The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Plantago lanceolata L.
  • Plantago major L.
  • Plantaginaceae
  • Plantain family

Common Names

  • Lance-leaf plantain
  • Buckhorn
  • Ch’e-ch’ien (Chinese name)
  • Chimney-sweeps
  • Common plantain
  • English plantain
  • Englishman’s foot
  • Headsman
  • Rib-grass
  • Ribwort
  • Ripplegrass
  • Round-leaved plantain
  • Snake plantain
  • Snake weed
  • Soldier’s herb
  • Waybread
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    Parts Usually Used

    The plant, fresh or dried
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Lance-leaf plantain is a perennial plant; the erect, long-stalked, lanceolate, well-defined veined leaves, each up to 8 inches long, grow from the rootstock on margined petioles in a basal rosette.  Several grooved flower stalks may grow from 6-30 inches high, tipped by a short spike of tiny white flowers whose brownish sepals and bracts give the spike its predominantly dark color.  Flowering time is from April to November.  Fruiting spike has many small, hard fruits.

    Other varieties: Common plantain (P. major), pale indian plantain (Cacalia atriplicifolia), and gray ribwort (P. media).
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    Where Found

    A very common weed inhabits bear trodden ground in waste places, backyards, along tracks, meadows, roadsides, agricultural lands, and dooryards in the eastern and Pacific coastal states of the United States, and in Canada and Europe.  Native of Europe.  Grows practically all over the United States.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Alterative, antiseptic, antisyphilitic, astringent, demulcent, deobstruent, diuretic, expectorant, hemostatic, styptic, vulnerary
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    Biochemical Information

    Mucilage and a heteroside, aucuboside that hyrolizes into aucubine and sugar
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Tradition maintains that English plantain springs up wherever English people set foot, no matter what the climate.
    The botanical name is derived from the word “planta,” a foot, and “ago” a wort (meaning plant) in allusion to the shape of the broad leaves as they lay on the ground.

    There are 2 kinds of plantain, narrow and wide leaf.  Both are good and the whole plant is used in either case.
    The Smoky Valley Shoshones made a tea from the whole plant and used as poultices for battle wounds and bruises.

    Old timers used to kill spiders with plantain tea sprinkled on their webs and around the rooms.
    An 18th century physician wrote: “in his own experience, he has found that fresh plantain leaves, placed upon the feet, will ease the pain and fatigue engendered by long walks.”

    In China, the common plantain (P. major) is a pest.  The seeds were eaten, with a sweetish, cooling taste.
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    Useful remedy for cough irritations and hoarseness and for gastritis and enteritis.  Good for all respiratory problems, bronchitis, asthma, especially those involving mucous congestion.  Used for diarrhea, nosebleed, kidney and bladder trouble, jaundice, headache, infections, hepatitis, spermatorrhea, loss of sexual power, promotes fertility, bedwetting, sciatica, tuberculosis, syphilis, snakebites, worms, toothache, dropsy, prevent blood poisoning, excessive menses, and inflamed eyes.  A decoction of the dried leaves promotes the coagulation of  blood.  The fresh juice, pressed from the whole plant, is helpful for chronic catarrhal problems, hay fever, allergic rhinitis, gastro-intestinal ailments, and worms.  Externally, the fresh leaves are crushed for application to erysipelas, eczema, burns, ringworms, tetters, shingles, scalds, wounds, running sores, ulcers, cuts, scratches, boils, tumors, insect bites even hemorrhoids.  Widely used as a laxative, and combats inflammation.

    If stung by insects, immediately rub some crushed English plantain leaves into the area around the sites of the stings, this will prevent swelling and itching.  English plantain grows everywhere and is easily spotted.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. leaves in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes.  Take 1 cup a day.
    Decoction: boil 2 oz. dried leaves in 1/2 qt. water.  Helps coagulate blood.
    Juice: take 1 tbsp. in water or milk or mixed with 1 tbsp. honey, 3 times a day.
    Ointment: for hemorrhoids, boil 2 oz. of the plant in 1 pint soybean or peanut oil.
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    Nutrient Content

    Considerable quantity of potassium (lack of potassium in the body can cause a weak heart, dropsy, enlarged glands such as the prostate, upset stomach, or swollen testicles)
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    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

    Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

    Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

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