Category: Medicines - plant based
Introduction and description
Plantago major (broadleaf plantain or greater plantain) is a species of plantago, family Plantaginaceae. The plant is native to most of Europe and northern and central Asia, but has widely naturalised elsewhere in the world.
Plantago major is according to Wikipedia "one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to wounds, stings, and sores in order to facilitate healing and prevent infection."
Broadleaf plantain is also described as a "highly nutritious wild edible", that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten.
So, let us now look at these claims in more detail. Using Dr Duke's phytochemical database and his analysis of the plant, we find the following.
If we look at Dr Duke’s analysis of the chemicals in plantain and their activities we find that it contains a very large number that are antibacterial. The list includes APIGENIN, ASCORBIC-ACID, AUCUBIN , BAICALEIN, BENZOIC-ACID 33-1,250 ppm, CAFFEIC-ACID, CHLOROGENIC-ACID, CINNAMIC-ACID, CITRIC-ACID, FERULIC-ACID, GENTISIC-ACID, LUTEOLIN MIC=500 ug/ml, OLEANOLIC-ACID, MIC=625-1,250 ug/ml , P-COUMARIC-ACID, P-HYDROXY-BENZOIC-ACID, SALICYLIC-ACID, TANNIN, URSOLIC-ACID, and VANILLIC-ACID 1.5-15 mg/ml .
It is through this antibacterial activity that many of the other activities are likely to be mediated, especially activities like antiarthritic, antirheumatism and antidiabetic activity. It has very significant anti-tumour activity, for example, again mediated by its antibacterial/antiviral and detoxification ability. Over 25 chemicals in plantain are ‘cancer-preventive’. Its antiulcer activity is also mediated by this antibacterial ability. There are also a great number of chemicals that are natural antiseptics for the same reason.
Plantain is exceptionally rich in both minerals and vitamins, and this too will help mediate its activity in other areas. If we take the fact it is an antidepressant, then this is achieved via ASCORBIC-ACID 2,000 mg/day [vitamin C], CAFFEIC-ACID , CALCIUM , MAGNESIUM , POTASSIUM and SELENIUM 200 ug/day nearly all vitamins and minerals.
It has antidiabetic activity as mentioned above and the antibacterial action helps to prevent damage to the pancreas, but the extra vitamins and minerals may also help to repair damage, thus we find antidiabetic activity from ASCORBIC-ACID , CHLOROGENIC-ACID, CHOLINE, CHROMIUM 200-1,000 ug, FIBER, MAGNESIUM 400-800 mg/man/day, MANGANESE 3-5 mg/day, NIACIN, SORBITOL (Insulin-Sparing) 30 g/man/day, URSOLIC-ACID and ZINC 30 mg/day. In this list we find essential amino acids – repair chemicals.
Plantain also has very useful antiviral activity. It has chemicals which act against Herpes - APIGENIN 20-54 ug/ml , ASCORBIC-ACID 1-5 g/day, CAFFEIC-ACID 50 ug/ml, CHLOROGENIC-ACID, FERULIC-ACID, LUTEOLIN 11-23 ug/ml; and a very significant number that act against HIV – APIGENIN, C72=200 ug/ml , BAICALEIN , BAICALIN , CAFFEIC-ACID EC50=200 ug/ml , CHLOROGENIC-ACID, LUTEOLIN , OLEANOLIC-ACID IC50=21.8 ug/ml , SELENIUM , TANNIN , URSOLIC-ACID EC50=2.0 ug/ml, ZINC . BAICALIN is an HIV-RT inhibitor
If we take a broad view of the entire anti-viral ability of Plantain, all the following chemicals are anti-vrals – ADENINE, APIGENIN 20-54 ug/ml , ASCORBIC-ACID 1-5 g/day, BAICALEIN , CAFFEIC-ACID IC50=62.5 ug/ml , CHLOROGENIC-ACID, FERULIC-ACID, GENTISIC-ACID, LUTEOLIN 11-23 ug/ml, OLEANOLIC-ACID EC50=1.7 ug/ml , TANNIN , URSOLIC-ACID IC85=18 ug/ml
Anti-inflammatory and pain relief
It is a significant anti-inflammatory agent via chemicals such as ALLANTOIN , APIGENIN , ASCORBIC-ACID, ASPERULOSIDE, AUCUBIN IC50=12-72 uM, BAICALEIN IC28=20 mg/kg scu rat , BAICALIN IC37=10 mg/kg scu rat, CAFFEIC-ACID , CHLOROGENIC-ACID , CINNAMIC-ACID , FERULIC-ACID , GENTISIC-ACID , LINOLEIC-ACID IC50=31 uM , LUTEOLIN , MAGNESIUM 100 mg 4 x/day, NEO-CHLOROGENIC-ACID , OLEANOLIC-ACID 40 mg/kg ipr , OLEIC-ACID IC50=21 uM , SALICYLIC-ACID , URSOLIC-ACID 1/3 indomethacin and VANILLIC-ACID .
Furthermore it has significant pain relieving activity [antiradicular] via ALLANTOIN , ASCORBIC-ACID, BETA-CAROTENE, CAFFEIC-ACID 10 uM, CHLOROGENIC-ACID 10 uM, FERULIC-ACID EC50=9-15 ug/ml, HISPIDULIN , P-HYDROXY-BENZOIC-ACID , SELENIUM 100-200 (-400) ug/man/day , SYRINGIC-ACID EC50=5.5-8 ug/ml , TANNIN 500 mg/kg/day orl mus , VANILLIC-ACID 7 x quercetin
APIGENIN 30-100 mg/kg , BAICALIN , CAFFEIC-ACID 500 mg , NIACIN , and OLEANOLIC-ACID all act as natural sedatives.
Antidotes, Chelating of toxins and heavy metal
There are a significant number of chemicals that help with ‘detoxification’, as antidotes to toxins and heavy metals, which, given the number of illnesses and diseases they cause is also exceptionally important. Some of the most dangerous heavy metals such as lead , cadmium, mercury and aluminium can be chelated.
But the chelation activity is not just for metals. Aucubin, for example has been found to protect against liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride or alpha-amanitin. And the Vitamin C helps against Paraquat.
A number of chemicals help with heart problems. It can thin the blood and help the heart itself. Furthermore 17 chemicals help with oedema, being natural diuretics - ADENINE , APIGENIN, ASCORBIC-ACID 700 mg/man/orl , AUCUBIN , BAICALEIN , BAICALIN , CAFFEIC-ACID , CALCIUM , CATALPOL , CHLOROGENIC-ACID , FIBER , LUTEOLIN , MAGNESIUM , OLEANOLIC-ACID , POTASSIUM , SORBITOL , URSOLIC-ACID .
Similarly there are a number of chemicals to help with hypertension, all the following chemicals are hypotensive [lower blood pressure]. APIGENIN , ASCORBIC-ACID 1,000 mg/man/day , ASPERULOSIDE , BAICALIN , CALCIUM 1 g/day , CHOLINE , CHROMIUM 200-1,000 ug , FIBER 10 g/man/day/orl , MAGNESIUM 260-500 mg/day , OLEANOLIC-ACID , POTASSIUM , URSOLIC-ACID and ZINC 30 mg/day
Ten chemicals are natural vasodilators - ADENINE , APIGENIN , ASCORBIC-ACID , BAICALIN , CALCIUM, FIBER , LUTEOLIN , MAGNESIUM , NIACIN , POTASSIUM
Plantain is a fungicide. It can help with candidiasis, for example, but has general fungicidal activity via BAICALEIN , BENZOIC-ACID MFC=1,600 ug/ml , CAFFEIC-ACID MIC=0.4 mg/ml , CHLOROGENIC-ACID , CINNAMIC-ACID , FERULIC-ACID , P-COUMARIC-ACID , SALICYLIC-ACID MIC 1,000 ug/ml , SELENIUM , and VANILLIC-ACID
Immune system boosters
Despite the ridiculous stance that appears to be taken by the medical profession that says the way to get rid of symptoms is to suppress the immune system, the only way to actually heal yourself and get rid of the pathogen CAUSING the illness, the dis-ease, is by helping the immune system. And plantain has a number of chemicals to help with this - ALLANTOIN , ASCORBIC-ACID , BETA-CAROTENE 180 mg/man/day/orl , CAFFEIC-ACID , CHLOROGENIC-ACID , FERULIC-ACID , PHOSPHORUS , SELENIUM 100-200 (-400) ug/man/day , SYRINGIN and ZINC
One warning note. Be careful just how much plantain you eat, as it is a natural laxative. This may well be a Godsend for people with IBS suffering with constipation, but for those who are having no problems, you may need to be sensible with the quantity you eat. The chemicals that help here are ASPERULOSIDE , AUCUBIN , CALCIUM 1,000-1,200 mg , CINNAMIC-ACID , FIBER , MAGNESIUM 300-500 mg/day , SORBITOL 5-15 g/man/day, VANILLIC-ACID
Plantain is very nutritious, but it is also bitter and heavily veined.
The baby leaves can be used as they are in salads, but once the season wears on, the leaves will need to be cooked. It is possible to replace basil during the winter months when it is not available, or in countries where basil will not grow but plantain does, with Baby plantain leaves. A ‘highly unauthorized’ combination of mozzarella cheese and chopped plantain leaves – only young leaves here as they are sprinkled on raw – can be added to a pizza.
I am indebted to the website of Pascal Baudar for details of how to cook plantain properly so that you can eat it. Pascal experiments with wild food and how to preserve it and use it. His website is a mine of useful information. He boiled it, testing often, and found a sweet spot: the exact time it takes to boil out of the bitterness, but still leave the leaf intact. The result: 3 minutes for young leaves and 5 for old ones, so 4 minutes works for a mixed batch. This makes a tender cooked green with an almost seaweed-like texture.
Once the 3 minutes or 5 minutes are up, the leaves should be slightly transparent but still intact. If they have started to separate then you have boiled them too much. Plunge them in ice cold water and you can then use them like seaweed. They go very well with cockles and various other fishy dishes. The "algae" characteristics makes it perfect for creating Asian-style dishes. For example by adding a sauce of
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy
- 1 garlic clove
- 1tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
You can serve this with sashimi for example.
- Anti-Inflammatory Property of Plantago major Leaf Extract Reduces the Inflammatory Reaction in Experimental Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury 021157
- Antileukemic activity of selected natural products in Taiwan 017695
- Antiviral activity of Plantago major extracts and related compounds in vitro 021161
- Clinical trial of a Plantago major preparation in the treatment of chronic bronchitis 021159
- Dr Duke's list of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Plantago asiatica L. (Plantaginaceae) -- Asian Plantain 021155
- Dr Duke's list of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Plantago major L. (Plantaginaceae) -- Common Plantain 021154
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing SALICYLIC ACID 020467
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticancer (colon) activity 018455
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticancer (forestomach) activity 018458
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with AntiEBV activity 018295
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antigranulocytopenic activity 018418
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiretroviral activity 018318
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Metal chelating ability from FERULIC ACID - PART 2 018254
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Metal-chelator activity 018064
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Purgative Activity 018469
- Dr. Duke's List of Plants with Ethnobotanical activity against Impetigo 026149
- In vitro cytotoxic, antiviral and immunomodulatory effects of Plantago major and Plantago asiatica 021156
- In Vitro Effects of Plantago Major Extract, Aucubin, and Baicalein on Candida Albicans Biofilm Formation, Metabolic Activity, and Cell Surface Hydrophobicity 021160
- Investigation of influence of tungsten mine wastes on the elemental composition of some alpine and subalpine plants on Mount Uludağ, Bursa, Turkey 027759
- Plantain tea - The Healing power of herbs – Ceres Esplan 019573
- Promotion of wound healing by Plantago major L. leaf extracts - ex-vivo experiments confirm experiences from traditional medicine 021158