Water Plantain

Biological Name:

Alisma plantago-aquatica (Water-Plantain)

Natural Habitat:

Water-Plantain is a type of aquatic plant that is native to wetlands, marshes, and other areas with standing water in temperate regions of the world, such as Europe and North America. It is commonly found in shallow water and can grow in a variety of soil types, including sandy or clayey soils.


Water-Plantain is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has long narrow leaves and small white flowers that bloom in the summer. It is often found in wetland areas and is used in traditional medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is water plantain used for?
A: The root and underground stem (rhizome) are used to make medicine. People use Asian water plantain for conditions such as bladder and urinary tract diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Q: Can a pregnant woman drink plantain water?
A: Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Water plantain may be UNSAFE for anyone, including pregnant and breast-feeding women. Do not use it.

Q: What are the benefits of drinking plantain tea?
A: Packed with tannins, aucubin [an iridoid glycoside], and mucilage, the plantain leaf extract is known to have expectorant and anti-irritant properties as well. The leaves can be made into a tea or tincture, and this is said to help with indigestion, heartburn and ulcers when taking internally.

Q: Is plantain good for belly fat?
A: Weight control: Plantains are rich in a type of fiber that helps you feel fuller longer. This may help you control your weight if you’re overweight or obese.

Q: Is plantain water good for hair?
A: Packed with vitamin C, Plantain encourages the regeneration of skin cells on your scalp and improves blood circulation and overall health. Not only that, Plantain is also a rich source of vitamin E, which is well-known as a hair moisturizer, leaving your strands soft and pleasant to the touch.

Q: Does plantain reduce inflammation?
A: The anti-inflammatory properties that plantains have can be attributed to their chemical composition. Plantains are composed of mucilage, iridoid glycosides (particularly aucubin), and tannins. Anti-inflammation is one of the most popular benefits of green plantains.

Q: Why do people boil plantains?
A: The unripe plantains, or green plantain, are usually used in savory dishes. This time the interior is hard and usually needs to be cooked before being consumed. They are hard to peel.

Q: Is water plantain edible?
A: The water plantain (also known as the mud-plantain) is another edible aquatic plant that produces edible tubers, but does not seem to have had much of a place in the Native American diet. However it does have potential to be used as food if prepared correctly.

Q: What are the disadvantages of eating plantain?
A: Risks. Plantains are healthy. But they’re less so when you cook them with a lot of oil, fat, or sugar. High-fat, high-salt, or high-sugar foods can raise your risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

Q: What does plantain leaf cure?
A: Plantain has long been considered by herbalists to be a useful remedy for cough , wounds , inflamed skin or dermatitis, and insect bites. Bruised or crushed leaves have been applied topically to treat insect bites and stings, eczema , and small wounds or cuts.

Q: Does plantain draw out infection?
A: Drawing Remedy for Skin Infections, Bites and Stings For deeply embedded splinters a Plantain poultice can be used and left for up to five days. If the site is infected the poultice will draw out the infection and reduce inflammation while drawing out the embedded splinter.

Q: Can you drink plantain tea?
A: Plantain tea can soothe internal, inflamed intestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel issues and peptic ulcers because of its anti-inflammatory effects and tissue-healing properties. Drink a tea made from 1/2 tsp of dried plantain leaves steeped in a cup of water.

Q: Is plantain good for arthritis?
A: Bananas and Plantains are high in magnesium and potassium that can increase bone density. Magnesium may also alleviate arthritis symptoms.

Q: What are the benefits of plantain peels?
A: Proximate analysis indicated that peels are rich in total dietary fibre (64.33 g/100 g), vitamins (Folic acid- 33.12 mg/100 g) and minerals (Potassium- 35.61 mg/100 g).

Q: Is water plantain invasive?
A: Though water plantains as an overall genus are found worldwide, you should pay close attention to the species. American water plantain, as its name implies, is native to North America and shouldn’t be propagated outside of this region as it may be considered a harmful invasive.

Q: How many months does a plantain bear fruit?
A: Flowering takes 10-15 months of mild temperatures and yet another 4-8 months to fruit. Flowers are produced from the pseudostem and develop into a cluster of hanging fruit.

Q: Is plantain plant poisonous?
A: Not only is this a vital wild edible plant for overall good health, this wild weed can be used to treat chronic diarrhea as well as digestive tract disorders. Broadleaf plantain is packed with nutrients and is safe to ingest.

Q: Are plantain plants toxic to dogs?
A: Plantain is not toxic to dogs. Side effects are rare. If you feed large amounts it could cause diarrhea, skin rash or other allergic reactions.

Q: How do I control plantain in my lawn?
A: Using a flat screwdriver or dandelion digger, loosen the soil around the taproot. Once the root seems free, pull out the entire plant and root. If you can’t get around to weeding, pick off any flower stalks as soon as they appear. This will prevent the plantain from spreading its seed all over your garden.

Q: Are plantains good for the soil?
A: Plantains are heavy feeders, i.e. they easily deplete soil nutrients.

Q: How many times does a plantain tree produce?
A: Each grown up plant would produce a minimum of three suckers, and if he could harvest one sucker from each and could sell at N100, the farmer would make additional N150,000. The harvest cycles continue for a minimum of four to six years, or more, depending on land rejuvenation system and farm maintenance practices.

Q: What are the side effects of eating plantain?
A: Most healthy adults can safely eat plantain weed’s leaves either raw or cooked. However, plantain supplements may cause mild symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and skin reactions.

Q: What are the two types of plantain?
A: Two groups of plantains are thought to have a common origin: the horn plantain and the French plantain. Both types grow in India, Africa, Egypt, and tropical America. The French plantains also occur in Indonesia and the islands of the Pacific.

Q: Why is plantain called white man’s foot?
A: Plantain does particularly well in compacted or disturbed soils and can survive repeated trampling. Native Americans called it “white man’s footprint”” because it appeared and thrived in disturbed areas around European settlements. Its roots work to break up hardpan soil and can help stop erosion.”

Q: Why do you soak plantains in salt water?
A: A salted-garlic water mixture is prepared to soak the green plantain slices for a few minutes prior to frying. This will provide a garlicky, salty flavor to the fried plantains.

Q: Are all types of plantain edible?
A: I’m not talking about the banana-like fruit, fried Cuban-style. I’m talking about the edible weed that grows wild in your yard and garden and vacant lots throughout North America. There are over 200 species of plantain within the genus Plantago, and, as far as I know, all are edible.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.