Why Knowing How to Use Plantain Is Like Carrying a First Aid Kit Around in Your Pocket

Plantain “weeds” are Nature’s first aid kit for everything from cuts and scrapes to bee stings, snake bites, sunburns and poison ivy.


One of the few “gifts” English colonists brought to Native Americans was plantain, a favorite medicinal herb back in Europe.

After witnessing its power, Native Americans quickly adopted it and still use it today as a panacea or “cure-all” for almost every illness and injury brought on by civilization.

They called it White Man’s Foot, as it was often found growing along well-trodden foot paths.

Like many other plants deemed “weeds” by modern Americans, plantain is loaded with nutrients and is one of the most powerful medicines on Earth.

Luckily, no matter how hard we try to eradicate it, it keeps growing where “civilized” humans need it most, through cracks in city streets and sidewalks and all over suburban yards.

From bee stings, snake bites and sunburns, to bronchitis, arthritis and cancer, this plant is revered among practitioners of folk medicine for its ability to cure just about anything.

General medicinal properties of plantain:

  • Antibacterial – kills bacteria or prevents bacterial growth
  • Antidote – combats toxins
  • Astringent – stops bleeding and contracts tissues
  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation
  • Antiseptic – kills of prevents microbial growth
  • Antitussive – relieves coughing
  • Cardiac – strengthens the heart
  • Demulcent – soothes and protects mucus membranes
  • Diuretic – removes excess water
  • Expectorant – loosens mucus and aids its expulsion
  • Haemostatic – stops bleeding (external)
  • Laxative – relieves constipation
  • Ophthalmic – relieves eye conditions
  • Poultice – draws infection from a wound
  • Refrigerant – cools the body and reduces fever by inducing sweating
  • Vermifuge – kill parasitic worms

Specific Medicinal Uses of Plantain:


First Aid/Topical Wound Healing

Plantain can be used as a poultice to draw toxins out of the body. Just chew or crush plantain leaves to release their juices and apply directly to insect bites, bee stings, snake bites, cuts, blisters, splinters, sunburns, poison ivy outbreaks, acne or rashes.

It can also be made into an antiseptic salve to prevent infection in burns and open wounds. The salve also acts as an insect repellent.


Plantain leaves and seeds aid in digestion. They’ve been reported to have a soothing effect for people who’s gut linings have been damaged by prolonged used of anti-inflammatory, analgesic, or antibiotic drugs and people with Celiac disease and food allergies.

They seeds are used to treatment of both constipation and tea made from the leaves is used to treat diaherrea.

Arthritis and muscle soreness

Loaded with calcium and magnesium, plantain is used in the treatment of arthritis.

It’s also applied topically to swollen joints, sore muscles, sprains, and sore feet.

Congestion, respiratory infection

Plantain’s mucus loosening and cough relieving properties make it great for treating colds. Its anti-inflammatory, cooling and pain relieving properties provide relief for sore throats.

It is also widely used in the treatment of bronchitis and tuberculosis.

Kidney disorders

Plantain’s natural diuretic properties make is useful in all kids of kidney disorders.


The same properties that make plantain an effective wound-healer make it an effective remedy for hemorrhoids. It’s leaves can be made into a salve and applied directly to hemorroids to slow blood flow to the region, reduce inflammation and relieve pain and itching.

Drinking plantain tea and eating the leaves can help provide relief internally.

Blood disease

Plantain is known to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood, as well as balancing blood sugar levels.


Plantain is high in oleanolic acid and ursolic acid, which have long been known to prevent cancer tumor growth.

Instructions on making plantain tea, tinctures and salves can be found here.

For more medicinal uses, check out the section on plantain in American Materia Medica, Therapeutics And Pharmacognosy:

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44 responses to “Why Knowing How to Use Plantain Is Like Carrying a First Aid Kit Around in Your Pocket”

  1. Brenda Avatar

    I had no idea this little weed was so useful. Very interesting and informative. Thank you.

  2. gary major Avatar
    gary major

    so boil the leaves for how long or do you bring to boil and simmer .

    1. Rebecca Avatar

      I have been making this for years. It has treated everything from infected bugs bites to acne in my house. Safe for humans and animals.

  3. Ginger Piersol Avatar
    Ginger Piersol

    I appreciate the information. However, I found 13 mistakes in grammar and spellings, and that makes me suspicious of the claims. If you don’t have a second party to proofread the writing, you should proofread the piece yourself, twice.

    1. M-L Avatar

      What a stupid remark!!It might have been translated, or the person is not a native English speaker. What ARROGANCE !!!! Take me, English is only my 4th language, but that does NOT mean I don’t know what I am talking about. BTW, I have several degrees, don’t know about you , and a PhD in Psychology. What makes you turn into the spelling police and a “grammar Nazi?”

      1. AJ Avatar

        You got issues

      2. Lavinia Reid Avatar

        The fact that Ginger Piersol prefaced her concern with an opening sentence of “I appreciate the information” tells me that she has good intent. It is indeed important to make sure all grammar and spellings are correct in an article that one posts or publishes. It is also important to be able to take constructive criticism. Thank you to the author for the article.

    2. john ansen Avatar
      john ansen

      also the plantain pictured is the North American species not the European species which is what they were talking about.

    3. Kate Avatar

      You just have to shake your head and wonder about some people and what they feel is important in their sad little lives.

    4. Onica Avatar

      no one cares, this is NOt and eNGlish klass, get over you’re self. You are knot here to teach. learn to listen. yoU are not more important then them and it doesnt make you lool smart, it makes you look pompass

      1. Gina Avatar

        (((Laughing))) It is not arrogant or pompous to expect a person making medical claims to the public to hire a proofreader or at the very least to give it a second reading. There are reasons that people do this—it makes authors who don’t do it look as if they are sloppy, which might well translate to the quality of their claims. Any person with an advanced degree has had to write major papers in which this is a factor. It’s fine if folks want to appear uneducated, but to attack someone for pointing out facts that might actually help the author to gain credibility is simply barbarian behavior.

    5. Jenny Avatar

      I imagine you could find other articles with better grammar and same info. People been using this medicine for at least centuries. Oh and how many people have died by the negligence of Phd’s, It’s the 3rd leading cause of death according to NPR….doesnt matter if your t’s are crossed if you’re dead. i heard of something called oral history, I think people just used to talk to each other

    6. Laura Avatar

      get a life. I think your missing the intent

      1. KB Avatar


    7. Coco Avatar


  4. Estlin Avatar

    Is this true that this we weed has so much powers to help us from every day ailments if so how do we go about harvesting it once we remove it from the ground surely we don’t just pull it out and just simply eat it be dying to know I’m sure someone has it by now in powder form and in tablet or am I wrong thankyou

    1. Gardeninggirl Avatar

      Yes, you can just pull it up and eat it in a salad. Drug companies have spent years making sure we all think that for a compound to work in a particular way then it must be commercially extracted and processed in some way. Think how often bottles of herbal pills tell you that they are better because they are “pure.” the thing to check is that the plant is clean and has NOT BEEN SPRAYED with weedkiller. It can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks for a plant to die after it has been sprayed so be very careful when picking any wild food. That weedkiller is a poison.

      For another comment, I have both versions shown in the article growing on a UK allotment as a weed as well as the jagged edged Dogs Tooth Plantain.

  5. Howie Avatar

    GINGER, I c u kned 2 git owt mor, Eye fined it amuzin two bee a gramer naze noin wee r al hueman an wee al kant bee purfekt al tha tim an yet u fond two bee abel two reed wat ey just tiped.

    Get a freakin life, will ya.

    1. Green thumb Avatar
      Green thumb


      1. Mary Avatar

        Thanks Howie

      2. Onica Avatar

        Amen , as iF it makes a difenence!

    2. Travis Avatar

      If this piece of medical literature wants to be respected and shared, it needs to have perfect grammar and spelling.

  6. Kyle Avatar

    Hello, are you familiar with plantago rugelii? That is species native to North America. Without a very close look, it is possible that the photo you posted of plantain in the sidewalk to illustrate your point about white mans foot is in fact the native plant.

    1. Marge S Avatar
      Marge S

      Yes of course it is, the common name for it is plantain, the plant referred to in this article.

  7. jean michel vignot Avatar
    jean michel vignot

    dandelion, nettle and plantain

    1. m Avatar

      very very good

  8. Maury Grimm Avatar
    Maury Grimm

    Can’t even read this article. There is/are several native species of Plantago spp, one of them Plantago rugelli, which grows in my region along the rivers and streams. At an old Fort (Pike’s Stockade) one finds the introduced “White Man’s Foot”. Natives knew of the power of Plantain long before being introduced to its European counterpart. Your source is pretty suspect, too.

  9. Robin Wong Avatar
    Robin Wong

    Is this called “Plantain” or “Plantago”.

  10. Expatmom Avatar

    Where I come from, plantains are bananas…

  11. Dawn Avatar

    love it

  12. Ohidul Avatar

    Never read owt so clueless

  13. m Avatar

    How can I share this on facebook?

  14. Daniel Avatar

    How do you prepare it is it like eaten in salad form or boiled like spinach never heard of this Please respond I’m interested

  15. Liesbeth Avatar

    Let us stop the weed killers! It’s good to know what and which plants can heal! It’s better for the environment the insects plants and allover wellbeing of people!

  16. anne apfel Avatar

    We are programmed to be perfect by society. I have learned to love things that are not perfect. It is a way to enjoy life. Look up my books, each has a few errors but so much information if you allow yourself to have it..

  17. Anja Avatar

    So while reading this, and I’ve heard of it before, I’m left confused about the varieties. Are all plantain good and have the same properties that have healthy benefits? Or is the European variety the only one with these helpful properties?

    1. Greta Avatar

      They are all good.

  18. Cathie Green Avatar
    Cathie Green

    Where can these books be bought ?

  19. Connie B. Avatar
    Connie B.

    We use it for wasp stings
    Works every time. I put some ice on top.

  20. atie Avatar

    thank you so much for this article, I use the tea plantain/llanten for cold and flu symptoms, fever, did not know it works for blood sugar control, since the triple leave sugarbalance is no longer available, except for buying online which i cannot do, thank you thank you

  21. Greta Avatar

    You can eat it…use it in hot water like tea, you can also do a cold water tea….a strong tea is what you want to use for poison ivy, bites or wounds, apply with cotton. Tinctures are often made but do not make this one with alcohol, only water. It won’t work right.

    1. Caroline Avatar

      Anyone have the ratio/measurement for using in tea for digestion, internal use?

  22. beth Avatar

    I have used Plantain Tea with good results..

  23. Kathy Avatar

    For anyone who expressed concern over credibility, you can always read documented evidence-based research. One place it is available is underPubMed.gov
    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

    One abstract shows the following information:
    Search database https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11113999

    Phytother Res. 2000 Dec;14(8):617-22.
    Immunoenhancing properties of Plantago major leaf extract.
    Gomez-Flores R1, Calderon CL, Scheibel LW, Tamez-Guerra P, Rodriguez-Padilla C, Tamez-Guerra R, Weber RJ.
    Author information
    Plantago major (PM), also known as plantain, is a weed found in temperate zones worldwide. PM leaves have been associated with various biological properties ranging from antiinflammatory, antimicrobial and antitumour to wound healing. However, its mechanism of action associated with boosting of the immune function remains to be elucidated. We found that endotoxin-free methanol extracts from PM leaves, at doses of 50, 100, 250, and 500 microg/mL, were associated with 4.4 +/- 1, 6 +/- 1, 12 +/- 0.4, and 18 +/- 0.4-fold increases of nitric oxide (NO) production, and increased TNF-alpha production (621 +/- 31, 721 +/- 36, 727 +/- 36, and 1056 +/- 52 U/mL, respectively) by rat peritoneal macrophages, in the absence of IFN-gamma or LPS. NO and TNF-alpha production by untreated macrophages was negligible. In addition, PM extracts potentiated Con A-induced lymphoproliferation (3- to 12-fold increases) in a dose-dependent fashion, compared with the effect of Con A alone. The regulation of immune parameters induced by plant extracts may be clinically relevant in numerous diseases including chronic viral infections, tuberculosis, AIDS and cancer.

    PMID: 11113999
    [Indexed for MEDLINE]