Plantain leaf is collected from the plant Plantago majorwhich is commonly known as broadleaf plantain is a popular traditional medicinal plant usually recommended to wound healing, skin disease, infection, pain, respiratory complaint, circulatory disorder, digestive disturbance, reproductive issues, and cancer treatment.
Generally, oval-shaped Plantain leaves vary from 15cm to 30 cm broad, with 4cm to 9 cm wide and 5cm to 20 cm long. But in rare cases, The width of Plantain leaves increases up to 17 cm and 30 cm long. In the leaves 5 to 9 prominent veins present on the leaf surface.
Plantain leaf is used in many traditional medicinal systems including Traditional Persian Medicine, Arabic, Greek, European, Chinese, and Indian medicinal system. According to the traditional medicinal history, Plantago major plant is a wild plant and in the ancient age, it found in Iran. However, researchers believed that 4000 years ago this plant exists in Asian, European and American countries. In ]. In Malaysia,Plantain leaf is used as an herbal diuretic, health tonic, cough remedy, diabetes, and urinary stone treatment.
Herbal researchers have proven Plantain leaf has many medicinal properties including antiulcerogenic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating activities and antioxidant, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic activities.
Phytochemicals Present in Plantain leaf
Plantain leaf contains many bioactive phytochemicals including flavonoids, tannins, terpenoids, iridoid glycosides, and pectin. Combination of these phytochemicals exerts multiple medicinal properties like antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
Mechanism of Action of Plantain leaf
- Aucubin is a bioactive phytochemicals present in plantain leaves can increase the uric acid excretion from the kidneys, which may have a beneficial property to treat gout.
- Plantain leaf binds to the EGF receptor and block the kinase activity and thus suppress the neoplastic cell transformation. This mechanism of action involves in chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic applications.
- Plantain leaf restricts the formation of free radical generation and provides antioxidant benefit. Flavonoids and phenol present in Plantain leaf help to exert antioxidant property.
- Plantain leaf has broad antimicrobial property, effective against fungal, viral and bacterial infections. The antiviral property of Plantain leaf has evaluated and researchers found that the phenolic compounds, especially caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid are responsible to suppress the multiplication of the disease-causing virus. Polysaccharides present in Plantain leaf has an antibacterial effect.
- Plantain leaf plays a dual role in the immunity system. It stimulates lymphocyte proliferation and also increases the secretion of interferon-gamma. Thus it stimulates immune functioning. Whereas, Plantain leaf has a suppressive effect at high concentration and acts as an immunomodulator.
- Plantain leaf has wound healing property by accelerating the cell proliferation of the affected site. Flavonoids and Iridoid glycosides have potent anti-inflammatory property.
Different Dosage Forms
Plantain leaf extract: Oral consumption of this formulation effective to treat upper respiratory tract disorder and inflammatory condition of the pharyngeal mucosa. The recommended oral dose is 7.5 -15 ml for 4 to 5 times per day.
Plantain leaf syrup: 5 ml of this syrup acts as an expectorant. The recommended daily dose is 10 ml twice a day.
Plantain leaf tea: 6.4 to 19.2 g dried leaf powder for 2-5 times daily is effective to treat catarrhs, common cold, adjuvant in pharyngitis.
Plantain leaf external application: This preparation usually recommended to treat skin inflammatory conditions.
Uses of Plantain Leaf
Wound Healing Property
Plantain leaf contains certain bioactive phytochemicals like baicalein, plantaginin, and hispidulin. These flavonoids containing phytochemicals has potent antioxidants property and also acts as free radical scavengers. This property helps to heal the wound.
Ulcer Curative Property
Plantain leaf extract has an acid-lowering effect which helps to prevent ulcer formation in the gastrointestinal tract. A research study conducted to check the anti-ulcer effect of Plantain leaf reported that Plantain leaf extract has an inhibitory effect against ulcer formation. The detail research finding also stated that Plantain leaf extract can inhibit H. pylori. H. pylori. is one of the major causative organism of ulcer formation.
Plantain leaf has a hypoglycemic property, which provides potent anti-diabetic activity. This leaf contains ﬂavonoids, sterols, tannins which act on pancreatic-cells to control the glycemic mechanisms. Animal research showed this herbal remedy maximizes glucose tolerance and lower down the blood glucose level in the diabetic study subjects.
Plantago major is one of the traditional medicinal plants recommended to treat diarrhea due to presence of ﬂavonoids, sterols, and sugars.
Some herbalist recommended Plantain leaf for management of diarrhea. Treatment with Plantain leaf can reduce gastrointestinal motility and higher dose provides a relaxing effect on the gastrointestinal tract. This plant leaf can also reduce the intestinal secretion. Tannins, alkaloids, and flavonoids present in Plantain leaf provide the anti-diarrhoeal effect.
Bacterial and Fungal Infection
Plantain leaf is effective to limit the growth of multiple bacterial strains, including Streptococcus pneumoniae. Thus this herbal preparation can cure pneumonia infection.Apart from this bacterial strain research findings reported that Plantain leaf has an inhibitory effect against on Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. This herbal remedy also controls fungal infections caused by Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis.
Multiple research study conducted to check the efficacy of the Plantain leaf against inflammatory diseases. These studies have proven that Plantain leaf has potent antioxidant property, inhibits prostaglandin synthesis, inhibitory effect on cyclooxygenase pathways and pro-inflammatory cytokines, like interleukin 1α, interleukin 1β, and TNFα, etc. and effective to reduce internal and external inflammation.
Plantain leaf has antinociceptive property and effective to control pain symptoms.
Plantago major leaf has cancer prevention effect. The cytotoxic effect of this herbal remedy has given protection against skin cancer and breast cancer by acting on tumor cell lines.
Effective against fatigue condition
Fatigue is associated with tiredness, and muscle pain may due to vigorous physical activity. Plantago major has an anti-fatigue property and can able to eliminate fatigue condition.
Plantain leaf has anti-epileptic benefit as it acts on the GABA neuro transmitting signaling system and reduces seizure attack.
Urological Health Benefits
Retention of urine may due to obstruction of renal ducts leads to discomfort. Plantain leaf acts as a diuretic due to presence of Iridoid compounds and increases the flow of urine. Urine accumulation in the bladder often causes pain. Plantain leaf helps to control this pain symptom also by inhibiting prostaglandins synthesis and acts as an analgesic.
Plantain leaf has the anti-urolithiatic condition and dissolves the stones. It also effective to control Hematuria (blood in urine) due to the presence of Iridoid phytochemicals.
Abnormally heavy bleeding at menstruation due to Menorrhagia can be treated by Plantain leaf containing herbal vaginal suppositories due to its an estrogen agonist property. This formulation also has a tonus-raising effect on the uterus and reduces uterine pain by relieving congestion.
Side Effects and Precautionary Measures
Research study result does not find any significant side effect associated with a Plantain leaf. However, some users complaint low blood pressure after consuming Plantain containing dosage forms. It also suggested not to take Plantain containing dosage forms during pregnancy and lactation due to lack of safety data. It is also advisable to avoid complication avoid to intake Plantain containing dosage forms along with blood-thinning medications.