Plantain: The Medicinal Plant for All (okay, many) Needs

Plantain (plantago major-broadleaf and plantago lanceolata- narrow leaf) is a common weed found in pretty much every lawn you can find all over the USA. It is called "the people's plant" because it can be found basically wherever there is civilization.


Amazingly, plantain has many healing properties, both topically and internally. It can be made into everything from tinctures to oils, vinegars, to salves, lotions and tea. Plantain is a good source of fiber, and contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.



Here are just a few of its amazing qualities:

Plantain tea for coughs and sinus problems

With natural demulcent properties, plantain can help relieve discomfort by creating a protective film over mucous membranes and reduce irritation. It is helpful for both dry coughs and wet coughs.


Plantain tea for digestion and urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Plantain tea has long been used to treat diarrhea, constipation, indigestions, heartburn, and even irritable bowel syndrome.


Plantain for immune system health

Plantain contains vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can help support the immune system and prevent/fight off seasonal illnesses.


Eye and bone health

Since plantain is rich in calcium, it is beneficial for bone and teeth health, as well as improve eye health due to its vitamin A content.


Plantain juice to relieve stomach ulcers

Plantago ovata is the source of psyllium, the common ingredient in Metamucil. It is a rich source of fiber as well as anti-inflammatory, which can be one of the healing modalities of ulcers.


Plantain salve for healing cuts, varicose veins, rashes, bug bites, eczema, and psoriasis

Plantain has anti-inflammatory properties and is also antibacterial. This is why it can help prevent infection in wounds when applied topically either through a salve (beeswax, oil, and plantain), or a poultice (such as spit or water and crushed plantain leaves). For this reason, it is also used to treat oral infections.


Other uses:

  • Plantain body spray to relieve sunburn

  • Plantain tincture for allergies and hay fever


 

Plantain Tincture Recipe- Rural Sprout

See references for the complete recipe.

In short:

“Step 1

Harvest fresh plantain flowers (broadleaf and/or ribwort).

Using what grows locally is one of our first rules of foraging, and in this case it is useful to know that they have very similar properties and can be used interchangeably, as well as by combining their powers.

Step 2

Rip the plantain leaves by hand, or grind them in a mortar and pestle (wet or dry), and add them to a sterilized jar.

Step 3

Pour in the vodka (grain or potato-based) or brandy (fruit-based) in a 2:1 ratio (2 parts alcohol, 1 part fresh plantain).

The need to be exact does not apply, use your intuition and wise judgement, as plant properties will vary from specimen to specimen and season to season.

Step 4

Label the jar and seal with a tight-fitting lid. Leave it to sit for 4-6 weeks in a dark place.

The adult dosage of plantain tincture is 1 ml, not more than 3 times a day.

When in doubt, ask an herbalist “How much should I take…?” and you’ll find differing answers. You’ll find more thoughts on dosage here.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to label the jar!

At some point, all of your herbal tinctures will look similar, yet they all have very different properties and uses.

In our natural medicine cabinet we also have shepherd’s purse tincture. Not for the lungs, but for times of regulating bleeding and dealing with hemorrhoids.

And there is yarrow tincture for improving circulation and toning varicose veins.

Better be safe than sorry – label your jars properly in order to avoid any medical mishaps.”


Plantain Tea- The Diet MD

Step 1

Harvest plantain leaves that are in a clean area (not near roads or chemical fertilizers). Wipe down leaves with a soft cloth. To use fresh leaves, go to step 2. For dried leaves, dry on a clean towel for 2-5 days until completely dried out.

Step 2

To prepare the tea, just put two tablespoons of the herb leaves in a liter of filtered water and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Once this is done, just strain and drink the infusion throughout the day, always without adding sugar.


Plantain Salve- Mommypotamus

This recipe is a little more complicated but still very doable as it contains very few ingredients. Check it out at her website.

Try your own plantain product today! Head outside to an area that is far from roads or where there are few chemical fertilizers used, and harvest your own plantain to make your own tinctures, lotions, and more.

References

Dessinger, H. Plantain Salve Recipe. Retrieved from https://mommypotamus.com/plantain-salve-recipe/. Lauderdale, E. Plantain Tea: what is it for and how to make it. The Diet MD. Retrieved from https://thedietmd.com/plantain-tea/. Magyar, C. How to Make a Plantain Tincture + 8 Ways to Use This Healing Plant. 2020, Feb, 28. Rural Sprout. Retrieved from https://www.ruralsprout.com/plantain-tincture/ Seward, M. 2017, Dec, 21. The Health Benefits of Plantago or Plantain Leaves. Healthy Focus. Retrieved from https://healthyfocus.org/health-benefits-plantago-plantain-leaves/. Stange, P. 2020, Sep 7. 10 Remedies You can Make Using Plantain. The Lost herbs with Nicole Apelian. Retrieved from https://thelostherbs.com/10-remedies-you-can-make-using-plantain/ Tesolin, J. 2021, Feb, 15. What Does Plantain Look Like: How to Identify Two Species of the This Practical Plant. Rustic Wise. Retrieved from https://rusticwise.com/what-does-plantain-look-like/.