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Plantain is native to Europe and was brought over by European Colonists to North America in the early 1700s. It is now widely distributed in temperate, moist locales, along roadsides, in fields and pastures, and is commonly found in lawns and gardens. This plant was prominent in the early Anglo-Saxon period where it was highly regarded. Plantain is mentioned in King’s American Dispensatory.

Plantain has long been known as an “herbal drawing agent”.


In modern times, plantain has been used to support healthy levels of inflammation both internally as an extract and externally, as a topical agent. Topically, the leaves, or extracts of the leaves are often used to sooth irritated skin. Its ability to support inflammatory pathways in the body often directly impacts the epithelial tissues, such as in the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems.

Because plantain naturally contains mucilage, and has moist cooling properties, it has an inherent ability to support mucous membrane health by soothing occasional irritation.

Uses of Plantain


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Plantain contains a variety of glycosides, and flavonoids including baicalin, baicalein, scutellarin apigenin, apigenin-7-glucoside, plantagoside, luteolin, asperuloside, syringin hispidulin, nepetin, plantagonine), iridoids (catalpol, aucubin and acubin derivatives, plantarenaloside), and terpenoids. Plantain also contains small amounts of the sulfur-containing glucoraphenine and sulforaphene. Other constituents include plant acids such as caffeic, chlorogenic, cinnamic, ferulic, fumaric, coumaric, plantagic, planteolic, salicylic, ursolic, and vanillic acid. It also contains allantoin, mucilage, sterols, tannins, and potassium salts.

Parts Used

  • Leaf

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Fleer H, Verspohl EJ. Phytomedicine. 2007 Jun;14(6):409-15.

Vigo E, et al. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2005 Mar;57(3):383-91.

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