Llantén (Plantain)

Written by: Katarina Subotich, graduate of NSBM

Common name: Plantain (engl.), Llantén (spanish).

Botanical name: Plantago major

Family: Plantagenacea.

Llantén, known on English as plantain, is one of the most widely spread medicinal plants. It is native to Europe, but naturalized throughout the world.  It is usually found on sidewalks, along trails, in gardens and lawns. It prefers sunny spots, but will grow in partial shade, and often in poor soil.

This is perennial plant, which means it dies to the ground each winter and sprouts from taproot in midsummer.  The oval and ribbed leaves can be 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. Its young leaves can be eaten in salads and mature plant is very fibrous, so it is better consumed in the form of tea.

Medicinally, plantain is expectorant, demulcent,  diuretic, astringent. It has ability to smooth inflamed and sore mucous membranes, thus being valuable remedy for coughs and mild bronchitis. It may be used as mouth wash to treat soars and toothaches. Its astringency aids in diarrhea, hemorrhoids and cystitis.

It may also be used externally as salve in cases of blisters, rash, insect bites and burns.  Fresh leaf can be chewed and placed on bee sting.

Products that contain plantain (llantén): Llantén extract, Neem salve, Anamú soap.