"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"

by Margaret L. Ahlborn
This site brought to you by The School of Natural Healing & Christopher Publications
Plantain is an Alterative meaning that it is one of about 100 plants that clean and correct impure conditions of the blood and the eliminative tissues and organs. Dr. John R. Christopher explains that although many herbs might work fast on a given organ to relieve engorgement  to really be an Alterative herb it must do the job slowly but surely, toning the organs as well as cleaning the blood. This herb does that and can be used completely. The roots, leaves, flowers and seeds can be used internally or externally.
Plantain is #1 in the field of blood poisoning treatment. You can see the healing at work. Swelling goes down and the “red” line recedes.  Limbs poisoned can be saved using this herb. It is used as a poultice on the outside and taken as a tea on the inside. Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D. states that plantain is an herb that will “dry excess moisture and remove excess fat where toxins are retained.” (Tierra, p. 13)
Plantain is also a diuretic so is useful for kidney and bladder problems. It is taken throughout the day as a tea to help the kidneys and bladder. It is used in bed-wetting challenges. It also helps dropsy and water retention. Sometimes diuretics should be teamed with a demulcent herb to buffer the effects on the kidneys.  There is no research or recommendations that taking plantain tea requires ones. Actually, plantain itself is a demulcent also.
As a styptic it can be chewed or pounded into a paste and applied to a wound to stop minor bleeding. It is very soothing and cooling as it heals. Taken as a tea or in soup it soothes irritated mucous membranes. It will stop the bleeding of minor cuts and when taken internally, ulcers. Although Mrs. M. Grieve, author of A Modern Herbal, disagrees with that stating that they are not useful in internal bleeding although historically it had been used for such. It will slow the flow in excessive menstrual cycles. It also is used for bloody urine.
This herb is used as a vulnerary to heal wounds, cuts and scratches. Because it is found in high traffic areas around playgrounds, baseball fields and parks it is easy to grab, crush and use. Since it contains epidermal growth factor, it can be used in place of comfrey to repair damaged tissue, treat bruises and broken bones.
Plantain is also used as an antivenomous herb in its role as a blood cleanser.  Terry Willard, author of Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories, states that it is good to draw out the poison of snake bites. It is an excellent choice for poisonous bites and stings of scorpions and insects. It does a good job in easing the pain of poison ivy.  “I don’t know of any itch that can stand up to plantain,” states Susan Weed, director of the Wise Woman Center in Woodstock, New York. (Mandile, p. 27)
Plantain is used to treat many skin disorders. Christopher Hobbs educates us on skin problems. “It is often said that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but what about the human ‘cover’, your skin? Doctors recognize many varieties of problems and diseases of the skin. Although we can visualize the skin (in contrast to, say the liver), it is often difficult to determine whether a problem is due to attack from various fungi and bacteria or to an internal process such as psoriasis or eczema, or from factors within and without such as an allergic reaction to an ingredient in your soap.
“I have come to the conclusion that even when the skin is seemingly attacked by an external pathogenic (disease-causing) agent such as a fungus, this is usually preceded by an internal process of imbalance. For example, ‘liver heat,’ or inflammation due to chronic doses of sapirin, chronic stress, overuse of alcohol, and immune weakness because of improper nutrition can all contribute to a major outbreak of athlete’s foot.” (Hobbs, p. 28) Christopher Hobbs goes on to say that you have to treat the whole patient and locate the root of the problem. He lists topical herbs for skin problems in the following order: plantain, aloe, calendula, Gotu kola, Oregon grape root, St. Johns wort, chamomile and lavender.
Plantain made the top 25 list of 175 herbs checked for most frequently mentioned as an herbal remedy for Toxicodendron dermatitis. This study checked over 300 print and Internet resources. They then took the top 25 and checked for scientific verification. Nine of those were unproved (no scientific studies at all) and one was disproved. Plantain made the proved list with the qualification that further studies are needed. (Senchina, p. 40)
Plantain tea or juice will heal sunburn, burns, mild ulcers and scalds.  James Duke in his book “The Green Pharmacy” explains that plantain has been one of the most popular folk remedies for burns in the United States of America. It doesn’t have the research backing that Aloe vera has for this task but appears to be a good substitute when Aloe is not available.
Plantain does an excellent job as a deobstruent. Removing foreign objects and particles from the body. Teamed up with cayenne the unwanted items work their way out even faster. Plantain’s refrigerant qualities soothe and cool sores and ulcers. It is excellent to ease and heal hemorrhoids as a tea injected after each bowel movement and applied externally.
Although many people consider this herb a weed it is truly a miracle medicinal herb. Even web sites on how to poison weeds toll the virtues of Plantain while telling you how to kill it.
Plantain is used in tuberculosis and syphilis, again both internally and externally. Rosemary Gladstar states that “This herb is also very effective for treating liver sluggishness and inflammation of the digestive tract.” (Gladstar  p.357)  It is also used for scrofula and specific or non-specific glandular diseases as well as mercurial poisoning.
Plantain roots are powdered to use on toothaches. No powder? Just dig and chew a root for relief.  Plantain is an anthelminitic or vermicide and taken as a tea it will kill worms internally in the stomach and the intestines. Plantain is an antiseptic used to clean cuts and wounds. It heals boils and other sores
Plantain decoction is used as an antifungal on ringworm. Apply the decoction then cover with bruised leaves. Wrap with cotton gauze to keep the decoction in place. It has also been used to help with loss of voice.
It is also a safe and effective astringent, antibacterial soother for the throat and for laryngitis. It is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.  This herb is approved by Commission E for its role in coughs and bronchitis as well as the fore mentioned problems. For colds and flu taking the tea throughout the day assists the body in its fight.
Plantain soothes the cough reflex. It is used for asthma, lung infections, and hay fever relief. It is effective for hoarseness, and bronchial infections. It is also used for respiratory problems that involve mucous congestion.  This herb depresses the secretion of mucous, especially in the respiratory system.
Russian scientists have discovered that Plantain and its cousin psyllium are both useful for weight loss. Those taking 3 grams of plantain with water 30 minutes before eating lost more weight than women not using this herb. Plantain contains mucilage which acts as an appetite suppressant while reducing the intestinal absorption of fat and bile.  It also lowers LDL cholesterol and the triglyceride levels in blood. Plantain usually lowers blood sugar.
A douche is used to treat infections of the vagina or for cleansing. They should not be used often because it will upset the balance of the natural bacteria that are in the vagina. Repeated infections mean that you need to look at diet and lowered resistance in the body, repair that and the infections will clear up. But for use until that clicks in a strong plantain tea can be used. It can be mixed with goldenseal, uva ursi, comfrey, white oak bark or yellow dock.
When plantain tea is taken internally it is effective for gastritis, diarrhea, dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal problems. Plantain tea is also used for an eye wash for red, irritated or light sensitive eyes. One or two teaspoons of the seeds soaked in two cups of distilled water will offer a milk laxative effect like it’s cousin, psyllium.
Karta Khalsa uses plantain in his 7-day cleansing plan to detox the body in the treatment of chronic, degenerative diseases. Karta mentions that cleansing is not a magic bullet, after cleansing you need to address the root problem. Don’t be fanatical with a cleanse you can scour yourself raw!  He likes fresh plantain juice for its demulcent and cooling attributes.
Plantain is also listed as a way to quit the tobacco habit. It is supposed to help you stop smoking by creating an aversion to tobacco. Instead of lighting up, chew a plantain leaf! It is worth a try, at least you will get a fresher breath. Chewing a plantain leaf before that kiss or important meeting is recommended.
Plantain is definitely an all around herb. Not only can you find it everywhere but it is used in a wide variety of treatments. It soothes the skin and when used in a facial steam will help with acne. It is wonderful in herbal baths to help with any itchy places. It works well as a massage oil and a hair rinse. The leaves put inside your socks on the soles of your feet help protect against sore feet and prevent blisters.
“The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable” lists plantain as an important plant for farmers to be familiar with. For goats, sheep and poultry it is a forage plant (seeds and leaves) but its main function is medicinal. Farmers can use this soothing mucilage herb internally and externally on all farm animals. It is used to treat the very same problems that it is used for with humans. Cows and horses do not usually take it on their own but it can be used internally and externally with them.
[Table of Contents] [History] [Location] [Chemical Constituents] [Medicinal Qualities]
[Contra-Indications] [Known Herbal Formulas] [Dosages & Applications] [Personal Experience] [Bibliography]