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Research seeds: Plantain

In this article, we discuss the paper “Clinical and phytochemical studies of Plantago major in pressure ulcer treatment: A randomized controlled trial

Plantain (Plantago Major)
Plantain (Plantago Major)

Plant name and species

Plantain (Plantago major)

Aim of study

The aims of this study were to investigate if a topical formulation made with P.major helped with stage 1 pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers are areas of damaged skin underneath tissue that develop when circulation is cut off due to sustained pressure.

Study method

The study was a randomized triple blind clinical trial that was performed on 130 patients over 14 days. One group were given treatment with plantain, and the other group was not.

Herbal preparation: The aerial parts of the plant were gathered in Kurdistan and verified by a botanist. Then a hydro-alcoholic extract (ethanol/water 70/30) was made, and then used to make a cream using 1% phenytoin. The formulation was standardized based on the amount of quercetin present.

Sample size: 130 patients

Results of study

In the group of 56 patients who did not receive plantain, 41 patients recovered, 13 remained at stage 1 and 2 patients progressed to stage 2. In the group of 56 patients who did receive the plantain treatment, 54 achieved complete remission, 1 patient progressed to stage 3 ulcer and 1 remained at stage 1.  At the end of the study the group with plantain showed 96% improvement, and the other group showed 73% and healing happened faster in the group who used the plantain cream.


Pressure ulcers are a major problem in health care centres around the world as people who suffer immobility often have them. They have undesirable consequences such as increased osteomyelitis (inflammation in the bone or bone marrow), sepsis and reduced independence amongst other issues. 

No side effects were found with the plantain formulation. This study shows that plantain extracts are a safe and effective way to treat pressure ulcers, which aligns with its traditional use to treat wounds.


Clinical evidence shows that plantain formulated with 1% phenytoin cream has a synergistic effect whereby phenytoin’s efficacy is improved and able to help the patients more, with no side effects.

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