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Plantain Monograph

Botanical name Plantago spp. (esp. P. lanceolata and P. major)

Common Name

Plantain, ,English plantain, Englishman’s foot, white man’s footsteps, ribwort,

ripplegrass, waybread, snakeweed,



Geographic Distribution


Harvesting Guidelines

Simply reach down and pull the leaves by the stalk to detach them. Only gather plantains that you find on uncultivated land. Stay away from herbs growing in spots where you’ve sprayed pesticides or spread fertilizer.


As written on Indigo Herbs: Plantain benefits

''Plantain arrived in the Americas on the soles of European shoes and planted itself throughout the continent, hence its nickname "Whiteman's Footprint". The Native Americans observed that it followed the white man, springing up underneath his feet wherever he walked.

Soon adopted into their herbal medicine, Plantain leaves were used by Native Americans to heal wounds, reduce inflammation, staunch bleeding and to soothe stings, burns and rashes. They were taken internally for many complaints including coughs, colds, bronchitis, diarrhoea, gastritis, haemorrhoids and bladder infections. They carried the powdered root with them as an antidote to snake bites and to draw out other poisonous toxins.''

The use of plantain to treat various diseases goes back thousands of years. The earliest known account of the Plantain is in the “Materia Medica” or “Hashayesh” in Arabic, which was written by “Pedanius Dioscorides” (40–90 AD), a Greek botanist. (1)

Plantain is also a rich source of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and potassium, making it a nutritious herb for overall health. Its high levels of mucilage make it useful in soothing and healing digestive complaints such as gastritis, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome. Plantain has also been used topically to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and insect bites, as its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help to soothe and heal irritated skin.

Plantain is valued for its broadly therapeutic effects on the urinary system. Its diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and detoxifying properties may help chelate and eliminate toxins via the urinary system, and are also useful in cases of cystitis, prostate inflammation, or bladder infections.

Plantain, a herb with origins in Europe and Asia, has been approved by the German Commission E for its medicinal properties. It has been found to be effective in relieving coughs and respiratory tract infections by reducing irritation in the lungs and boosting the immune system. Additionally, plantain can be used as an aid to quit smoking, as a tea or tincture made from its leaves can help curb the desire to smoke and promote lung health. (2)

In Native American medicine, plantain has been used for a wide range of purposes, including as a poultice for wounds and sores, as a tea to treat digestive problems, and as a topical treatment for rheumatism and arthritis. The Cherokee tribe used plantain to treat snakebites, and the Iroquois used it to treat coughs, colds, and fever. Some Native American tribes also used plantain as a food source, cooking the leaves and seeds like spinach.

In Chinese medicine, plantain (known as Che Qian Zi) is often used to treat urinary tract infections and other urinary problems. It is believed to have a cooling and detoxifying effect on the body, and is often combined with other herbs to support the health of the kidneys and bladder. Plantain seeds are also used in Chinese medicine as a natural laxative to help relieve constipation.

This plant is known for its broad, flat leaves that resemble the soles of feet. According to the doctrine of signatures, this is a sign that Plantain is helpful for soothing and healing skin irritations and wounds. Indeed, Plantain is commonly used in herbal medicine as a topical remedy for cuts, scrapes, burns, and insect bites.


Adult Dose

Tea: Steep 1.4 g of herb in 150 ml boiled water for 10 to 15 minutes, and take three to four times daily


While they are generally safe to eat, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to plantain pollen. It is also important to exercise caution when taking plantain internally, as it may interact with certain diuretic medications and speed up the elimination of some prescription drugs due to its diuretic and chelating properties.

Actions: Alterative,Anodyne,Anthelmintic,Antibacterial,Anticancer,Anticandidal,Antidote,Anti-inflammatory,Antimicrobial,Antiseptic,Antitussive,Astringent,Decongestant,Demulcent,Depurative,Deobstruent,Diuretic,Emollient,Expectorant,Febrifuge,Hemostatic,Immunomodulant,Immune Stimulant,Laxative,Ophthalmic,Refrigerant,Spasmolytic,Vermifuge,Vulnerary

Energy: cooling, moistening



(1) Meteria Medica. Tehran: Tehran University of Medical Siences; 2005. Dioscorides’s

(2)Assessment report on Plantago lanceolata L., folium Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC)

(3) Medical herbalism by David Hoffman

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.

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