Herb: Ribwort Plantain


Latin name: Plantago lanceolata


Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)



Medicinal use of Ribwort Plantain:

Ribwort plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly staunches blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue. The leaves contain mucilage, tannin and silic acid. An extract of them has antibacterial properties. They have a bitter flavour and are astringent, demulcent, mildly expectorant, haemostatic and ophthalmic. Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever. They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc. The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes, it is used in equal portions with Marrubium vulgare. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
45 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
April to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground, on neutral and basic soils.

Edible parts of Ribwort Plantain:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. They are rather bitter and very tedious to prepare, the fibrous strands are best removed prior to eating. The very young leaves are somewhat better and are less fibrous. Seed - cooked. Used like sago. The seed can be ground into a powder and added to flours when making bread, cakes or whatever.

Other uses of the herb:

A good fibre is obtained from the leaves, it is said to be suitable for textiles. A mucilage from the seed coats is used as a fabric stiffener. It is obtained by macerating the seed in hot water. Gold and brown dyes are obtained from the whole plant.

Propagation of Ribwort Plantain:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Cultivation of the herb:

Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground, on neutral and basic soils.

Known hazards of Plantago lanceolata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.