Plantain (Plantago major)

Traditional Indications

Plantain is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimicrobial, astringent, antiviral expectorant, demulcent, diuretic and vulnerary. Plantain has valuable healing properties. It acts as a gentle expectorant whilst also soothing inflamed and sore membranes, making it ideal for coughs and mild bronchitis. It is traditionally indicated in a wide range of ailments including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine plantain is known and Che Qian Zi and enters the Bladder, Kidney, Lung and Liver channels to drains Damp and promotes urination, regulates Water and clears Heat, clears the eyes, clears Lung Heat, dissolves Phlegm and stops cough. (2)


Baicalein and aucubin are the two most biologically active components of Planatgo major, and both have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. (3)

Plantain extracts demonstrate anti-proliferative activity and inhibit TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IFN-γ production. (4)

Elevated expression of IL-6 has been detected in multiple epithelial tumours. (5)

Plantain is anti-inflammatory. A study concluded Plantago major extracts attenuate the inflammatory reaction following acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver injury. (6)

A study revealed that Plantago major compares with the anti-asthmatic drug theophylline and has a protective effect on lung in asthmatic rats. (7)


1. PFAF. Plantago major. 2019.
2. Healing WRIo. Plantain (Che Qian Zi) [Available from:
3. Reina E, Al-Shibani N, Allam E, Gregson KS, Kowolik M, Windsor LJ. The Effects of Plantago major on the Activation of the Neutrophil Respiratory Burst. J Tradit Complement Med. 2013;3(4):268-72.
4. Kartini, Piyaviriyakul S, Thongpraditchote S, Siripong P, Vallisuta O. Effects of Plantago major Extracts and Its Chemical Compounds on Proliferation of Cancer Cells and Cytokines Production of Lipopolysaccharide-activated THP-1 Macrophages. Pharmacognosy magazine. 2017;13(51):393-9.
5. Schafer ZT, Brugge JS. IL-6 involvement in epithelial cancers. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2007;117(12):3660-3.
6. Hussan F, Mansor AS, Hassan SN, Tengku Nor Effendy Kamaruddin TNT, Budin SB, Othman F. Anti-Inflammatory Property of Plantago major Leaf Extract Reduces the Inflammatory Reaction in Experimental Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2015;2015:347861-.
7. Farokhi F, Khaneshi F. Histophatologic changes of lung in asthmatic male rats treated with hydro-alcoholic extract of Plantago major and theophylline. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine. 2013;3(2):143-51.


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