(Greater or Common Plantain)

Other names: Soldier’s herb, Broadleaf Plantain, Broad-leaved Plantain, Cart Track Plant, Dooryard Plantain, Greater Plantago, Healing Blade, Hen Plant, Lambs Foot, Roadweed, Roundleaf Plantain, Waybread, Wayside Plantain, White Man’s Foo 

Scientific name: Plantago major, Plantago lanceolata, Alisma plantago-aquatica (water plantain)

Common names:

Ayurvedic names: Asvagola

Chinese names: Ch’e-ch’ien

Bangladesh names: Kach Kela

Arabic names:    لسان الحمل (lissanu lhamal)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Plantaginaceae  (Arrowhead family)

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Leaf, Entire Herb

Collection: April to november

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: upto 30 inch

Actions: Alterative, antisyhpilitic, Expectorant, demulcent, astrigent, diuretic, emollient,hemostatic,  styptic, vulnerary

Known Constituents: Glycosides including aucubin, mucilage, chlorogenic acid, ursolic acvid, silicic acid  beta carotene (A) and calcium. It also provides ascorbic acid (C) 

Constituents Explained:


Plantago major:

A common weed.

Native to Europe and Central Asia, much of the world considers it a weed.  The leaves are 15-30cm in diameter. The leaf is an oval shape. The plant needs sun and moist soil.

Traditional Use:

A herb originally used by the Native Americans.  They were known to use it for stomach problems, for the heart, heartburn, cramps and constipation.

 Used to strengthen mucous membranes and enhance tissue repair, Plantain is used to soothe and promote healing in the respiratory and digestive tracts.  

Used for the bowels, and to ease mucous.

The plantago plant has two varities: narrow and wild leaf.  

Externally it has been used as a poultice.  It got the name “soldier’s herb” for its external use as a dressing. It was used because of its ability to stop bleeding in wounds quickly.  The taste is very bitter and is sometimes compared to the taste of spinach. It has sometimes been used as a replacement for comfrey. A douche has been made to prevent uterine bleeding.

The leaves of the fresh plant are sometimes wrapped around insect bites.  Internally, It has also been used for thrush, parasites, sore eyes, edema, lung, stomach ulcers, skin problems, ringworms, hemmoroids and for general convalesnce.

Clinical Studies:

Plantago major, according to literature data, has expectorant, antiphlogistic, pain-relieving effect. The experimental studies confirmed a spastic effect upon the smooth musculature of bronchi as well. 

Twenty five patients with chronic bronchitis were examined, with or without spastic character, with light and moderately severe deviations in ventilation indices. The treatment period was 25-30 days.

A rapid effect on subjective complaints and objective findings was obtained in 80 per cent. Some indices of external respiration were favourably affected.

The preparation is with a good tolerance, with no toxic effect on gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys, hemopoiesis.


Matev M, Angelova I, Koichev A, Leseva M, Stefanov G. “Clinical Trial Of A Plantago Major Preparation In The Treatment Of Chronic Bronchitis.”



Herb Name: Plantain

Other names: 



Greater Plantain, 


Round-leaved plantain, 

Englishman’s foot, 


Ripple grass

Latin name: Plantago major

Family: Musaceae

Common part used:  

Seeds, Leaves or aerial parts

When we talk about plantain, normally the image of a banana plantation conjures up in our mind. But the common plantain is a small wild plant with leaves that grow mostly from the plant’s bottom. It is found growing naturally in the lawns, gardens, backyards and along the roads throughout America. The plantain is a tough and perennial plant and similar to the dandelion (a weed with brilliant yellow flowers on unfilled stems bearing fluffy white seed heads) need to be pulled out along with the roots once it is securely set up in the yard. The leaves of the common plantain are generally ovate or egg-shaped and are found complete or jagged. The leaves are distinguished by their chunky and conduit footstalk. The flower stems of the common plantain grow up to a height of seven to twenty inches and are inclined with long and slim barbs of greenish-white flowers. The flowers’ colors are, however, eclipsed by the brown colored sepals and bracts.

Among its many qualities, the common plantain is popular as a healer of wounds and injuries as well as a remedy for most poisons. In addition, the herb is known as a ‘body purifier’ and cleans the system of heat, congestion as well as all toxic elements. In addition, the common plantation is effectual in treating ailments such as fevers, infections and skin diseases. The herb’s mucilage or the gum like sap released by the plant offers comfort in case of physical disorders, particularly in the respiratory, digestive and the urinary systems. In addition, the herb is useful in safeguarding the mucous coatings from inflammation and, at the same time, calms down muscle contractions in conditions such as asthma and colic or stomach aches. The herb is also useful in comforting cough impulse, alleviating ruthless, and panicky coughs. Tannins present in the common plantain are astringent (a substance that brings tissues closer) in nature and this explains the herb’s conventional use for tuberculosis, hemorrhage in the stomach and bowels, blood vomiting, diarrhea and colitis or inflammation of the colon. The herb is also used to cure excessive menstrual bleeding.

The common plantain normally discourages the discharge of mucous, especially in the respiratory system. This property of the herb is useful in treating colds, catarrh or running nose, bronchial congestion and allergic conditions like hay fever (irritation caused by allergy to pollens) as well as asthma. The expectorant (forcing the coughing up of thick mucous) action of the herb helps to clear the cough from the chest, while it can also be used to treat congestion of mucous in the middle of the ear, glue ear and infections of the ear. The anti-bacterial action of the common plantain adds to its fame as a remedy for respiratory disorders like colds, sore throats, tonsillitis and all types of contagions of the chest. The common plantain is also useful in clearing stomach and bowel infections as well as urinary infections, cystitis, prostatis as well as urethritis or infection of the urethra. Simultaneously, the herb also helps in alleviating the pains and exasperation owing to colic. In addition, the common plantain is known to be an effectual medication for prostatic swellings.

Medicinal Uses: The common plantain has multiple medicinal uses and is highly valued by most herbal practitioners. In case on any injury, the herb is able to instantly check the flow of blood and also restore the smashed tissues. According to many herbal practitioners, the common plantain may be used as a substitute of comfrey to effectively treat bruises and broken bones. 

Ointments or lotions prepared with the common plantain leaves may be used to cure hemorrhoids, fistulae or anomalous channels in the skin as well as ulcers. When used internally, the herb acts as a diuretic increasing the outflow of urine, expectorant (a medication to treat coughs) as well as decongestant (a medicine that clears blocked nose). Herbal practitioners recommend the common plantain to treat conditions such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome, congestion of the respiratory tract, loss of voice as well as bleeding in the urinary tract.