Herb Profile: Plantain

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Plantain-Backyard Healing Herb
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Herb Profile: Plantain

Plantain is a useful herb that is often considered a weed by most people.

It is native to Europe and parts of Asia, but was said to have been introduced to North America when the settlers came from Europe. It’s scientific name is Plantago Major, and it likely grows in your yard.

The leaves are actually edible and somewhat similar to spinach, though slightly more bitter. They can be used in salads or other culinary uses.

We dry and freeze the leaf from our yard and I also order it in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Herbal Uses

The leaves can also be made into a tea or tincture, and this is said to help with indigestion, heartburn and ulcers when taking internally.

Externally, Plantain has been used for insect and snake bites, and as a remedy for rashes and cuts. I use it in making my Homemade Healing Salve, which we use as a natural antibiotic ointment on cuts and bruises.

Its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it great for speeding recover of wounds, and for itching or pain associated with skin problems. A tea made from the leaf leaf can be sprayed on mosquito bites to ease the itch.

From Mountain Rose Herbs:

Plantain has been used as a panacea in some Native American cultures and with some very good reasons. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. The leaves, shredded or chewed, are a traditional treatment for insect and animal bites and the antibacterial action helps prevent infection and the anti-inflammatory helps to relieve pain, burning, and itching. There is some investigation ongoing to study its affects on lowering blood sugar.

When we are bitten by mosquitos, stung by bees, or come in contact with spiders or other insects, I use a salve containing plantain leaf (or just chew the leaves and apply to the bite) to help ease the reaction. I also used a this salve and and a poultice of the leaves when my son was bitten by a brown recluse and continued this daily for about 2 weeks and his skin never decayed at the bite.

A tea, tincture or salve made with plantain also greatly eases the itch of poison ivy, oak, or sumac and I keep it on hand for this reason.

A tea or infusion of the leaf  can be poured into the ear for ear infections (as long as the ear drum has not burst) to ease the pain and shorten duration of ear infections.

There is unconfirmed information that a strong tea of this herb, taken internally, can help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and that a strong infusion can improve blood sugar. While taking plantain in these situations would generally be considered safe, one should still check with an attending physician before doing so.

I also make a lotion with plantain, calendula and coconut oil and it is extremely helpful for any skin irritation, including mosquito bites, eczema, psoriasis, chicken pox, rashes and sores.

Where to Find

Most people are able to find this common herb in their own yards. If you live in an area where your yard is sprayed with chemicals or fertilizer, organic dried leaves can also be ordered online. If you prefer pre-made remedies, there are: plantain leaf first aid ointment for kids, plantain tincture, and plantain and goldenseal pre-made salve (natural Neosporin). If you can’t find Plantain in your area, you can actually order the seeds to plant Plantain (though your neighbors might think you are crazy!)

Plantain Precautions

Plantain is good for injuries because of its coagulating properties, but those with blood disorders or prone to blood clots should not use Plantain internally. If harvesting it yourself, make sure to get from an area that has not been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides and make sure that you have correctly identified the plant before consuming.

Ever used plantain or another herb that grows in your back yard? Tell me about it below!

Plantain is a healing herb that probably grows in your backyard! It is helpful for cuts, stings, burns, bruises, infections and more!


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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


126 responses to “Herb Profile: Plantain”

  1. Melanie Avatar

    Do you have a recipe for the lotion mentioned above which contains calendula and coconut oil? I have some plantain oil, comfrey oil, and calendula oil with which I am interested in experimenting. I have a bunch of salve, looking to do something different. Thanks!

  2. JodyC Avatar

    My source for using plantain for respiratory issues comes from the book, 20,000 Secrets of Tea by Victoria Zak. A great resource. I’ve used plantain tea for my husband and myself with great results.

  3. Bea Avatar

    I have used sunflower leaves in much the same external ways. Mashed up with a little water and applied to my son’s hobo spider bite. It healed much faster than without it and draws the infection out.

  4. Chanelle Avatar

    Hello. Ive been using plantain in smoothies and soups..but id love to make the lotion with calendula oil etc.. can you share the recipe ? My daughter gets eczma and id love to use it for her skin.. and also maybe as pain relief for back pain etc.. thanks! What a fantastic herb! ?

  5. Lisa Avatar

    Can you give us step by step instructions to make the lotion made of calendula and plantain? I’d like to make some for my hubby with versicolor tinea.

  6. Icus Avatar

    Insects, mice, deer, wolves did not follow evacuation orders, they have lived there the whole time, but how long do they live? Animals and insects do not worry about cancer and radiation poisoning. Some people refused to leave and have suffered the consequences. Some insects, animals and even humans can withstand more than others as well. In the event of a large enough disaster, cockroaches would most likely inherit humans place as top species. They are nearly impervious to radiation that would kill a human within moments. The half life of the Chernobyl contamination, mainly plutonium is 10,000 years so, 20,000 years until humans would not be at risk for elevated radiation levels. Our entire civilization, and quite possibly humans altogether will most likely be extinct in 20,000 years. 2 or 3 more degrees of average global temperature increase will be enough to kill off many/most of our food supply plants, melt the ice caps, kill off ocean species and end life as we know it.

  7. Icus Avatar

    No, the half life of Plutonium is 10,000 years. So, 20,000 years at the least.

  8. Meredith Avatar

    I’ve used these leaves for YEARS on scrapes and cuts to help them heal. My mother used them on my sister and me when we were little, but she always called them “Rabbit Leaves.” I never realized until recently that they are from the plantain family and that where were so many other uses for them! If only Western Medicine would take a bit of a clue from nature and not always turn to manufactured pills or injections as solutions to simple medical problems. We’d save money, have more sustainable/medicinal planting/farming, more exercise and fresh air (because I think these things really do need to be harvested by hand), and be more healthy and happy in general. 🙂 So glad I discovered your blog!

  9. MJ Avatar

    Is it possible to get the ‘recipe’ for the lotion (plantain, calendula, coconut oil) that helps with eczema. My mom has been to numerous doctors/specialists but has an extreme case of eczema/itching?

  10. Benjamin Avatar

    i’m learning some biology on wild plants and i have found that dandelions are very useful and calendulas look very to me for some reason but ya’ll should study dandelions they are extremely useful.

  11. masenate Avatar

    I have plantain in my backyard, I am surprised to realize that it so good. I nearly destroyed it when I clean my yard. Thank you so much

  12. Marna Paron Avatar
    Marna Paron

    My grandmother used plantain to bring blood poisoning out of my leg when I was a child! She mashed the leaves and put them on my heal where I had stepped on a rusted nail several days earlier. There was a red streak up the back of my leg to past my knee. The plantain pulled the blood poisoning out of my leg, the red streak disappeared and the wound healed completely! This happened so fast that I never forgot this amazing lesson from my grandmother, and I still use it today! I’m alive due to this amazing plant and my grandmother’s knowledge of wild herbs.

  13. Maggie Avatar

    I have the narrow leaf variety of plantain in my back yard. Does anyone know for sure if this variety can also be used when making the healing salve?

  14. bob Avatar

    I’m so excited finding this sight! I have many medical problems and always would like to try natural first especially since I’m already on so many meds. Over 40 different medications per month! My problems are complicated due to hiv .

    1. Linda Avatar

      Bob, there is a “cure” for HIV (not plantain). This stuff is not really easy to get anymore because the FDA is full-bore against it (no money to be made by Big-Pharma). But you can still find a couple of internet sites where you can buy it. It is really, really nasty to the taste, but I have finally discovered a way to mask that. It is called MMS (for Miracle Mineral Solution). It has been around for a number of years and you can find plenty of testimonial information on the internet. I have never needed an antibiotic since I found this stuff. It is incredibly powerful and works very fast. Google “Jim Humble” (he discovered it) and that will lead you to both the protocol for HIV, as well as lots of anecdotal information from people who have used it. You only need a tiny amount at any time–just a few drops. It has to be “activated” with citric acid. You can use any citric acid solution, lemon juice, lime juice, etc. Never use orange juice (ascorbic acid), as that neutralizes it instead of activating it. Once you mix the MMS with citric acid, it starts to smell just like bleach. It’s not bleach. It is chlorine dioxide (different chemistry than household bleach). If you mix the activated MMS with a very high quality coconut juice, it won’t taste awful (I add a tiny scoop of stevia extract, just for good measure). Be very careful not to use any juice with ascorbic acid (common preservative), as that neutralizes the effect. You will find people who have conquered HIV this way. You will always have the antibodies in your system and will likely always test positive for HIV because of that, but you will be disease free. Good luck.

  15. Demtra Avatar

    I come from Cyprus. I am sure this herp is used for tea in order to get rid of stones. When I suffered from stones on the kidneys my family sent me some of this herp to use as tea. Very expensive aparently and you can buy it in shops.


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