the ear, see a doctor immediately.

Ear Edema:

A 1995 study "Phenylethanoids in the herb of Plantago lanceolata and inhibitory effect on arachidonic acid" published in Planta Med by M Murai, Y Tamayama, S Nishibe yielded five phenylethanoids, acteoside, cistanoside F, lavandulifolioside, plantamajoside and isoacteoside. Acteoside, the major phenylethanoid, showed inhibitory effects on arachidonic acid-induced mouse ear edema.

Veins Health:

Hemorrhoids (Piles):

Plantain’s astringent qualities help to shrink hemorrhoids, while its anti-inflammatory, cooling, and analgesic properties bring soothing, pain relief. Apply a Plantain poultice to external hemorrhoids, leave on for as long as it is practical, and remove before the poultice dries.

Use cotton balls soaked in lukewarm plantain tea to swab the hemorrhoids in between poultice treatments. You can also drink several cups of Plantain tea a day to help with internal hemorrhoids and to add to your treatment of external ones.

Aids in Dental Care:

Lukewarm, Plantain tea can be used as a mouthwash to heal mouth ulcers. You can chew fresh Plantain leaf to release the juices and then maneuver the chewed leaves to the part of your mouth affected by the ulcer. Bleeding gums are another condition that will benefit from a plantain tea mouthwash. The hemostatic and astringent properties stop bleeding, while the anti-inflammatory actions reduce swelling, and the antimicrobial constituents combat bacteria. Powdered plantain root is a traditional remedy for toothache. Take a pinch of the powder and rub it into the gums and over the affected tooth or teeth.

Mouthwash:

Plantain is high in calcium, it's antibacterial, antiseptic, and has silica which can help with remineralization of teeth. As such it makes a great mouthwash. It would make a great addition to any natural gum health. Make a plantain tincture and then use that as your mouthwash base.

Put about 45 drops of the tincture into a mouthful of water (don't put the tincture in first, or it will burn), then swish for about 30-45 seconds and expectorate.

Children Health:

Digestive Disorders:

Plantain is considered helpful as a treatment for diarrhea, gastritis, colitis and other digestive ailments due to its astringent properties. It has been used as a remedy for stomach and bowel infections, as well as urinary tract infections and because the herb has antispasmodic and demulcent effect it can be used to soothe irritation and reduce spasm in relation to colic in infants and young children. The seeds can be put to good use as a bulk laxative.

Skin Diseases:

Mix the extract of Plantain leaves with a little almond oil and beeswax. This mixture can be used as an effective antidote for diaper rash as well as mosquito bites for babies. Roll a cube of ice in a leaf and use it to massage the baby skin. This will confirm that the skin is free of rashes and inflammations. It also increases the suppleness and smoothness of the skin.

Respiratory Disorders:

A recent study showed that children using a cough formula consisting of mallow, elecampane, Plantain, and Helichrysum had an earlier significant reduction in night and day time coughing than children treated with the placebo.

Women's Health:

Menstrual Disorders:

Abnormally heavy bleeding at menstruation due to Menorrhagia can be treated by Plantain leaf containing herbal vaginal suppositories due to its an estrogen agonist property. This formulation also has a tonus-raising effect on the uterus and reduces uterine pain by relieving congestion.

Psychological Benefits:

Anxiety:

Finding an alternative to psychotropic drugs is always an innovative and effective plan of action for your well-being. Researchers are investigating the anti-anxiety potential of plantain leaf extract. A small animal study helped chemically stimulate rats to sleep longer, suggesting a sedative effect.

"Study of anxiolytic effect of hydro-alcoholic leaf extract of plantago major L. in rats and interaction with epinephrine: Role of Adrenergic system" published in Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2016 by A. Mojtahedin, evaluated the hydroalcoholic extract for effect on level of anxiety in male Wistar rats. Results showed P. major extract at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg significantly (p<0.05) caused an anxiolytic effect. Epinephrine prevented te anxiolytic effects of plantago. Results suggest flavonoid compounds in the leaf extract such as apigenin and its interaction with the adrenergic system may create the anxiolytic effects.

Neurological Health:

Daytime Fatigue:

Fatigue is associated with tiredness, and muscle pain may due to vigorous physical activity. Plantago major has an anti-fatigue property and can able to eliminate fatigue condition.

Treats Seizures:

Plantain leaf has anti-epileptic benefit as it acts on the GABA neuro transmitting signaling system and reduces seizure attack.

Kills Bacterial Infections:

Plantain leaf has broad antimicrobial property, effective against fungal, viral and bacterial infections. The antiviral property of Plantain leaf has evaluated and researchers found that the phenolic compounds, especially caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid are responsible to suppress the multiplication of the disease-causing virus. Polysaccharides present in Plantain leaf has an antibacterial effect.

A study "Extraction and purification of tannins from Plantago lanceolata L. and assessment their antibacterial activity on pathogenesis of enteropathogenic E. Coli in vitro and in vivo" by Essam F. Al-jumaily , Hassan A. Abdul-ratha , Rana H. Raheema evaluated the effect of extracts of dried leaves and fruits of Plantago lanceolata on the growth and pathogenesis of enteropathogenic E. coli. The extracted and purified tannins from Plantago lanceolata at concentration of 150 mg/ml showed high antibacterial activity in vitro and in vivo.

"The Study of Antibacterial Activity of Plantago Major and Ceratonia Siliqua" published in The Iraqi Postgraduate Medical Journal Vol. 11 No. 1, 2012 by Basma Monjd Abd Razik, Hiba Ali Hasan, Muna Khalil Murtadha, the methanol and ethanol extracts of Plantago maior showed antibacterial activity against S. aureus and E coli. In an antibacterial study of Plantago major and Ceratonia siliqua against six types of bacteria viz., Lactobacillus sp., S. aureus, Proteus sp., P. aeruginosa, E. coli, and Enterococcus sp., the methanol extract of P. major showed more antibacterial activity.

"Study the therapeutic role of Alcoholic Extract of Plantago lanceolata aganist infection with Staphylococcus saprophyticus" published in Proceeding of the Eleventh Veterinary Scientific Conference, 2012 by Hassan A. Abdul –Ratha and Aseel J. Mohammad evaluated the antibacterial activity of an alcoholic extract of Plantago lanceolata leaves in vitro and in vivo by inducing urinary tract infection in fats with S. saprophyticus isolated from humans and animals (cows and sheep). Results showed significant inhibition of growth in vitro. Histopathological studies showed decreased pathological signs in bladder and kidney, decreased renal congestion blood vessels and few inflammatory cells in the bladder.

Antimicrobial:

A 2018 study "Phytochemical Investigation and Antimicrobial Study of Leaf Extract of Plantago lanceolata" published in Nat Prod Chem Res by Shuma Fayera, Neelaiah Babu G, Aman Dekebo and Yiheyis Bogale of crude leaf extracts, the isolated compound PL-5, and n-hexane extracted oil were active against all test bacteria viz., gram-negative E. coli and S. typhi; gram-positive S. aureus, Strep agalactiae, and two fungal species, Aspergillus niger and Fusarium solani.

Another 2015 study "Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Plantego maior" published in International Journal of Pharmacy and Phamaceutical Sciences, Vol 7, Issue 5 by Saffidine Karima, Sahli Farida, Zerroug Mohamed Mihoub evaluated different leaf extracts for antioxidant and antibacterial properties using in vitro methods. An ethyl acetate fractions showed the highest DPPH scavenging capacity (IC50-12.85±0.27 µg/ml) and relative antioxidant activity of 70.48% in the ß-carotene bleaching assay. The ethyl acetate fraction was also the most active in vitro against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Synergistic antibacterial activity was seen by combination of standard antibiotic (gentamicin) with the tested extracts.

In a 2003 study of several folk medicinal plants, including the ethanolic extract of Plantago maior, tested against several organisms, all showed higher antibacterial activity against E coli and S aureus, "Antimicrobial activity of some plants used in folk medicine" was published in Journal Fac. Pharm, Ankara 32 by Gulcin Saltan Citoglu, Nurten Altanlar.

An older 1996 study "Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) – a potential pasture species" published in Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association 58, by A. V. Stewart, yielded that supplementation of ruminant diets with Plantago seed husks have been shown to increase the ratio of propionic acid and acetic acid, early studies have suggested plaintain herbage may have a similar effect. Presence of antimicrobial compounds that may affect rumen fermentation may have implications for rumen efficiency, mineral composition, bloat and animal health.

Antifungal:

Thus this herbal preparation can cure pneumonia infection. Apart from this bacterial strain research findings reported that Plantain leaf has an inhibitory effect against on Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. This herbal remedy also controls fungal infections caused by Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis.

Candida:

A 2017 study "In Vitro effects of Plantago major extract, aucubin and baicalein on Candida albicans biofilm formation, metabolic activity and cell surface hydrophobicity" published in Journal of Prosthodontics by Karina Pezo Shirley, DDS, MSD, L. Jack Windsor, PhD, George J. Eckert and Richard L. Gregory, PhD showed Platnago maior extract, aucubin, and baicalein caused a dose=dependent reduction on total growth, biofilm formation, metabolic activity and cell surface hydrophobicity of Candida albicans. Results suggest promising potential as antifungals and solutions for C. albicans biofilm related infections.

Another 2016 comparative analysis "Antifungal efficacy of three medicinal plants Glycyrrhiza glabra, Ficus religiosa, and Plantago major against oral Candida albicans" published in Indian Journal of Dental Research by Hunny Sharma, G Y Yunus, Rohit Agrawal, Monika Kalra, Swati Verma, and Supriya Bhattar evaluated the antifungal activity of bark of G. glabra, stem of F. religiosa, and husk of Plantago maior on inhibiting Candida albicans using Kirb-Bauer disc diffusion method. While G. glabra showed to be most effective, Plantago maior and F. religiosa showed acceptable potency to C. albicans comparable to that of synthetic antifungal agents.

Supports Weight Loss:

Overweight and Obese:

This herb is known to possess diuretic and detoxifying properties. It has appetite suppressant properties, which helps in curbing hunger pangs to a great extent. Just ingest 3 grams of this herb with 250 ml water half an hour before each meal, restricted to a maximum of three times a day and watch the weight melt away.

Russian scientists have discovered that plantain and its cousin psyllium are both useful for weight loss. According to Herbal Legacy, Those taking 3 grams of plantain with water 30 minutes before eating lost more weight than women not using this herb. Plantain contains mucilage which acts as an appetite suppressant while reducing the intestinal absorption of fat and bile. It also lowers LDL cholesterol and the triglyceride levels in the blood. Plantain usually lowers blood sugar. Finally, the seeds can be used on a salad or stored as herbal medicine. The seeds are nature’s “Metamucil”.

Kidney Health:

Aucubin is a bioactive phytochemicals present in plantain leaves can increase the uric acid excretion from the kidneys, which may have a beneficial property to treat gout. Plantain leaf binds to the EGF receptor and block the kinase activity and thus suppress the neoplastic cell transformation. This mechanism of action involves in chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic applications. Taken internally, it’s considered a blood purifier, helping to improve liver health, and supporting kidney health too. Liver and kidney health is so crucial.

Urological Health Benefits:

Retention of urine may due to obstruction of renal ducts leads to discomfort. Plantain leaf acts as a diuretic due to presence of Iridoid compounds and increases the flow of urine. Urine accumulation in the bladder often causes pain. Plantain leaf helps to control this pain symptom also by inhibiting prostaglandins synthesis and acts as an analgesic.

Nephroprotective:

A 2018 study "Plantago maior protects against cisplatin-induced renal dysfunction and tissue damage in rats" published in Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl by Soghra Parhizgar, Sara Hosseinian, Mohammad Soukhtanloo, Alireza Ebrahimzadeh et al. evaluated the nephroprotective effect of P. major on cisplatin-induced kidney injury in rat. Cisplatin caused a significant decrease in GFR, urine osmolarity, and urinary excretion rte of potassium, along with significant increase in kidney index and histological damage. Administration of Plantago major significantly increased GFE, urine osmolarity and urinary excretion rate of potassium. Results suggested a dose is equal dependent protection against renal damage induced by cisplatin.

No Diuretic Effect:

"Studies on the individual and combined diuretic effects of four Vietnamese traditional herbal remedies (Zea mays, Imperata cylindrica, Plantago major and Orthosiphon stamineus)" published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 36, Issue 3, June 1992 by Doan Du Dat, Nguyen Ngoc Ham et al. claiming to increase diuresis, no diuretic effect was seen in a placebo-controlled double-blind crossover model.

Anti-Urolithiatic:

"In Vitro Effects of Plantago Major Extract on Urolithiasis" published in Journal of Medical Sciences, 12 by Sharifa Abdul Aziz, Tan Lee See et al. yielded that Plantago major was better than allopurinol and potassium citrate in inhibiting the size of calcium oxalate crystals in vivo.

A 2012 study of a methanol extract "Anti-Urolithiatic Terpenoid Compound from Plantago major Linn. (Ekor Anjing)" published in Sains Malaysiana, 41 by A. A. Sharifa, J. Jamaludin, L. S. Kiong, L. A. Chia and K. Osman yielded an active terpenoid. The inhibition effect of the terpenoid of Plantago maior extract on crystal size was much better than Zyloric and potassium citrate.

Kidney Stones:

Plantain leaf has the anti-urolithiatic condition and dissolves the stones. It also effective to control Hematuria (blood in urine) due to the presence of Iridoid phytochemicals.

Liver Health:

The many benefits of Plantain leaf extend to your liver and digestive system. It can help with poor digestion by stimulating your liver and assists the liver in getting toxins out of your body. The anti-inflammatory and demulcent properties of plantain make it very soothing for your digestive tract. It's thought to help with many types of digestive complaints, including diarrhea.

Detox the Body:

Plantain leaf is unique among herbs because of its ability to draw out toxins from your skin and body. It was once used to draw out venom from snake bites and other animal and insect bites. Its drawing action can also be highly effective on stings, whether from an insect or a plant like stinging nettle. You can even use a Plantain poultice to draw out a deep splinter. Gladstar recommends soaking the area of skin in hot plantain tea, then keeping a poultice on until the sliver can be pulled out.

When taken internally, Plantain leaf has similar benefits by drawing toxicity out of your body. It's considered a blood purifier and stimulates your liver to cleanse toxins out of your blood and body.

Hepatoprotection:

A 2013 study "The hepatoprotective effects of ethanol extract of Plantain (Plantego major L.) on drug induced hepatotoxicity rat (Rattus norvegicus) Model" published in Asian Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Research by A. A. Fitriani , E. Sutrisna, I. A. Salim , A. M. Maskoen , M. Sujatno , H. S. Sastramihardja evaluated an ethanol extract on Omeprazole and Ciprofibrate induced hepatotoxicity in a rat model. Results showed hepatoprotective activity as evidenced by reduction in hepatic transaminases and improvement in histopathologic appearances of liver.

Another 2009 study "Hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory activities of Plantago major L." published in Research Article Vol. 41, Issue 3 by Idris Turel, Hanefi Ozbek et al. evaluated the anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective activities of Plantago major in CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity. Plantago maior treated group showed significantly reduced ALT and AST when compared to the CCL4 group, along with histopathological differences in the Plantago maior and CCl4 groups.

Diabetes:

Plantain leaf has a hypoglycemic property, which provides potent anti-diabetic activity. This leaf contains flavonoids, sterols, tannins which act on pancreatic-cells to control the glycemic mechanisms. Animal research showed this herbal remedy maximizes glucose tolerance and lower down the blood glucose level in the diabetic study subjects.

"A study of anti-diabetic activity of Plantago major Linn leaves in streptozotocin induced diabetes in rats" published in 7th Indo Global Diabetes Summit and Medicare Expo, November 23-25, 2015 Bengaluru, India and then in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism by Purbajit Chetia evaluated the antidiabetic activity of methanolic extract of leaves of Plantago major in stretozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar rats. The methanolic extract at dose of 200 mg/kg produced a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose level, along with significant differences in urine glucose level, OGTT, serum lipid profile and body weight of extract treated rats.

Hypoglycemic:

A 2000 study "Medicinal Properties of Plantago major - Hypoglycaemic and Male Fertility Studies" published in Pertanika J. Trap. Agric. Sci. 23 by H Noor, M Juing et al. evaluates its traditional use for diabetes and male fertility showed the aqueous leaf extract of Plantago maior could contain chemicals for treating diabetes and male infertility problems.

Diabetic Foot:

Plantain can also heal stubborn wounds like diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers.

A double blind randomized clinical trial that used both Plantain and Aloe vera concluded that these plants are an effective, cheap, and safe treatment for diabetic foot ulcers.

A 2019 randomized double-blind clinical trial "Efficacy of Aloe vera and Plantago major Gel in Diabetic Foot Ulcer" published in Current Drug Discovery Technologies by Younes Najafian, Zahra M Khorasani, Mona N Najafi, Shokouh S Hamedi, Marjan Mahjour, Zohre Foyzabadi evaluated the efficacy of Aloe vera and Plantago major gel in healing of diabetic foot ulcer. Results showed a significant difference in measures of total ulcer score (p<0.001) and the Plantavera gel significantly reduced the ulcer surface. Results suggest the topical Plantavera gel is an effective, cheap, and safe treatment.

Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart Health:

Cholesterol Levels:

Plantain leaf extract is a traditional remedy for high cholesterol. Modern studies only focus on animals but also suggest that it exerts this effect. As a result, it can help slow atherosclerosis progression, where plaque builds up in the arteries. An experiment of Plantain’s effect on atherosclerosis in rabbits proved fruitful in the possibility of the plant helping humans with high cholesterol.

One study found that when people with high cholesterol took 5.1 g of Plantain twice daily for 24–26 weeks, their total cholesterol levels were 4.7% and LDL cholesterol levels were 6.7% lower than that of the control group. It’s not completely clear how Plantain works to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood but it might reduce the absorption of cholesterol and fat and also divert hepatic cholesterol toward bile acid production.

Check with your doctor and only then consume Plantain as a part of diet therapy to lower cholesterol levels. And remember to take psyllium with plenty of fluids.

Cancer - Treatment and Prevention:

Plantago major leaf has cancer prevention effect. The cytotoxic effect of this herbal remedy has given protection against skin cancer and breast cancer by acting on tumor cell lines.

A 2017 study "Effects of Plantago major extracts and its chemical compounds on proliferation of cancer cells and cytokines production of lipopolysaccharide-activated THP-1 macrophages" published in Pharmacognosy Magazine by Kartini, Suratsawadee Piyaviriyakul, Suchitra thongpraditchote et al. evaluated the antiproliferative activity of P. major extracts against MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, HeLaS3, A549, and KB cancer cell lines as well as effects on inflammatory cytokines production by lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-stimulated THP-1 macrophages. Results showed methanol and aqueous extracts of P. major seeds exhibited greatest antiproliferative activity. The ME also demonstrated highest inhibition of TNF-α, IL-1ß, IL-6, and IFN-g production.

Another 2009 study results "Effect of Plantago major sap on Ehrlich ascites tumours in mice" published in African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 8 by Mehmet Ozaslan, Isik Didem Karagoz et al. showed that the Plantago maior extract had an inhibitory effect on Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and proposes an potential agent for cancer prevention.

Anticarcinogenesis:

A study in Swiss albino rats administered DMBA evaluated the effect of Plantago maior extract on serum total sialic acid, lipid-bound SA and other trace elements. Results suggest Plantago maior may be partially effective in preventing carcinogenesis initiated by environmental carcinogen DMBA.

Cancerous Tumours:

A 2007 study of Plantago major extract in Ehrlich ascites tumor in mice "In vivo antitumoral effect of Plantago major L. extract on Balb/C mouse with Ehrlich ascites tumor" published in Am J Chin Med. by Ozaslan M, Didem Karagöz I, Kalender ME, Kilic IH, Sari I, Karagöz A. showed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on EAT.

Leukemia:

A 2003 study of the hot water extracts of Plantago major and Plantago asiatica "In vitro cytotoxic, antiviral and immunomodulatory effects of Plantago major and Plantago asiatica" published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine by Chiang Lien-Chai, Wen Chiang et al. showed a broad spectrum of anti-leukemic, anticarcinoma and antiviral activities, as well as modulation of cell-mediated immunity.

Colon Cancer:

A 2010 study "Abstract A50: Plantago major inhibits azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci in C57BL/6 mice and modulates apoptosis in mice and human colon cancer cells" published in Cancer Prevention Research, Vol 3, No 12, Suppl 2, by Peter S. Han, Robert J. Frey, Yuki Nishino, Jonathan H. Kang, Anthony H. Yeo, Janna M. Vassantachart, Han Y. Kim1, Randy P. Hausted2 and Brian Y. Y. Wong showed anti-colon cancer effects through inhibition of AOM (Azoxymethane)-induced ACF( aberrant crypt foci) via apoptosis, and suggests a potential for a chemopreventive and potential therapeutic agent for colon cancer.

Boosts Immune System:

Plantain leaf extract benefits the immune system in a couple of ways. First, we know it’s an effective antimicrobial. Fewer germs mean less work for your immune system. Second, it’s anti-inflammatory. We may correlate a well-functioning immune system with pro-inflammatory cells (like the kind that rush to the site of an injury and cause it to swell). The reality, however, is that a healthy immune system can modulate inflammation and use it in an appropriate, balanced way. And this is what plantain leaf extract can help do. Plantain leaf plays a dual role in the immunity system. It stimulates lymphocyte proliferation and also increases the secretion of interferon-gamma. Thus it stimulates immune functioning. Plantain leaves are packed full of vitamins and other nutrients. They are especially high in vitamins A and C, which can boost immune health, and also contain calcium and various minerals. Apart from benefiting your immune system, plantain is also one of the best emergency foods. Because it is nutrient dense, easy to harvest, and prolific, Plantain leaves can be used as a food source and enjoyed in many different dishes.

Immunoenhancing:

A study "Immunoenhancing properties of Plantago major leaf extract" published in Phytotherapy Research, Volume 14 Issue 8 by Dr R Gomez-Flores et al. have been attributed antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor and wound healing properties. A methanol extract study of its leaves showed increases of nitric-oxide production, increase in TNF-a production. Study suggests the a regulation of immune parameters induced by plant extracts may be clinically involved in numerous diseases including chronic viral infections, TB, AIDS and cancer.

Hair Care:

Dandruff:

This plantain herb for dandruff idea would be a great companion to an apple cider vinegar rinse. Use Plantain herb tea or tincture and apply to scalp. Massage in and rinse off after letting sit for awhile. While there isn’t much scientific evidence to back this up yet, Plantain leaf is a classic and well-regarded natural remedy for dandruff.

Antioxidant:

A 2011 study of Plantago maior "Constituents of Plantago major subsp. intermedia with antioxidant and anticholinesterase capacities" published in Turk J Chem 35 by Ufok Kolak, Mehmet Bog ̆A, Emine Akalin Urus ̧AK, Ayhan Ulubelen showed antioxidant activity, probably related to the presence of phenylpropanoid glycoside, isomartynoside.

Antioxidant Polysaccharides:

A 2017 study "Comparison of structure and antioxidant activity of polysaccharides extracted from the leaves of Plantago major L., Plantago media L. and Plantago lanceolata L." published in Bulgarian Chemical Communications, Vol 49 by PK Lukova, DP Karcheva-Bahchevanska, MM Nikolova, Ilia N Iliev, RD Mladenov evaluated the chemical composition and antioxidant activity of polysaccharides from three Bulgarian species of Plantago genus viz., Plantago major, Plantago lanceolata, and Plantago media. Crude polysaccharides from fresh leaves was between 0.64% and 2.79%. Plantago lanceolata WEPs (water extractable polysaccharides) had the most pronounced ferric reducing power (137.83 µM TE/5 mg Ps, correlating with the highest value of galacturonic acid (70.58%) among all isolated polysaccharides.

Anti-Mitotic and Anti-Genotoxic:

A 2006 study "Anti-mitotic and anti-genotoxic effects of Plantago lanceolata aqueous extract on Allium cepa root tip meristem cells" published in Biologia, Vol. 61, No. 6, by Tulay Askin Celik and Ozlem Sultan Aslanturk, showed the aqueous leaf extracts of Plantago lanceolata on Allium cepa root tip meristems treated with hydrogen peroxide have anti-mitotic and anti-genotoxic effects.

Antiviral:

Antiviral Activity:

A 2002 study "Antiviral activity of Plantago major extracts and related compounds in vitro" published in Antiviral Research by Chiang L C et al. showed phenolic compounds to be responsible for Plantago maior antiviral activities against herpesvirus-2 and adenovirus-3.

Reduces Addiction:

Smoking Cessation:

According to a study "Plantago maior and hypericum perforatum compound for use in treating a tobacco or nicotine habit (US Patent 6063401)", Plantago maior and Hypericum perforatum compound for use in treating a tobacco or nicotine habit, Patented claims on the use of Plantago maior and Hypericum perforatum as a smoking cessation preparation.

Alleviates Allergy:

Allergens:

A 1982 study of Plantain pollen extracts "Allergens from plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Studies with pollen and plant extracts" published in Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol. by Baldo BA, Chensee QJ, Howden ME, Sharp PJ. showed a spread of allergenic activity. At least 16 different antigens were detected in plantain pollen and six may be allergenic. IgE-binding components were widely distributed in plantain plants and not confined to the pollen.

Seasonal Allergies:

Plantain herb can also be taken internally to modulate an excessive histamine response to stings or from seasonal allergies. Fresh Plantain tincture combines well with Peach leaf or twig tincture for calming overly reactive tissues that create symptoms such as runny nose, itchy and runny eyes, sneezing, or dramatic responses to bug bites.

Bone Health:

Hematopoietic Activity:

A study of the extracts of the aerial parts, leaves and seeds of Plantago maior, added to mice bone marrow and spleen cultures, E coli, B subtilis and C albicans cultures, showed bone marrow and spleen cell concentration and inhibition of the bacterial growths. Data demonstrates for the first time that Plantago maior has hematopoietic activity in vitro.

Relieves Pain and Cramps:

Plantain leaf has antinociceptive property and effective to control pain symptoms. Plantain leaf restricts the formation of free radical generation and provides antioxidant benefit. Flavonoids and phenol present in Plantain leaf help to exert antioxidant property.

In a randomized double blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients were given either a syrup made with Plantain or a placebo. After 7 weeks those taking the Plantain syrup had significantly less severe symptoms including significantly less pain.

Reduces Inflammation:

While low levels of inflammation are part of your body’s healthy response to injury, chronic inflammation can lead to various illnesses. In particular, the leaves contain several anti-inflammatory compounds, including flavonoids, terpenoids, glycosides, and tannins. Multiple research study conducted to check the efficacy of the Plantain leaf against inflammatory diseases.

A rat study found that administering Plantain weed extract decreased several markers of inflammation caused by liver injury.

Another animal study observed similar findings, reporting that Plantain weed extract significantly decreased inflammation and reduced liver enzymes to protect against liver damage.

What’s more, test-tube studies suggest that plantain seeds may decrease several markers of inflammation and slow the growth of certain cancer cells. That said, plantain weed should not be considered a cancer remedy. Human studies are necessary to evaluate this plant’s anti-inflammatory effects.

These studies have proven that Plantain leaf has potent antioxidant property, inhibits prostaglandin synthesis, inhibitory effect on cyclooxygenase pathways and pro-inflammatory cytokines, like interleukin 1α, interleukin 1β, and TNFα, etc. and effective to reduce internal and external inflammation.

A poultice of crushed Plantain leaves, or a cotton pad soaked in strong plantain tea and applied to the irritated part brings down insect bites, rashes, acne, hemorrhoids, or swellings around wounds. For example, a gargle of Plantain tea will reduce the swelling and pain in the mouth after a tooth is removed. Let’s say a splinter in your finger got infected. Soak the finger in warm Plantain tea and the splinter will draw out easily; and so will the pus around it.  A compress of Plantain tea will help bring painful acne and boils to a head, and clean them out. This is especially effective if you add a teaspoon of fresh or dried chickweed to the tea. The herb bring down the swelling and pain within minutes and there was no infection or irritation afterward.

A 2015 study "Anti-Inflammatory Property of Plantago major Leaf Extract Reduces the Inflammatory Reaction in Experimental Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury" published in Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. by Farida Hussan, Adila Sofea Mansor, Siti Nazihahasma Hassan et al. evaluated the anti-inflammatory property of Plantago mojor leaf extracts on inflammatory reaction following APAP hepatotoxicity in Sprague-Dawley rats. Extract treatment significantly reduced proinflammatory cytokine levels and significantly reduced 11ß-HSD type 1 enzyme activity (p<0.05).

A 2005 study "In-vitro anti-inflammatory activity of Pinus sylvestris and Plantago lanceolata extracts: effect on inducible NOS, COX-1, COX-2 and their products in J774A.1 murine macrophages" published in J-Pharm-Pharmacol. by Vigo E, Cepeda A et al. showed Pinus sylvestris and Plantago lanceolata extracts inhibited NO production in a concentration-dependent manner. Results suggest the anti-inflammatory may reflect decreased NO production, possibly due to inhibitory effects on iNOS gene expression or to NO-scavenging activity. 

Another study of the aqueous extract of dried ground leaves on rats "Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Activities of the Aqueous Extract of Plantago major L." published in Summary Pharmaceutical Biology 1997, Vol. 35, No. 2 by Maria Elena Nuñez Gullen et al. showed effective antiinflammatory and analgesic activities.

Gastrointestinal Inflammation:

Plantain is an obvious choice for many first aid or acute inflammations, but it is equally useful for chronic hot conditions, especially in the digestive tract. 

A strong plantain leaf infusion (tea) can be one of the most dramatic healers for inflammatory digestive problems, including intestinal permeability (leaky gut), ulcers, and inflammatory bowel diseases. In this situation, plantain soothes the inflamed tissues, helps to heal the tissues (vulnerary), prevents bacterial overgrowth (antimicrobial), and can seemingly knit those tissues back together (astringent). It can also be a powerful healer for the upper digestive tract. It can relieve the pain of canker sores and speed up the healing of the tissues. It’s also a nice tea to include for people who have acid reflux, as it can soothe and heal the tissues of the esophagus.

Tendonitis Inflammation:

A 2013 study "A histopathological study of the healing potential of Plantago lanceolata ointment on collagenase-induced tendonitis in rats" published in Comparative Clinical Pathology by Sina Kakooei, Mohammad Mehdi Oloumi, Amin Derakhshanfar, Laya Golmoradi, evaluated Plantago lanceolata ointment as topical treatment of collagenase-induced tendonitis in rats. Results showed significant proliferation of endotendon, earlier disappearance of adipose, inflammatory cells and tendon lobulation, and faster collagen fiber rearrangement. Study evaluated the healing potential of water-soluble extract of Plantago lanceolata as a topical ointment on experimental collagenase-induced tendinitis in burros. Results concluded the ointment was effective in promoting the healing process of the tendon.

How to Use Plantain

Fresh leaves: If you’re able to find Plantain weeds in your yard, you can also enjoy the leaves in a variety of dishes. After careful rinsing, young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Because older leaves tend to be tougher, they may be better suited for cooked dishes, such as soups, stews, and stir-fries. For topical use, try drying the leaves and infusing them into your choice of oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, or almond oil.

Dried Plantain: weed can also be added to natural skin care products, including lip balms, lotions, and ointments. If you harvest Plantain weed from your yard, try to avoid plants that have been treated with pesticides, are growing near the road, or are located in areas frequented by pets. You can make your own laxative by gathering a good quantity of Plantain stalks and hanging them up to dry upside down. Keep a sheet of newspaper under them, to catch any seeds that fall when dry. Once the seeds are thoroughly dry, draw the flower heads through your fingers to loosen the seeds. Or just pick the stalks in late summer, when the flowers and seeds have dried. Also known as the white man’s footsteps for the white man who tracked the seeds around on their feet. Before ingesting the seed, let them soften and swell in water. A tablespoon of seeds in juice, water, tea or even a smoothie should do it. Just make sure to drink a large glass of liquid afterward, to ensure that the Plantain moves along inside you and does the job.

Supplements: Plantain weed is available both as a supplement and edible vegetable. You can find plantain weed in capsule, tincture, and tea form at numerous health stores and pharmacies. The standard dosage for infusions or teas is around 5 ounces (150 mL), 3–4 times daily. In powdered form, the typical dosage ranges from 3–5 grams per day. Be sure you don’t exceed the dosage listed on the product. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before supplementing, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.

Topical Use: Many herbalists are familiar with the use of Plantain leaf for first aid in the field, where fresh Plantain is chewed and applied directly to the skin to ease stings, bites, and minor burns or cuts. This is also an excellent way to draw out splinters, tiny shards of glass, or other bits of unwelcome debris! The folk medicine practice of the Plantain “spit poultice” teaches us some important things about Plantain. First, that Plantain is everywhere, in fields, gardens, backyards, hedgerows, and woodland borders throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and North Africa; you’ll find some species of Plantain growing almost anywhere there’s a temperate climate. One reason this folk remedy is so well-known, in addition to the fact that it really works. is simply because plantain is so widespread. We also see some of Plantain’s primary actions in this simple example: cooling, soothing, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, and drawing or astringent properties are all at work in a simple plantain poultice. And, of course, you’re not limited to using a fresh-chewed poultice, if that’s not your thing. Plantain leaf also works well as an infused oil or salve, and can be applied as a wash or compress.

According to Adom et al., in 2017, Plantain is a premier wound-mending herb; it’s high in mucilage and a number of inflammation-modulating compounds, which give it a moistening, soothing, emollient quality. It contains allantoin, a constituent that promotes tissue regeneration, which is also found in Comfrey (Symphytum spp.), but Plantain is much milder and can be used to help resolve all types of minor superficial wounds without Comfrey’s safety concerns. Plantain has antimicrobial or antiseptic properties, and can help to stave off infection as wounds heal.

Internal Use: Plantain can also be used internally to both draw out heat and support healing of damaged tissues. The tea is particularly useful for calming gastrointestinal inflammation and supporting restoration of damaged mucosa, and, because it has both astringent and demulcent properties, Plantain is also useful for helping to ease diarrhea. When you put these qualities together, you can see why plantain is often used to support conditions such as IBS, leaky gut or intestinal permeability, colitis, esophagitis, and gastrointestinal ulcers. The seeds and seed husks of Plantain, and are used as a source of soluble fiber to promote bowel regularity. The seeds have an even higher content of mucilage, which is what creates the gel-like matrix that soothes the gastrointestinal lining. In effect, when we take plantain seed powder or plantain leaf tea to soothe and support wellness in the gastrointestinal tract, we’re still using them as topical vulneraries rather than the skin on the outside of the body.

According to Najafian et al., in 2018, Plantain also works well to soothe respiratory allergies and asthma. It contains compounds that help to inhibit mast cell degranulation and histamine release, which is what drives the classic allergy symptoms of redness, irritation, and itching. This is really just another way to describe plantain’s ability to resolve heat and calm irritated tissues. Plantain is ideal for an allergic presentation that involves red, dry, or itchy eyes or dry throat with irritated cough. It can also be used for other respiratory tract irritations, such as a dry cough or mucosal irritation from inhaling smoke or dust.

Plantain leaf also has diuretic properties, and is sometimes classed as an alterative, an herb that helps promote the elimination of metabolic waste, thus acting to restore general health. Its cooling, vulnerary actions can also be used to support the urinary tract, and it can be included in formulas to address urinary tract infection and interstitial cystitis.

While herbalists often use the plantain leaves, we can’t overlook the many benefits of plantain plant seeds. Plantain seeds are mucilaginous and high in fiber. Seeds collected from Plantago ovatum or P. psyllium are harvested on a large scale and sold as psyllium seed and husk, which are used to maintain bowel regularity.

The seeds from Plantago major, Plantago rugelii, and Plantago lanceolata can be used similarly, but the process of harvesting enough of those tiny seeds is time consuming. Plantain seeds also are deliciously edible and can be eaten raw or added to cooked foods, or whole plantain seed stalks can be steamed and eaten if the seeds are too tedious to collect. These seeds are also medicine.

A trial in 2021 showed that Plantain seeds used as a fiber supplement could reduce small dense LDL particles in children at risk for heart disease.

The seeds can also heal the gut. An in vitro study on the seeds shows promise for its ability to strengthen the intestinal wall which could possibly help with intestinal impermeability or leaky gut.

  • Boils and Acne: Touch with a drop of tincture or apply salve.
  • Bronchitis: Plantain helps to reduce mucus secretion in airways and reduce inflammation to clear up bronchitis. Drink three cups of tea a day made with ½ tsp of dried Plantain leaves steeped in a cup of water.
  • Burns: Apply a poultice immediately and apply a bandage with leaves. Follow it up with a Plantain salve. / Plantain’s anti-inflammatory properties aid repair of damaged tissue. Apply a whole plantain leaf directly to the burn as a poultice.
  • Cold, Flu, and Respiratory Infections: Take the tincture under the tongue or drink freshly brewed warm tea with honey.
  • Cough: Plantain soothes coughs for the same reasons it’s useful in combating bronchitis. Make a tea using ½ tsp of dried Plantain leaves steeped in a cup of water.
  • Cuts and Open Sores: Stop bleeding from fresh cuts by applying crushed Plantain leaves. Wash with plantain tea or diluted tincture (1 tbsp to a glass of water) to prevent infections and promote healing.
  • Dandruff and other Scalp Problems: Apply Plantain tea or oil infusion to the scalp and wash off after an hour.
  • Gastrointestinal Inflammation: Take the tincture under the tongue or drink Plantain tea.
  • Insect Bites and Stings: After drawing toxin out of bug bites and stings, Plantain can prevent swelling and rashes from developing. You can treat bug bites and stings by applying a plantain salve and or soaking a rag in plantain tea and holding it against the affected area.
  • Liver and Kidney Function: Drink 1-2 glasses of Plantain tea every day.
  • Mouth Ulcers: Swish 2-3 Tbsp Plantain tea in the mouth 3-4 times a day. You can use 1 tbsp of tincture diluted with a cup of water too.
  • Peptic Ulcers: Plantain tea can soothe internal, inflamed intestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel issues and peptic ulcers because of its anti-inflammatory effects and tissue-healing properties. Drink a tea made from ½ tsp of dried Plantain leaves steeped in a cup of water.
  • Poison Ivy/Sumac/Oak: Apply a poultice immediately, and then wash the area with Plantain tea. Apply Plantain sludge until the stinging pain is gone. / Plantain provides relief to dermatitis, poison ivy and other skin conditions because of its ability to draw out toxins and soothe and reduce inflammation. Apply whole plantain leaves directly to the affected area.
  • Sunburn: Apply fresh poultice or Plantain sludge liberally. Wash the area with the tea and then apply the salve.
  • Throat Pain or Infection: Gargle with Plantain tea or diluted tincture. Take 5-10 drops of tincture under the tongue and ingest it slowly.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Plantain can help relieve symptoms of urinary tract infections when consumed in a tea because of its anti-inflammatory and tissue-healing properties. Make a tea from ½ tsp of dried plantain leaves steeped in a cup of water.
  • Wounds: Use a topical plantain wash and apply a plantain salve to speed wound healing and ease discomfort.

Traditional Uses of Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior):

  • It contains slippery mucilage that is soothing and healing to the skin, and is often applied topically to treat all kinds of minor wounds, including insect stings and bites, allergic rashes such as those from poison ivy and stinging nettle, hives, burns, cuts, and abrasions.
  • As this herb is soothing and anti-inflammatory, it is also sometimes taken internally to alleviate gut inflammation and respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis, irritable coughs, and sinusitis.
  • Transvaal Europeans plug the ears with the leaf to relive earache.
  • Europeans used fresh leaf juice as a remedy for malaria.
  • In Romania and Bulgaria, used for cuts and scratches.
  • In Ayurveda, used for constipation, diarrhea, dysentery.
  • In Java used for diuretic for bladder stones. Used in decoction for diabetes, worms, hemorrhoids, and to purify the blood.
  • In China, used for colds and viral hepatitis.
  • In Malaysia, used for treating diabetes and to increase male fertility.
  • In Taiwan, used for treating respiratory, urinary and digestive tract infectious diseases.
  • In Guatemala and Turkey, used for acne. In India, used for bee, wasp, and nettle stings.
  • In Turkey, used for the treatment of ulcers, the powdered leaf taken with honey daily before breakfast.
  • Malays used a decoction leaves for dysentery and gonorrhea.
  • In Japan, watery extract of seed used for whooping cough.
  • Zulus squeezed the leaf juice into the mouth and ears.
  • In traditional Persian medicine, drops or massage of mucilage used for earaches or nasal inhalation. Leaf juice used for treatment of various eye diseases i.e., choroid diseases, day blindness, eye sores, and conjunctivitis. Gargle of leaf juice used for toothache, halitosis, epistaxis, loose teeth, gingivitis, and tonsillitis. Leaf extract used for treating asthma, tuberculosis, and various lung lesions. Also used for treating uterine warts, menometrorrhagia and polymenorrhea, wounds and skin diseases.
  • For centuries, used as wound healing remedy in most parts of the world. The Norwegians ad Swedes referred to it as groblad, meaning 'healing leaves.
  • For boils, furuncles, and abscesses, lesions are covered with fresh crushed material.
  • Anuria and dysuria due to beriberi: Concentrated decoction of the whole plant or seeds. Use 9 to 15 grams of the whole plant or 6 to 12 grams of seeds.
  • Decoction of plant used for asthma.
  • Decoction of leaves used as emollient.
  • Severe cough with plenty of phlegm which cannot be smoothly expectorated: Concentrated decoction of the whole plant or seeds with bark of Morus alba
  • Insomnia, bloody urine, urinary lithiasis, nephritic edema, beriberi edema, hypertension, bronchitis: Decoction of 30 to 60 gms of dried or 30 to 90 grams of fresh material.
  • Reddening and swelling pain of the eye.
  • For furuncles, eczema and various skin irritation: Poultice of pounded fresh material.
  • Used as antidote and diuretic.
  • Used as poultice for sores, particularly inflamed fingernails.
  • A watery extract of the seeds is given for whooping cough.
  • To purify blood, stomachaches, and malaria, the whole plant is boiled and the decoction is taken internally as a diuretic for stone in the bladder.
  • Decoction of root reported to cause a natural aversion to tobacco and used as an ingredient in smoking-cessation preparations.
  • Decoction of leaves used as antidysenteric and vulnerary; used in burns, contusions, and ulcers of the mouth.
  • Roots and leaves used to relieve coughs and consumption.
  • Used for wasting diseases in men and women; promotes secretion of semen and conducive to fertility.
  • Used to nourish the liver, assist in difficult labor.
  • Leaves used as poultices for sores, particularly for inflamed fingernails.
  • Mucilaginous leaves are roots used as astringent and febrifuge.
  • A close up top down picture of a brown wooden bowl containing fresh green plantain leaves, with a small bowl of dried herbs, set on a blue wooden surface.
  • It is also prepared as a poultice to draw out splinters or glass.
  • To make a poultice, crush or blend the herb into a paste and apply it to the affected area. Wrap the mixture with gauze or a bandage to keep it in place.
  • Leaving it on for anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight is recommended, reapplying the mixture every few hours if needed.
  • A close up of an injured finger wrapped in a large green leaf, on a soft focus background.
  • They were used to treat ulcers and sores.
  • They are still used in parts of Shetland for burns and wounds.
  • Juice extracted from warmed leaves is placed in the eye to reduce the irritations of trauma or conjunctivitis.
  • Decoction of leaves mixed with leaves of Chenopodium ambrosioides is consumed by women to relieve menopausal troubles, and drunk to soothe digestion.
  • Crushed young leaves are applied to the ulcers of leishmaniasis.
  • Poultice of the leaves can be applied to wounds, stings, and sores in order to facilitate healing and prevent infection.
  • Tea made from the leaves can be ingested to treat diarrhea and soothe raw internal membranes.
  • Due to the high vitamin and mineral content, Plantain tea simultaneously replenishes the nutrients lost as a result of diarrhea.
  • Root of Plantain was traditionally used to treat wounds, as well as to treat fever and respiratory infections.
  • Adding fresh Plantain seeds or flower heads to a tea will act as an effective lubricating and bulking laxative and soothe raw, sore throats.
  • When ingested, the aucubin in Plantain leaves leads to increased uric acid excretion from the kidneys, and may be useful in treating gout.
  • Common Plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding; it quickly staunches blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue.
  • Leaves are astringent, demulcent, deobstruent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic and refrigerant.
  • Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever.
  • They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc.
  • Heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc.
  • Seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms.
  • Distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.
  • Root, powdered is wonderful in complaints of the bowels.
  • Expressed juice was recommended for spitting of blood and piles.
  • Boyle recommends an electuary made of fresh Comfrey roots, juice of Plantain and sugar as very efficacious in spitting of blood.
  • Plantain juice mixed with lemon juice was judged an excellent diuretic.
  • Powdered dried leaves, taken in drink, were thought to destroy worms.
  • During the 1500s and 1600s, it was used by Europeans for everything from dog bites and boils to fevers and the flu.
  • It is considered useful in treating snake and insects bites and stinging nettle rash.
  • Some old European lore states that Plantain is effective for the bites of mad dogs, epilepsy, and leprosy.
  • It is also possible to prepare medicinal oil as a cough medicine by using equal parts of finely chopped leaves soaked in cold-pressed sunflower oil.

Culinary Uses of Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior):

  • Leaves, roots, seeds are edible.
  • As a tea ¼ – ½ teaspoon (1 - 3 grams) of the dried or fresh leaves in a cup of hot water steeped for 10 to 15 minutes. The recommended daily dosage is three cups per day.
  • As a tincture: 2–3 ml three times per day,
  • The fresh leaves can be applied directly, several times daily, to treat minor injuries, dermatitis, and insect stings and bites.
  • The fresh young leaves are edible and can be used uncooked in salads, when young and tender or cooked as pot herb.
  • Older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten.
  • Small seeds can be ground into a flour substitute or extender.
  • Whole seeds can be boiled and used like sago.
  • Dried leaves make an acceptable tea.
  • Young plantain leaves are used in China and Japan as a vegetable similar to spinach.
  • The adult leaves, because of the thick veins, are tough and stringy and not very suitable for using fresh but they can be boiled and eaten in the same manner as spinach.
  • The seeds can be eaten either raw or cooked and can function in the same way as sago.
  • Inflorescence of Plantago maior are consumed raw in the southwest of Spain and in the north of Italy, close to the Switzerland border, to elaborate a soup with a curious and pleasant fungus flavor.

Other Uses of Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior):

  • Single plant can produce as many as 15,000 seeds.
  • Sinews from the mature plant are very pliable and tough, and can be used in survival situations to make small cords, fishing line, sutures, or braiding.
  • Some cultivars are planted as ornamentals in gardens, including ‘Rubrifolia’ with purple leaves, and Variegata with variegated leaves.
  • Broadleaf Plantain was used as a source of golden-bronze pigment for dyeing of wool in the past.
  • Root system of Broadleaf Plantain consists of dense mass of rootlets that can stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
  • Some varieties of Broadleaf Plantain, such as those with purple and variegated leaves, are cultivated in ornamental purposes.
  • Fodder: Elsewhere, sometimes grown as fodder crop, and considered of better quality than Plantago maior.

Uses of Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior) for the Vinegar:

  • Mix 50/50 in warm water as a conditioner for your hair (nopoo).spray bottle
  • Add to misting spray bottle and use to spray bites, stings, cuts, burns and sunburns.
  • Would also be great as a spray underarm deodorant.
  • Use as a face wash, face spray, astringent etc in your DIY beauty routine.
  • Spray on skin conditions
  • Add to your bath water and soak for sunburns, bites and stings.
  • Mix with Clay powder or baking soda and make a face mask.
  • Make into a poultice with bread or baking soda
  • Add to warm water for a foot soak to relive blisters and athletes foot.
  • Can also be used as a surface cleaner

Uses of Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago maior) for the Oil:

  • Mix it with raw coconut oil and whip it into body butter, use for skin care, puffy under eyes, bits and stings, as a pre conditioner for hair.
  • Rub on sunburns, use as a foot or back massage lotion. Use as underarm deodorant.
  • Use as face moisturizer and for skin conditions
  • A face mask with clay powder
  • A poultice with baking soda.

Traditional Uses of Narrow Leaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata):

  • Plantago lanceolata is used frequently in herbal teas and other herbal remedies.
  • In Africa, leaves used to treat wounds, insect stings, sunburn, skin disease, eye irritation and inflammation of the mouth and throat. Infusion used as detoxifier and taken for treat colds, asthma, emphysema, urinary bladder stones, gastric ulcers. Infusion of dried seeds used as soothing eye lotion, taken for diarrhea and dysentery, and for intestinal worms in children.
  • In Mauritius, alcohol tincture of mashed leaves applied to toothaches associated with caries. Crushed leaves used as poultice on wounds to stop bleeding. Leaf decoction or infusion used to wash infected eyes.
  • In Nigeria, whole plant and seeds used to treat intestinal problems such as gastritis and enteritis.
  • In Ethiopia, leaves used for wound healing. Roots used as taenicidal and to treat fertility problems.
  • In the traditional Austrian medicine Plantago lanceolata leaves have been used internally (as syrup or tea) or externally (fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, insect bites, and infections.
  • Decoction of whole plant used for nausea, for mouth wash for aphthae, and for body wash to treat rheumatic pains.
  • Leaves are edible, raw or cooked.
  • Seeds are cooked; can be ground into a powder and added to flours in making bread.
  • Leaves used on wounds, inflamed surfaces and sores.
  • Seeds, with sugar, is a drastic purgative; also, acts as a hemostatic.
  • Narrow Leaf Plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding; it quickly stops blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue.
  • Leaves contain mucilage, tannin and silic acid.
  • An extract of them has antibacterial properties.
  • Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever.
  • They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc.
  • Heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc.
  • Root is a remedy for the bite of rattle snakes; it is used in equal portions with Marrubium vulgare.
  • Seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms.
  • Plantain seeds consist up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes.
  • Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds.
  • Distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.
  • Leaf tea used to treat cough, diarrhea, dysentery, and hematuria.
  • Leaves have broncho-dilation properties and can be used for bronchitis and throat colds.
  • Leaf poultice used for blisters, sores, ulcers, swelling, insect stings, earaches, and eye ailments.
  • Seeds, like any plantain, may be ingested to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Leaves can also be ground up and used to treat skin irritations such as blisters, insect bites, and sores.
  • Fresh Plantago lanceolata leaves are applied to abscess to promote suppuration in Turkey.
  • Herbal substance is administered in conjunctivitis/eye irritation and for the treatment of wounds, ulcers, bruises and sores in Guatemala.
  • Infusions of Plantago lanceolata leaves are used for curing stomach spasms in North-West Greece.
  • Consumption of the leaves of Plantago major is considered healthy for the stomach function.
  • Different parts of both species (mainly the leaves, sometimes the seeds and the roots) have also been traditionally used to treat several digestive, respiratory, urinary, and skin disorders.
  • Leaf tea used to treat cough, diarrhea, dysentery, and hematuria.
  • Leaves have bronchodilation properties and can be used for bronchitis and throat colds. Leaf poultice used for blisters, sores, ulcers, swelling, insect stings, earaches, and eye ailments.
  • Seeds, like any Plantain, may be ingested to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Ribwort plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly staunches blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue.
  • The leaves contain mucilage, tannin and silic acid.
  • An extract of them has antibacterial properties.
  • They have a bitter flavour and are astringent, demulcent, mildly expectorant, haemostatic and ophthalmic.
  • Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever.
  • They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc.
  • The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc.
  • The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes, it is used in equal portions with Marrubium vulgare.
  • The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms.
  • Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes.
  • Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds.
  • A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.

Culinary Uses of Narrow Leaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata):

  • The leaves can be eaten when very young.
  • Young leaves can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • They are rather bitter and very tedious to prepare, the fibrous strands are best removed prior to eating.
  • Very young leaves are somewhat better and are less fibrous.
  • Seed is cooked and is used like sago.
  • Seed can be ground into a powder and added to flours when making bread, cakes or whatever.
  • Mucilage obtained from the seed coats is an excellent thickener and stabilizer that are used in the ice-cream industry and also in the preparation of chocolate.
  • Both species have been traditionally consumed as vegetables in the Mediterranean countries, at least in Spain.
  • Tender basal leaves are collected in spring and eaten raw in salads or cooked sometimes in soups.
  • They can also be mixed with other wild vegetables, as in the traditional Italian dishes acquacotta and pistic, the latter being a vegetable plate elaborated with a mix of a large number of wild vegetables.
  • Leaves of Plantago. lanceolata are also used as stuffing to prepare vegetable pies in Turkey.
  • As also reported by these authors, its consumption has become very popular in the French nouvelle cuisine of the 90s.
  • In northeastern Spain their leaves are used in the elaboration of a traditional liqueur called ratafia prepared with green walnuts and many wild herbs that sometimes include the basal leaves of these species.

Other Uses of Narrow Leaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata):

  • Children use the plant in a game where the flower's head is "shot" off the end of stalk; it has alternately been called "1 o'clock gun", "rifle", among others names. To play the game, one would pluck a stalk and wrap a loop of the distal end of the stem around the section of stem closest to the flower's head. The loop is tightened so it stops up behind the flower's head and the stem is pulled backward until the flower head pops off. The stalk is slightly elastic so when the flower head separates, it (the head) flies off in the direction the stalk is pointed like a gun, hence the gun-related names given to it.
  • Good fiber is obtained from the leaves, it is said to be appropriate for textiles.
  • Mucilage from the seed coats is used as a fabric stiffener.
  • Plant yields a gold and brown dyes.
  • It is obtained by softening the seed in hot water.
  • Gold and brown dyes are obtained from the whole plant.
  • Leaves contain a good fiber, which, it has been recommended, might be adapted to some manufacturing purpose.
  • It has also been used in ethno-veterinary.
  • These species are usually considered weeds and their leaves and seeds have been employed as animal food, for ruminants, rabbits, and birds.
  • It is said to be suitable for textiles.
  • Dynamic accumulator.
  • Acne: Touch with a drop of tincture or apply salve.
  • Aphonia: Prepare an infusion of the leaves of Plantago and gargle.
  • Asthma: Make a decoction of the roots of Plantago. Take it two times a day. / Boil a cup of water in a pot with an equal amount of 1 to 2 tsp of Thyme and Plantago. Put a half tsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp of sugar in it. Boil them for 10 minutes. Strain off this mixture. Drink this mixture four times a day to treat Asthma.
  • Bed Witting: Have Plantago extract.
  • Burns: Apply a poultice immediately and apply a bandage with leaves. Follow it up with a Plantain salve.
  • Cold and Flu: Take the tincture under the tongue or drink freshly brewed warm tea with honey.
  • Cuts: Apply the leaves of Plantago directly to the affected area. / Stop bleeding from fresh cuts by applying crushed Plantain leaves. Wash with plantain tea or diluted tincture (1 tbsp to a glass of water) to prevent infections and promote healing.
  • Dandruff: Apply Plantain tea or oil infusion to the scalp and wash off after an hour.
  • Gastrointestinal Inflammation: Take the tincture under the tongue or drink Plantain tea.
  • Gall Bladder: Prepare a tea made from the leaves of Plantago. Have this two- three times a day.
  • Gum Inflammation or Gingivitis: Use decoction as mouth wash or as gargle.
  • Hemorrhoids: Prepare a decoction of Plantago roots. Have it two times a day.
  • Hoarseness: Boil 2 tsp of dried Plantago in a cup of water. Strain and gargle with the water 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Lungs: To get rid of dry cough and lung congestion, drink Plantago leaves decoction. Boil a handful leaves in water and drink twice a day.
  • Mouth Ulcers: Swish 2-3 Tbsp Plantain tea in the mouth 3-4 times a day. You can use 1 tbsp of tincture diluted with a cup of water too.
  • Oral Thrush: Prepare a decoction of the roots of Plantago for oral thrush.
  • Pneumonia: Boil 1 tsp of Plantago and thyme in 100 ml of water. Add a half tsp of sugar and Lemon juice in this water. Boil it till it reduces to half. Strain it off. Drink a cup of this warm decoction sip by sip in every hour to get cured.
  • Poison Ivy/Sumac/Oak: Apply a poultice immediately, and then wash the area with Plantain tea. Apply plantain sludge until the stinging pain is gone.
  • Skin Irritation: Apply decoction over affected area. The powdered seeds may be mixed with oil for treatment of dermatitis.
  • Stings: Warm the Plantago leaves. Apply with mustard oil twice a day.
  • Sunburns: Prepare a tea made from the leaves of English Plantain. Wash off the affected area with the liquid. / Apply fresh poultice or Plantain sludge liberally. Wash the area with the tea and then apply the salve.
  • Throat Pain: Gargle with Plantain tea or diluted tincture. Take 5-10 drops of tincture under the tongue and ingest it slowly.
  • Urinary Problems: Make a decoction of Virginia Snakeroot, Jasmine and Plantago. Take twice a day.
  • Wounds: Warm the leaves of Plantago. Coat them with mustard oil. Use it as a fomentation over the affected area two times a day.

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