Commercially important properties of plants of the genus Plantago

Elżbieta Weryszko-Chmielewska, Anna Matysik-Woźniak, Aneta Sulborska, Robert Rejdak


The centuries-old experience of folk medicine, nutritional traditions, and the results of numerous research studies show that plants of the genus Plantago can be used for medicinal, cosmetic, dietetic, and ritual purposes. In the phytochemical composition of Plantago, there is an abundance of biologically active substances (among others, glycosides, flavonoids, polysaccharides, and vitamins) exhibiting beneficial effects and, simultaneously, there is a low content of compounds that may exert a toxic effect. Scientific research has confirmed that Plantago plants have antioxidative, apoptosis-inhibiting, protective, healing-enhancing, spasmolytic, anthelmintic, and antimicrobial properties; they inhibit the development of some tumours, reduce the level of lipids in blood and inhibit tissue glycation. In phytotherapy, leaves, stems, and/or seeds of different plantain species are used. Plantago leaves and seeds are also used to manufacture creams, lotions, and face masks. Different parts of these plants (fresh plant material, extracts, or isolated substances) are also used in human and animal nutrition. Plantain leaves can be eaten like lettuce or added to salads, fried in pastry, used to prepare a tea, juice, or wine. Its seeds are added to cakes, bread, breakfast cereals, ice cream, and drinks, or they are cooked like groats. Animals fed with plantain can live longer and are healthier, while meat derived from such animals is tastier and healthier to humans. Plantago seeds are readily eaten by cage birds. Plantain pollen, produced in large amounts (up to 20,000 pollen grains per 1 stamen of P. lancolata), can cause allergies in sensitive people. Due to a long flowering period of plants of the genus Plantago, the effect of the allergenic factor persists for many weeks. In Poland days with the maximum concentration of airborne plantain pollen most often occur in July.


Plantago; medicinal uses; cosmetics; edible plants; animal feed; allergenic pollen

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Polish Botanical Society