Plantago lanceolata, P. major

The common plantain grows throughout the US – very probably in your garden. In most places, it is seen as a noxious, invasive weed. It is, however, a useful little plant.

Plantain is very high in vitamins A and C and in calcium.

Plantain as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

Plantain as an herbPlantains’ most common uses are in cases of diarrhea, hemorroids and intesetinal colic.

Externally, plantain is used to clear mucous from the body, relieve the pain of bee stings and insect bites, stop the itching of poison ivy and other allergic rashes, promote healing in bruises and sores, and to neutralize poisons.

Not too long ago, plaintain began to be marketed as a stop smoking aid.

There is some investigation ongoing to study its affects on lowering blood sugar.

As a mild tea it is used to treat lung problems in children, and as a stronger tea is used to treat stomach ulcers.

Plantain is also used for diarrhea and bladder infections.

The tea is used as a mouthwash to help heal and prevent sores in the mouth, and as an expectorant.

Externally, the tea has been used to soothe shingles, inflamed eyes and as a salve to support natural healing of minor skin abrasions.

For mouth infections in children, 1 ounce of the seeds has been boiled in 1-1/2 pints water and sweetened with honey to make a palatable syrup.


  • Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon fresh or dried leaves in 1/2 cup water; take 1 to 1-1/2 cups per day, a mouthful at a time. OR:
  • 1 ounce of leaves in 1 pint boiling water; take 1 cup 3 to 4 times a day for more serious ailments.
  • Decoction: Boil 1 ounce dried leaves in 1/2 quart water.

Culinary Uses of Plaintain

The leaves are edible, often used raw in salads and cooked as greens.

Seeds can be harvested, winnowed, soaked and cooked like rice or ground into meal to make pancakes and flatbreads.

Plantain Pancakes: 2 cups of ground, dried seeds combined with 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons oil, and 1 cup milk; mix together, cook on griddle.

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