Ribwort Plantain Seed Head

Sunrise 08:07 am      Sunset: 04:34 pm

This species of plantain growing in every meadow and was a onetime fodder plant. Curtis, in his Flora Londonensis, says:

‘The farmers in general consider this species of plantain as a favourite food of sheep and hence it is frequently recommended in the laying down of meadow and pasture land, and the seed is for that purpose kept in the shops.’

Its cultivation was never seriously taken up, for though its mucilaginous leaves are relished by sheep and to a certain extent, by cows and horses, it does not answer as a crop, except on very poor land, where nothing else will grow. Moreover, it is very bitter, and in pastures destroys the more delicate herbage around it by its coarse leaves.

The seeds are covered with a coat of mucilage, which separates readily when macerated in hot water. The gelatinous substance thus formed has been used at one time in France for stiffening some kinds of muslin and other woven fabrics.

The leaves contain a good fibre, which, it has been suggested, might be adapted to some manufacturing purpose.

IMG_224719TH JANUARY 2013

6 Comments on “Ribwort Plantain Seed Head

  1. And according to my friend who has been on a “wild food course” it is edible by humans as well (although it isn’t in my Collins Food for Free book and I have never tried it).

    • Ribwort plantain is edible, but it just doesn’t taste nice, James. It 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.

      Who needs doctors, when one plant will do it all. . . ? Don’t take my advice, though, I am only reiterating gathered information. If you want to use alternative medicine, seek advice from a sympathetic doctor, I you can find one.

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