Plantain

Scientific Name/Common Name: Plantago major / Plantain

Part(s) Used: Leaf

Constituents/Active Ingredients: 2-6.5% mucilage; 6.5% tannins; iridoid glycosides including aucubin (0.3-2.5%) and catalpol (0.3-1.1%); the aglycone, aucubigenin; five phenylethanoids: acteoside, cistanoside F, lavandulifolioside, plantamajoside, and isoacteoside; over 1% silicic acid; phenolic carboxylic acids; flavonoids including apigenin and luteolin; and minerals including zinc and potassium.

Overview: Plantain leaf, Plantago lanceolata (known as Ribwort Plantain), and P. major, has a long history of traditional use as a medicine, dating back to ancient Roman and Greek times. Some of the traditional uses of plantain leaf include as an astringent, demulcent, and diuretic. Plantain leaf has many medicinal virtues and is listed in the German Commission E Monographs for treating catarrh of the respiratory passages and inflammation of the mouth and throat. The Commission E also recommends plantain leaf externally for treating skin inflammation and folk medicine recommends the leaf juice for treating blisters, sores, ulcers, insect stings and bites, earaches, eye ailments, and to reduce the heat and pain of inflammation. Traditionally, plantain is most often used internally to suppress coughs and soothe mucous membrane inflammation associated with bronchitis, colds, and upper respiratory congestion.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Respiratory and urinary systems; antibacterial; anti-inflammatory; expectorant; topically for minor skin afflictions; astringent; oral health.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, Pp. 307-310.

Ferrazzano GF, et al. Determination of the in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial activity on salivary Streptococci and Lactobacilli and chemical characterisation of the phenolic content of a Plantago lanceolata infusion. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:286817.

Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.