Common Plantain Leaf

Health Benefits
Animal studies have suggested that Plantago lanceolata extract may aid in wound healing potentially due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, and anti-ulcerative properties. It may also act as a pain reliever (analgesic agent), as well as exhibit immunomodulatory properties (relating to the immune system).

How It Works
The most important components of Plantago lanceolata leaves are bioactive compounds such as catalpol, aucubin, and acteoside. These compounds possess different pharmacological effects: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antineoplastic, and hepatoprotective.

Plantago Lanceolata
In a study published in the journal Biotech and Histochemistry, researchers examined 72 wounded mice and applied an ointment that contained a specific percentage of Plantago lanceolata extract (PLE)—this was compared to ointment containing vaseline.

They found that different concentrations of PLE exhibited positive effects on wound healing. Specifically, the application of 10 percent PLE ointment may be a useful strategy for wound healing, but more research is needed.

Plantago Major
In addition, researchers examined two of the most commonly used plants found in the Balkans, which are Plantago lanceolata and Plantago major (P. major). When examining their use, researchers found that the traditional use of plants in wound healing is confirmed.

Previous studies have indicated a variety of pharmacological effects of P. major such as anticancer, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory. In one study, researches tested this theory by extracting parts of the plant and testing it against different types of cancer cells.

It was found that amongst the parts of the plantain plant, the seeds exhibited the greatest antiproliferative activity, meaning that they inhibited cell growth on tumor cells the best. The roots exhibited comparable antiproliferative and cytokines-inhibition activities to those of leaves and petioles. (Cytokines are a number of substances secreted by certain cells of the immune system that have an effect on other cells.)

In this study, the roots inhibited the inflammatory cytokines comparatively to the leaves and petioles.

Researchers concluded that the seeds of the plant exhibit the most anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a study conducted in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing, researchers tested the efficacy of using Plantago major extract (PME) in the treatment of mucositis (a common oral side effect present in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation).

They concluded that compared to double sodium bicarbonate solution, the healing time took longer, but the differences were not significant.

Some manufacturers claim that these two types of plantain aid in "cleansing and detoxifying" the body as well as promoting respiratory health. Note, there is no research to date to justify these claims and that this is not a statement approved by the FDA.

Psyllium, which is derived from the seeds of Plantago ovato, is used as a dietary supplement and is usually found in the form of husk, granules, capsules, or powder. You can also see psyllium as an added ingredient in cereals and baked goods. Psyllium husk is the main active ingredient in Metamucil, a fiber supplement often used to reduce constipation.

Studies have found that psyllium, which is rich in fiber, helps to bulk stools while also increasing the amount of water in the stool.

Psyllium a good remedy for constipation as it makes the stool easier to pass.

In addition, studies suggest that fiber supplementation such as psyllium may help to reduce after-meal blood sugar—psyllium is a rich fiber source that increases the amount of time it takes to metabolize carbohydrates, thus slowing down how quickly blood sugars rise.

Lastly, studies suggest that increasing fiber in your diet such as psyllium can help to reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Psyllium is able to bind to fat and bile acids, which promotes the excretion of these substances from your body.

A study examining adolescent males found that dietary supplementation with 6 grams per day of psyllium over six weeks improves fat distribution and lipid profile (parameters of the metabolic syndrome).

Medicinal, Herbal Care For You:
The common plantain has multiple medicinal uses and is highly valued by most herbal practitioners. In the case of any injury, the herb is able to instantly check the flow of blood and also restore the smashed tissues. According to many herbal practitioners, the common plantain may be used as a substitute for comfrey to effectively treat bruises and broken bones. Ointments or lotions prepared with the common plantain leaves may be used to cure hemorrhoids, fistulae or anomalous channels in the skin as well as ulcers. When used internally, the herb acts as a diuretic increasing the outflow of urine, expectorant (a medication to treat coughs) as well as a decongestant (a medicine that clears blocked nose). Herbal practitioners recommend the common plantain to treat conditions such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome, congestion of the respiratory tract, loss of voice as well as bleeding in the urinary tract.