Plantain (Plantago lanceolata, narrow leafed; P. major, broad leafed)

Family: Plantaginaceae

Parts commonly used: Aerial.

Properties/energetics: Diuretic, expectorant, demulcent, alterative, astringent, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary/Cool; mildly bitter.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, urinary, respiratory, skin.

Uses: Plantain is mildly demulcent and astringent. It has a soothing and toning action on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. It allays inflammation and irritation in both of these systems in a similar way to its well-known effects on bites and abrasions of the skin. Its mild vasoconstrictor action helps reduce bleeding in either of these two systems. Plantain’s diuretic, astringent, and alterative actions have a strengthening effect on the genitourinary tract, alleviating kidney and bladder infections. It is a gentle expectorant for soothing inflamed and painful membranes caused by bronchitis and coughing. Plantain’s astringent action is used for treatment of diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, gastric ulcers, and cystitis where there is bleeding. Applied as a poultice, Plantain has a specific action on detoxifying poisonous bites and insect stings. Within minutes after application, it stops the pain of bites from spiders and snakes, as well as bee stings and other insect wounds. Left in place for a couple days, it will draw out splinters and heal wounds and burns. It’s also useful for treating blood poisoning, as it reduces swelling and promotes healing of highly septic wounds. Plantain is also an excellent remedy for treating poison oak. All in all, this is a truly reliable field first aid pharmacy immediately available in a common little weed growing just about everywhere.

Affects on specific body types: A useful remedy for Warrior-type or Seer-type problems of the digestive tract. It soothes an inflamed irritated stomach. Fresh plantain juice taken in 1 cup of warm water is an excellent treatment for stomach ulcers. Plantain can be used internally and externally for hemorrhoids and is a useful treatment for chronic diarrhea caused by inflamed, irritated intestinal membranes. In the urinary tract, it has a similar soothing affect and is specific for incontinence associated with tissue irritation.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion: 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: 20 to 40 drops three times a day. 

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition