What Is Ribwort Plantain?

Plantago lanceolata is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. The common names for the plant are ribwort plantain, narrow leaf plantain, English plantain, ribleaf, and lamb’s tongue. As common of a “weed” as Dandelion, however, not as commonly known by name. I am continuing on my mission to save these plants that so many call weeds! If you missed my other blog posts on StarFlower.There are so many unappreciated plants out there that the Chemical Industry is pushing us to destroy and kill! Please understand that every plant has a purpose in our ecosystem, and these plants, if you listen, may be telling you something about your soil. Do you know its name or the benefits of the Ribwort Plantain?

The Healing Benefits of Ribwort Plantain

One plant that can be considered an astringent, emollient, anti-microbial, anti-viral and diuretic yet be considered a weed! Let me give this disclaimer; I am not a doctor. I’m not giving treatment advice. I am a farmer and a permaculturist and have seen, heard and experienced these results, please continue to see medical professionals. This plant has healing benefits for toothaches, prevent infections, poison ivy, cuts, insect bites and, rashes. This doesn’t include the nutrition benefits and the healing benefits of eating high nutrition locally grown without chemicals food supply.

Nutrition Value of Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain Leaves:

In the springtime when you’re waiting for spinach to grow it is the best time to eat the Ribwort Plantain young leaves. You can use them in salads and as an alternative as Spinach. As the leaves grow, they will get tougher to eat. At that point, you would want to cook them in soups and sauces.  One hundred grams of the leaf (about 1/2 cup) contains 184 milligrams of calcium, 52 milligrams of phosphorous, 277 milligrams of potassium, and 2,520 micrograms of beta-carotene (2).

Ribwort Plantain Shoots:

The shoots of the broadleaf plantain, when green and tender and no longer than about four inches, can be described as a poor man’s fiddlehead, with a nutty, asparagus-like taste. Pan-fry in olive oil for just a few seconds to bring out this taste. You’ll need to place the shoot in your mouth, clench with your teeth, and quickly pull out the stem. What you’re eating are the plantain seeds (1).

Ribwort Plantain Seeds:

The seeds can be eaten once cleaned by winnowing. Once you have done that process the seeds can be ground into flour and used as you would regular flour or as a rice alternative. When your preparing and cooking to use as a rice alternative you want to soak the seeds til soft, then prepare like normally do for rice recipes. One hundred grams of the seed contains 339 milligrams of potassium and 305 milligrams of phosphorus (2). Consequently, the green seeds boiled in milk or a tea of the dried leaves will stop diarrhea (1).

Living In Eden An Edible “Weed” Garden

The seeds provide a food source not only for us but birds and small animals. The World Permaculture Association’s motto is

“A Food Garden In Every Heart”

The goal of being able to provide an Eden like garden where everything is edible, everything is nutrient-rich and chemical free is why I got into Permaculture. I want everyone to recognize a resource and use that resource to its full potential. Look past the catchy chemical pesticides commercial to find your Edible Eden!

  1. http://eatingwild.blogspot.com/2011/07/common-plantain-nutrition-and-medicinal.html
  2. https://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/herbal-remedies/health-benefits-ribwort-ze0z1404zjhar
Giuseppe Tallarico

Giuseppe is a versatile and results-oriented Agronomist specializing in Permaculture, Food Security, and Environmental Management Systems dedicated to consulting large-scale farms through the transition to sustainable and regenerative agriculture to achieve maximum profitability naturally while creating a greener abundant earth for generations to come. Giuseppe is an Accredited Instructor by the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and a permaculture consultant for the government of Jordan. Giuseppe serves the world permaculture community as the founder and General Manager of the World Permaculture Association, the head of the Urban Permaculture Laboratory Educational Center, and manager of Rigenera, a Permaculture consulting company. https://www.giuseppetallarico.com

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Donald Turner

Because of your website information I chewed up Ribwort Plantain on held it in my cheek against an absessed tooth. It stops the pain and has worked well for me for the last week. It obviouly does have antibiotic properties

    Giuseppe Tallarico

    Thanks Donald, we are very happy to hear that, sweet…if you want to help us in providing more usefull content, please evaluate to donate to us: https://worldpermacultureassociation.com/make-a-donation/


    Ribwort plantain is a very good weed to make use of at home. I’ve got a very small left kidney cyst which at times bothers me. I decided not to have it removed through any type of technology due to its size. It’s so small that it does not obstruct urine flow. One night last year the ‘left’ kidney became so painful that I decided to drive myself to hospital. I was given very strong medication, including antibiotics. After two days the pain was still there. I then thought of other types of medicine to use.

    Plantago lanceolata came to mind as I had been advised by a neighbour. I went to the back of my yard as there is plenty of it there. I used two huge bunches of it, cooked it in 1 litre water for about 10 minutes. I then drank 250ml of it. I felt some bloating for about two to three hours thereafter and became scared but after another hour so much ‘air’ came out. I burped and passed wind the whole night. ‘Excuse me for the language but I need to explain this. I had taken 250ml of the herb (boiled water that had plantain in it).

    The next morning, not only was the kidney pain gone but my tummy (which had suddenly become ‘big’) was flat. Within an hour of waking up, I had to go to the loo. Sometimes you wonder where all the digested food had been hiding but it passed through without any pain and was not lose (meaning that plantago lanceolata also cleanses or clears the colon). Mind you, the doctor had told me that the kidney was swollen as well when I visited hospital. It’s been more than 6 months that I used plantain and still feel fine.

    I have learnt that plantain is alkaline in nature and therefore fights illnesses and diseases (a variety of them). I read an article by a certain lady who had been told that she had cancer. She had decided to ‘change’ her ‘internal_blood system or environment’ to become alkaline, to fight the disease. For three months she took only alkaline food. After three months of using plantain, the cancerous cells were gone. I have learnt that cancer does not survive in an alkaline environment but thrives in an acidic environment and multiplies rapidly.

    Not only have I learnt that plantago lanceolata fights cancer but I have personally experienced that if you take a quarter cup per day, it keeps you regular, wind is passed with ease, your skin glows, ailments are reduced, including respiratory tract problems. I use plantago even when suffering from colds and flu. Phlegm gets out of your system with ease. As much as I have not conducted intensive research on this herb, it does work wonders.

      Giuseppe Tallarico

      As Giuseppe Tallarico, I am glad to hear that you have found ribwort plantain to be a useful and effective remedy for your kidney cyst. It is always interesting to hear about personal experiences with natural remedies and the positive effects they can have on our health. It is also important to note the benefits of the herb being alkaline in nature and its potential to fight illnesses and diseases. Thank you for sharing your story and the knowledge you have gained about the benefits of plantago lanceolata.


I have a large flock of Sulpha Crested cockatoos frequenting my lawn/garden atop my bush block and about 10% of them LOVE plantain.
Just out of curiosity I keep on small area unmowed & unwalked on and the Sulphas, Magpies, Rosellas and female (not male for some reason) seem to regard it as their special health food spot – at times one or other will be prowling through the now very tall undergrowth seeking out specific plants.
It seems unlikely to be just a food source as the visits are irregular and not all of them do this so I assume that those who do make use of it are seeking something specific.

    Giuseppe Tallarico

    As Giuseppe Tallarico, I would say that it is interesting to observe the behavior of the Sulphur-crested cockatoos in your lawn and garden. It is clear that a small percentage of the flock is specifically seeking out the plantain and using it as a health food. While it is likely that the plantain is providing a food source, it is possible that the birds are also using it for other benefits, such as medicinal properties. It is important to continue monitoring the behavior of the flock to better understand their relationship with this “healing weed.”


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