Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

This plant can be seen now, poking out of lawns, verges & hedgerows. Ribwort is a very safe plant. Useful in treating small children (from 6 months) & adults.

When I see Ribwort I think mainly of regulating mucus production:
If in the lung, this plant is useful for chronic coughs with white/clear mucus, continuous runny noses in children & adults, acute yellow or green nasal mucus or nasal congestion due to allergies. For the latter it is best combined with Elderflower (Sambucus nigra).
If in the stomach, overproduction of mucus may be associated with fullness & bloating, lack of appetite, tiredness after eating…
If in the intestine, you may see chronic loose stools, hemorrhoids, mucus or blood in the stool. It is used to treat problems associated with IBS & Ulcerative Colitis.

If my children ever show signs of a yellow snotty nose, I go out & grab a handful of this plant, put it in a small saucepan, bring it to simmering point, remove it from the hob & leave it until cooled. I then strain it & give it to the children by squirting it in their mouths with a 10ml syringe. I’d do this 4-6 times in the first 24 -48 hours. Usually within this time, the mucus would become clear, reducing the risk of ear infections & more severe problems such as bronchitis & sinusitis. This is as equally effective for adults, just make it stronger. Your tea should resemble a medium strength black tea.

It is useful externally for bruising & wounds. I combine it with Comfrey for this purpose. You can chew the fresh leaves & apply the pulp to insect bites & stings. The same pulp will also help to draw out splinters & bring boils to a head. For this you can also use compresses of the hot tea on a piece of muslin cloth.

All in all this plant is useful in many ways & is certainly one you can safely incorporate into your lives. It’s around most of the year & once it has flowered the seeds & their husks can be used as a bulk laxative but I’ll talk more about that when the time comes…


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