Plantain Herb

A Native American Back Yard Herb

Common Name:

broad-leaved plantain



Latin Binomial:

Plantago major (broad leaf)

Related Species:

ribwort plantain (P. lanceolata)

Short Description:

Perennial; height about 6-18 inches high; leaves expand from a basal rosette

herbaceous plant

Personal Experience

One of my favorite herbs:

Parts Used:

fresh or dried leaves and roots, and seeds


Iridoids (aucubin, catalpol)

flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, scutellarin, baicalein, nepetin, hispidulin, plantagoside)


Indications/ Benefits:

soothing gentle expectorant good for coughs and mild bronchitis; helpful for diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and cystitis with bleeding; one of the primary healing herbs used for many topical issues

  • Externally: bee stings, scrapes, skin irritations, insect and snake bits, rashes, cuts, poison ivy, oat, sumac (for immediate use for bits, stings, etc. brake off a leaf, chew into pulp, apply to bite)
  • Internally: indigestion, heart burn, ulcers

Cautions/ Interactions/ Side Effects:

no known side effects or drug interactions have been reported at the time of this posting

Dose/ Preparations:

  • tincture: 2-3 ml three times a day (1:5 in 40%)
  • infusion: 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsps dried herb for 10 mins; three times per day
  • dried herb: 3-6 g daily

How to Grow:

    • sow seeds shallowly in spring or fall
    • considered a noxious weed to many
    • zones 2-9 in full sun to part shade
    • pH 5.0-8.0
    • can be easily transplanted
    • harvest roots in spring of fall before they grow new shoots
    • wash and dehydrate at low temperature

Harvesting: The tender young leaves of plantain may be eaten in salads or cooked like spinach. Leaves can be used fresh or dried for medicinal purposes. The dried seeds can be grinned into a flour for baking.

Misc. Info:

plantain is usually free from pests and diseases

when wild-crafting, avoid plants by roadways and other highly polluted areas and any from dog parks 🙂

Footnotes/ Resources:

Michalak, Patricia S. Rodales’s Successful Organic Gardening Herbs.  Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1993. Print.

Chevallier FNIMH, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000. Print.

Hoffmann FNIMH, David. Medical Herbalism The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Print.

Michalak, Patricia S. Rodale’s Successful Organic Gardening Herbs. Rodale Press, 1993. Print

White, Linda B. The Herbal Drugstore. Rodale Inc, 2000. Print

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