What is Plantago Major and What Are Its Benefits?

What is Plantago Major and What Are Its Benefits?

Plantago major is a type of flowering plant commonly found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. For hundreds of years, people have recognized its medicinal value and have used it to help people, heal from wounds more quickly, relieve irritation, and even help with some digestive issues.

But what exactly is Plantago major and how do we know that these benefits are real instead of just placebo effects? Let’s dive deep into this weed and look at the science. We’ll also examine how we use it in many of our best topical salves!

Plantago Major or Plantain Weed – What Is It?

Despite the plant’s similarity to plantain fruit (a certain species of banana), the two aren’t related at all. 

Plantain, which can also be called broadleaf plantain or Plantago major, is a plant native to Europe and a few locations in Asia. The plant normally flowers between April to November, and it’s so abundant (as a relatively invasive weed) that you can find it in your garden in many cases, even without planting it yourself.

You can pretty easily identify it thanks to its green flowers and oval-shaped leaves. The best part, those leaves are completely edible and can be eaten either raw or cooked.

Plenty of people eat the leaves of Plantago major because of they are a big source of various key minerals and vitamins including: 

  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Because of this, many people use Plantago major as part of salves or balms, including Green Goo

Health Benefits of Plantago Major

There are plenty of studies that demonstrate Plantago major’s numerous health benefits and medicinal uses. Here are just a few of them!

Provides Soothing Effects

Perhaps the most common of these benefits is the plant’s soothing properties. While low levels of irritation are usually part of a healthy bodily response to certain injuries, extended irritation anywhere in the body can cause some serious damage, and using Plantago major in creams and salves can help offset these effects.

That's partially because the leaves have soothing compounds like tannins, glycosides, and flavonoids. 

These soothing benefits can easily be seen since we use Plantago major in Green Goo’s Cold Sore Salve

This effective herbal blend contains both healing herbs like Plantago major and other, powerful botanical oils. Combined, the formula can relieve much of the tingling, itching, and blistering that commonly comes with cold sores across the body. Over time, the soothing benefits can also help calm irritated skin caused by a cold sore.

Some of the other ingredients include:

Protects Skin

The most famous effect of Plantago major is its ability to bolster wound healing. This is partially because of its aforementioned soothing properties. 

Take this study, in which 40 people used aloe vera and Plantago major gel in an attempt to help promote healing in their foot ulcers. The results were promising.

This wound-healing boost can also be combined with other all-natural ingredients. This is why Green Goo’s Tattoo Care Salve uses Plantago major, alongside other natural ingredients, to help soothe the irritation that people usually experience immediately after getting inked.

This particular herbal infusion includes ingredients like:

  • Calendula flower oil
  • Myrrh 
  • Sage leaf
  • Olive fruit oil
  • Beeswax
  • Sunflower seed oil
  • Chickweed 

All told, our Tattoo Salve can help soothe the pain and swelling that come immediately after getting a tattoo. At the same time, the salve provides a protective layer that allows your skin to heal properly. The salve even moisturizes and nourishes your skin over time.

All this wouldn’t be possible without Plantago major. 

Want another example? Try Green Goo’s Hand Goo, an all-natural salve that combines Plantago major with plenty of other moisturizing and soothing ingredients like:

  • Olive fruit oil
  • Chickweed 
  • Yarrow
  • Calendula flower oil
  • Rosemary leaf oil

All in all, our Hand Goo soothes, nourishes, and moisturizes your hands while protecting the skin, helping it heal, and relieving pain! It's great for hard working hands of all types.

Digestive Boosts

Plantago major doesn’t stop there. There’s some evidence to suggest that compounds in the leaves and seeds can alleviate some types of digestive discomforts. That’s because the seeds contain something called psyllium, which is a soluble fiber often used in natural or plant-based laxatives, because it can absorb water while it moves through your digestive tract.

A scientific review found that Plantago major leaves can slow the movement of your digestive tract – as a result, this may help provide temporary relief for issues like diarrhea, along with promoting regular bowel movements.

How Do Its Wound-Healing Benefits Work? 

The exact scientific reasons for why Plantago major has so many healthful benefits, and why it can specifically help support your body’s natural wound healing process, are still being discerned. However, scientists do know about many of the compounds inside this plant’s leaves.

There are several bioactive compounds in these leaves like acetonide, catalpol, and aucubin. Each of these are antioxidants, soothing agents, and hepatoprotectives.

In short: while the specifics may not be fully understood, it is clear from a scientific standpoint that Plantago major’s leaves and seeds have proven compounds that can boost your bodily health and help support your body’s healing efforts for minor wounds!

Are There Side Effects from Using Plantago Major?

All of this is great, but it’s important to understand any potential side effects you might encounter from consuming or using this plant.

The majority of healthy adults are able to eat the Plantago major plant’s leaves in either raw or cooked form. But as with many other natural health-boosting plants and compounds, eating too many of the leaves or seeds could lead to mild digestive symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin reactions
  • Bloating

In some rare cases, a high dosage might trigger more severe side effects, including the possibility of anaphylaxis, which is a type of serious allergic reaction. Because of this possibility, you should speak to your doctor before consuming or using Plantago major in its raw form. 

In most salves or creams, it’s not in a high enough concentration to be threatening.

The fiber supplements from the Plantago major seeds, like psyllium, can cause digestive issues instead of helping things along from time to time.

Ultimately, it’s always a good idea to start slowly and only use a little bit of Plantago major at a time if you don’t know how your body will react. 

Other Ways You Can Use Plantago Major

In addition to enjoying Plantago major in many of our salves or balms, you can also harvest the leaves or seeds yourself and consume them in different ways. As mentioned before, this is a plant that you can actually pick yourself and eat right out of the ground, much like you’d pick a tomato off a vine or a fruit off a tree! So get to harvesting, because there are a couple ways you can take advantage of Plantago major’s benefits outside of a salve. 


You can make tea from the leaves if you crush them and add hot water. For teas, be sure to not exceed about 5 ounces per cup and don’t drink more than between 3 and 4 cups daily.

Fresh Leaves Added to Dishes

As mentioned, since you can eat the leaves either raw or cooked, you can add them to dishes as decorations or ingredients. Just be sure that you rinse the leaves off before you eat them – your body doesn’t need to consume all that dirt!

Older leaves are usually tougher than newer ones, so try boiling or cooking older leaves and using them in stir fries, soups, or stews.

You can even make so-called plantain-leaf crisps – pick them, mix them properly, bake, then enjoy them as an alternative to typical chips when you get the urge to snack.

No matter how you eat the leaves, just be sure that you never harvest Plantago major leaves that have been exposed to pesticides. The last thing you want to do is consume pesticides in any amount. Only harvest raw, organic leaves if you plan to eat them.


Plantago major is one of the most versatile and helpful plants you can commonly find in your own backyard. Whether you harvest them yourself to turn into a baked crispy treat, or if you take advantage of its benefits via a topical salve, this plant has a lot to benefits to offer. We use it in many of our own products because we’ve seen its potency in action--not only does it soothe, nourish, and protect your skin, it also proves rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to serve as a nutrient powerhouse. 

If you spot it in your garden, send us a pic--we'd love to see it! If you find any good tea or stir fry recipes, make sure to share them in the comments so that we can try them out for ourselves! If you're interested in other ways we utilize this amazing plant, you can also find Plantago major in our first aid salves, our Foot Care Salve, and our all-natural Poison Ivy Salve






Google Pay Mastercard PayPal Shop Pay SOFORT Visa