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Ribgrass Plantain: Ribgrass contains a large amount of mucilage, which makes it soothing. Allantoin helps speed healing and aucubin provides an antimicrobial, antibiotic compound to help infections...

Common Names: Ribwort Plantain, English Plantain

Botanical Name: Plantago lanceolata

Family: Plantaginaceae

Plant Type: Perennial

Parts Used: Leaves

Flowering: April to November

Description: Lance-leaf plantain is a perennial plant; the erect, long-stalked, lanceolate, well-defined veined leaves, each up to 8 inches long, grow from the rootstock on margined petioles in a basal rosette. Several grooved flower stalks may grow from 6-30 inches high, tipped by a short spike of tiny white flowers whose brownish sepals and bracts give the spike its predominantly dark color. Flowering time is from April to November. Fruiting spike has many small, hard fruits.

Harvest: Harvest the leaves before the plant blooms.

Culinary Uses: Young leaves can be eaten fresh in salad or cooked as a potherb.

Ribgrass Plantain Magick

Healing. Strength. Protection. Snake Repelling.

Gender: Female

Planet: Venus

Element: Earth

Place plantain beneath your feet to remove weariness.

Bind the plantain with red wool to the head to cure headaches.

Carry a piece of the root in a pocket to protect from snakebites.

Hang plantain in the car to guard against the intrusion of evil spirits.

Herbal Healing with Ribgrass Plantain

Medical Actions: Antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, astringent, calming (urinary spasm and pains), demulcent, expectorant, haemostatic, soothing (local), tonic (respiratory mucous membranes), vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: An herbal tea made from ribgrass plantain soothes irritated and inflamed tissues in the respiratory, digestive and urinary tracts. The fresh juice, pressed from the whole plant is used to treat hay fever and chest congestion; it is effective for allergic conditions and cases of rhinitis, nasal and middle ear catarrhal conditions, bronchial spasms, and nervous and dry coughing. Ribgrass can be used to treat painful and irritating urinary conditions as a short-term palliative, and for the restoration of lungs after serious pulmonary diseases. This herb is used commercially as an expectorant. The seeds are prepared as a laxative. In China, plantain was credited with a 90% success rate in childbirth to turn breech babies into a head down position. It is safe for children.

Ribgrass plantain can be applied fresh to insect stings and bites. When applied to small cuts or scrapes, plantain will stop the bleeding. The leaf can be crushed and blended with some water to make a paste. Put some on a piece of gauze, roll it up and place in the mouth for gum ulcers, herpes lesions, gum inflammations or abscesses.

Washes can be uses to treat sores, wounds and inflammations of the skin. Gargles made of diluted plantain juice are effective for mouth inflammation and sore throat. Plantain was also used to treat sore eyes, boils, carbuncles, burns, bruises, canker sores, ringworms, shingles, and vaginal irritation. If stung by insects, immediately rub some crushed English plantain leaves into the area around the sites of the stings, this will prevent swelling and itching. As an ointment, plantain can be applied to hemorrhoids for a soothing remedy.

Contraindications / Cautions:

  • Pregnant women should not use plantain internally.
  • Inhaling the seeds may cause asthma.
  • Ingesting the seeds without soaking them first may cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • If you use the seeds for the psyllium content, be sure to drink large amounts of water to counteract the amount absorbed by the seeds.
  • Some people may be allergic to this herb.

Preparation and Dosage

For an infusion, put 2 to 4 tablespoons of fresh leaf (use half this amount if using dried leaves) in a warmed glass container. Add 2-1/2 cups of boiling water. Steep this solution for 5 to 7 minutes. Drink cold or warm throughout the day, up to 3 cups per day.

For a tincture, take 10 to 30 drops in water three times per day.

Other Uses: Ribgrass leaves can be dried and hung in closets to discourage insects.

Healing Combinations with Ribgrass Plantain

  • Ribgrass plantain can be added to skin salves with chickweed, calendula and comfrey.
  • When applied fresh with Echinacea, plantain can heal severe staph infections.
  • The husks of the plant can be soaked in calendula tea and used as a poultice to draw out infection from abscesses, boils and other infections with pus. is free to access and use.
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