Greater plantain

Plantago major

Greater plantain
© E.Schütte

Also known as broadleaf plantain or white man’s foot.

The story…

Greater plantain is native to Europe, and has been brought to the Americas during colonization. It grows in all kinds of environments, such as meadows, but also urban meadows, sidewalk cracks or train platforms. Its name derives from Latin planta, foot sole, referring either to its form, or to the fact that it resists to stamping and tends to grow in stamped places.


Skin issues

Plantain inhibits reactions to insect, spider and nettle bites and stings when applied as a cataplasm on the red or sore area; it can also be used to clean a wound, for example when there is earth or dirt in inside. Externally applied infusion soothes skin inflammations (acne, etc.).

Mouth, digestive and respiratory mucous membranes

A plantain mouthwash eases mouth inflammations (aphtha, dental abscess, painful caries, gum inflammations). Infusion helps to heal inflammations and irritations of the digestive, as well as respiratory (pharynx, larynx, trachea) mucous membrane, and vocal cords weariness.


Infusion: approximately 30g/L, several cups a day.

Cataplasm: chew on fresh leaves to make a paste, without swallowing the juice. Renew when the cataplasm begins to dry. For an open wound, you can add yarrow to stop the bleeding.


People allergic to insect stings should immediately contact a hospital. In case of persistent symptoms or if you have any doubts, consult a doctor. 

Greater plantain
© Rasbak