Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Health Library Home>Natural & Alternative Treatments>Herbs & Supplements>Article



Plantain is a plant with fruit that is like the banana. The leaves have been used to ease digestion and cough. Plantain has also been used to lower cholesterol and to improve kidney function. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Plantain can also be applied to the skin as a salve. It has been used to ease swelling in skin problems, such as eczema and poison ivy. Plantain leaves can also be made into a tea.


10 to 15 grams once daily

What Research Shows

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Cardiovascular disease prevention A1
  • Constipation B1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use plantain on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

A1. Solà R, Godàs G, et al. Effects of soluble fiber (Plantago ovata husk) on plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins in men with ischemic heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):1157-1163.

B. Constipation

B1. Guo LK, Zhang CX, et al. [Acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine Plantain and Senna Granule in treatment of functional constipation: a randomized, controlled trial]. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2011;9(11):1206-1214.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 4/24/2020