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Plantain appears to be relatively safe, but comprehensive safety studies have not been performed.
Plantain grown in soil contaminated with heavy metals such as thallium or antimony may develop relatively high concentrations of these potential toxins. 1 In 1997, the FDA reported that some “plantain” available for sale on the herb market was contaminated with similar-appearing foxglove (digitalis), an herb with potent and potentially toxic effects on the heart. 2 Safety in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or individuals with liver or kidney disease has not been established.
- Wierzbicka M, Szarek-Łukaszewska G, Grodzińska K. Highly toxic thallium in plants from the vicinity of Olkusz (Poland). Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 59(1):84-8.
- Whitmore, A. FDA warns consumers against dietary supplement products that may contain digitalis mislabeled as plantain. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/NEW00570.html. Accessed May 5, 2005.