Common Plantain Health Benefits

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The common plantain comes from the botanical genus Plantago. It comprises about 200 species, among which the most outstanding regarding their phytotherapeutic applications are psyllium and three species of plantain (lance-leaf plantain, common plantain, and hoary plantain), which have been used as medicinal herbs since the times of the ancient Greeks. The name Plantago refers to the footprint-like shape of their leaves.

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  • The flowers of Common Plantain are shaped like small green cabbage heads. Plants grow 12 inches tall when in full bloom when grown from herb seeds. The foliage is low growing and green.
  • Common plantain grows as a perennial in USDA zones 3 – 9 reaching a height of 12 inches.
Common Plantain benefits for lung disorders
The common plantain is an excellent soothing herb for the respiratory mucous membrane and the skin. It can be applied in the form of compress soaked in a decoction of leaves, or in poultices of mashed leaves.

Common Plantain Scientific Facts

  1. Similar species: Plantago media L (Hoary plantain), Plantago lanceolata L. (Lance-leaf plantain).
  2. Other names: (Common plantain): broad-leaved plantain, dooryard plantain, greater plantain, round-leaved plantain, way bread, white man’s foot. (Lance-leaf plantain): Buckthorn, chimney sweeps, English plantain, headsman, ribgrass, ribwort, ripplegrass, snake plantain, soldier’s herb. (Hoary plantain): Gray ribwort, wooly plantain.
  3. French: Plantain.
  4. Spanish: Llanten.
  5. Environment: It grows all over Europe and is naturalized to America. The common plantain grows in wet soils, the hoary plantain on roadsides and slopes, and the lance-leaf plantain in calcareous soils.
  6. Descriptions: Plant of the Plantaginaceae family, growing from 10 to 60 cm high. All three species have root-growing leaves with parallel nerves which join in the tip of the leaf. The length and size of the leaves are different for each species and the flower spikes.
  7. Parts of the plant used medicinally: The whole plant (leaves, flower spike, and root).

Healing Properties and Indications

All three species of plantain contain a large amount of mucilage, which gives them emollient, expectorant, antitussive, and bechic properties; tannin, to which they owe their astringent, hemostatic, and cicatrizant properties; pectin; and chromogenic glycosides (aucubine and catalpol), with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

lance-leaf  plantain medicinal uses
Lance-leaf plantain

The common plantain contains phenolic acids, flavonoids, choline, and noscapine, an alkaloid with antispasmodic and antitussive properties. Plantain soothes and dries simultaneously due to the combined action of mucilage (emollient, soothing) and tannin (astringent, which produce desiccation and constriction). This gives plantain an overall anti-inflammatory effect, which is useful for healing many respiratory and digestive mucous membrane afflictions. These are their principal applications:

The most practical and effective way of applying plantain leaves on the skin is perhaps by putting them directly on the affected area. Blanch them first for one minute to sterilize them.
  1. Respiratory disorders: Acute or chronic bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma. The plantain thins secretions, easing their elimination, and reducing the inflammation of the bronchial mucous membrane, and ease coughs. The plantain has been used against pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia as a complement to their specific treatment. Among these plants, the common plantain is the one with more potent antitussive properties.
  2. Mouth and throat disorders applied in gargles and mouth rinses. The plantain is recommended in the case of stomatitis, gingivitis, pharyngitis, tonsilitis, and laryngitis. The plant’s active components reduce the inflammation, heal itching and throat irritation, and alleviate coughing from whooping cough.
  3. Digestive disorders: colitis, aerocolia (gas in the colon), abdominal distension caused by an excess of gas or bad digestion, intestinal putrefaction, diarrhea, dysentery, chronic constipation with inflammation of the large intestine.
  4. Hemorrhoids: Sitz baths and enemas with a plantain decoction are very effective in reducing the inflammation of hemorrhoids.
  5. Eye ailments: In the form of irrigation, a decoction of plantain alleviates eye diseases such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).
  6. Varicose ulcers, bleeding or suppurating wounds, burns. In these cases, you can apply compresses with a plantain decoction or plantain leaves directly, previously blanched in boiling water.
  7. Insects and reptile bites: Dr. Leclerc states that weasels rub themselves on the plantain plants before fighting snakes to become protected against reptile poison. In the case of bites of insects, spiders, bees, or scorpions, vigorously rub the affected area with plantain leaves, then apply a dressing or poultice made with plantain leaves.
hoary plantain medicinal uses
Hoary plantain

In the case of snake bites, the usual emergency treatment is required (cut the area, tourniquet, anti poisonous serum), then a lotion and a dressing or poultice with plantain leaves.

There are several types of plantain plants, but they all have comparable properties. The plant has cooling and soothing actions that make it practical for many ailments, such as excessive menstrual discharge, bronchitis, ulcers, diarrhea, inflammations, and infections. Prepare an infusion using an ounce of plantain in a pint of water. It performs as a diuretic and is comforting to the urinary tract and the lungs.

The plant is an excellent remedy for acute neuralgia; in this case, take two to five drops of tincture every twenty minutes. It can also treat enteritis, gastritis, hoarseness, and cough irritations. It is also helpful in treating all respiratory problems, primarily those involving mucus congestion. It is fantastic for heartburn and indigestion.

Plantain is beneficial in treating kidney and bladder infections and water retention. It can neutralize stomach acids, normalize all stomach secretions, and may inhibit the growth of tuberculosis bacteria. Plantain seeds are like psyllium seeds, and if taken in amounts of one teaspoon of powdered juice three times daily, it can provide a fantastic bulk laxative.

Soaking the seeds overnight will produce a gel. Bring the gel to a boil, turn it off, and let it steep for ten minutes. Squeeze the gel through a strainer and use it to treat spitting up blood, intestinal pains, and ulcers. Introduce a cup of tea several times daily into the colon to treat hemorrhoids. You can also use it as a douche for vaginal ailments.

Intestinal worms, gastrointestinal difficulties, and chronic catarrhal problems can be treated using fresh juice pressed from the whole plant. It has an antibiotic, healing, and blood-stanching effect in external applications when applied to wounds and sores.

The plant can neutralize toxins in snake and insect bites. Place the freshly ground leaves (or slightly chewed) onto the bites of bees, insects, and snakes. A dried leaf decoction can promote blood coagulation. You can place a salve of it on eczema, carbuncles, and boils. The fresh juice extract is excellent for itchy skin, and simultaneously swallow a tablespoon of the fresh juice.

Plantain is a fantastic remedy for chronic skin problems, scratches, cuts, and for skin infections. It is utilized in various ointments and salves alone or mixed with other herbs like angelica, mugwort, comfrey, and chickweed. Put fresh leaves on hemorrhoids, ringworm, insect bites, sores, and even wounds. Also, chewing the rootstock can give toothache relief.

The Asian plantain, P Asiatica, is a clinical treatment for high blood pressure at a fifty percent success rate. Common plantain is a well-known folk cancer remedy in Latin America. It is used for this purpose worldwide. The plant also stimulates the healing process and is an antimicrobial.

How to use Common Plantain

  1. Decoction.
  2. Leaf dressings
  3. Poultices of boiled and mashed leaves.

Infusion (leaf): Steep for five to fifteen minutes and take three ounces three to four times daily. Decoction (seed): Simmer one ounce of seeds in 1 ½ pints of water, reduce to one pint, sweeten with honey and take one tablespoon three to four times daily. Tincture: Take two to sixty drops three to four times daily. Fluid Extract: Take ½ to one teaspoon three to four times daily. Powder: Take up to ten #0 capsules (up to 60 grains) three to four times daily.

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Common plantain grows as a perennial in USDA zones 3 – 9 reaching a height of 12 inches.
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Latin/Botanical Name: Plantago lanceolata; Origin: Croatia; Certified Organic by QAI – In accordance with the USDA National Organic Program Guidelines


  • George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 325, 326. Print.
  • Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 174, 175.

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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