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Ribgrass Plantain – (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribgrass Plantain

Ribgrass Plantain is know as a common weed and is found almost everywhere. It has long, thin, ribbed leaves that grow in a crown. Tall flowering spikes grow from the center. The flowers are very tiny and hardly noticeable. The seeds resemble fleas. 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.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Ribgrass plantain is used to treat hay fever in Europe as well as chest congestion. It is safe for children. It soothes irritated and inflamed tissues in the respiratory, digestive and urinary tracts. Herbal tea can be taken for coughs, colitis, cystitis, painful urination and irritable bowel. This herb is used commercially as an expectorant.

The seeds are prepared as a laxative. The herb can be used for dysentery, headaches, bladder infections, fevers, flu, uterine pains, excessive bleeding, diarrhea, and high blood pressure. In China, plantain was credited with a 90% success rate in childbirth to turn breech babies into a head down position.

Externally – 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.

As an ointment, plantain can be applied to hemorrhoids for a soothing remedy. 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 and vaginal irritation.

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

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

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.

Parts Used

Leaves – The leaf is used medicinally from ribgrass.


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

Harvest the leaves before the plant blooms. Young leaves can be eaten fresh in salad or cooked as a potherb.

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.

Ribgrass Plantain Herbal Remedies Top