Plantago lanceolata/major Common name: Lance shaped plantain
Parts used: Leaves
Constituents: Mucilage, carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, saccharoses), Acids (chlorogenic, benzoic, caffeic, coumaric, fumaric, salicylic, asocorbic), iridoid glycosides (acubin, catalpol), tannins, flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, scutellarin, baicalein), alkaloid, gum, resins, choline, allantoin, saponins, steroids, nutrients (minerals: Zn, K+, Mg, P)
Medicinal actions: Anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, lymphatic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-allergic, anti-histamine, anti-catarrhal, expectorant, demulcent, alterative, anti-hemorrhagic, vasoconstrictor, antacid, diuretic, emollient, vulnerary, connective tissue tonic
Medicinal use: P. lanceolata shares its medicinal effects with its close relative, Plantago major. However, P. lanceolata seems to exert more of its effects internally, while P. major is a good plant for external use.
P. major leaves have been used as a wound healing remedy for centuries in almost all parts of the world and in the treatment of a number of diseases apart from wound healing. These include diseases related to the skin, respiratory organs, digestive organs, reproduction, the circulation, against cancer, for pain relief and against infections. Externally, Plantago major is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipruritic, and vulnerary. The macerated leaves or fresh juice of the plant are excellent, quick healing agents for cuts, wounds, bruises and ear ache (infection).
P. Lanceolata is a gentle soothing expectorant most indicated in irritated coughs and mild bronchitis. It may be more beneficial long-term. It exerts astringent and alterative properties internally, especially in chronic inflammatory conditions of the mucosa, glandular tissues, or septicemias. .
- Chlorogenic acid is anti-inflammatory and vulnerary.
- Iridoid glycoside aucubin is antibiotic, anti-bacterial, mild laxative, hepatoprotector, and promotes uric acid excretion.
- Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory.
- Allantoin promotes cell proliferation and is anti-inflammatory.
- Potassium, aluminum, and manganese, along with fifteen different types of bioflavonoids, are believed to cause the diuretic action.
- The liquid extract and the pressed juice of fresh plantain herb possess proven bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects due to the tannin content.
- The polysaccharides protect against pneumococcal infection in mice when administered systemically prechallenge. The protective effect is from stimulation of the innate and not the adaptive immune system.
- The mucilage from the leaves has a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the lower respiratory tract. The exact mechanism is not clear.
Pharmacy: Capsules: 400mg, TID. Tincture (1:1, 25%), 2-4 ml TID. Infusion: 2 tsp/cup, TID. Fresh juice, 5-15 ml TID. Salve or compress applied as needed.
Toxicity: None reported. High doses can be laxative.
Contraindications: None reported.
Interactions: None reported.
Hetalnd, Protective effect of Plantago major L. Pectin polysaccharide against systemic Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in mice.Scand J Immunol. 2000 Oct;52(4):348-55.
Mills S, Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, 2000.