Ribwort Plantain Health Benefits

| Modified on May 16, 2018
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Ribwort Plantain Health Benefits

Plantain is a common weed with uncommon healing! This plantain is not the same as the cooking banana you have seen in the grocery store. Ribwort plantain can be found growing wild in yards, along the road, and in the woods. This hearty weed is a wonderful natural remedy for a number of skin problems. It is also useful internally for urinary tract infections and diarrhea.

If you are unable to locate fresh plantain to harvest for your use, you can keep dry plantain leaves on hand.

Plantain Tea

To make plantain tea:

  • Add 3 tablespoons of dried plantain to a quart jar.
  • Add 1 quart very hot water.
  • Allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Strain out the leaves.

This tea can be taken internally to treat a urinary tract infection or diarrhea. Consume the entire quart over the course of a day.

This tea can be chilled and used as a soak for a burn or to relieve poison ivy.

Plantain Poultice

Pour boiling water over 1-3 tablespoons of dry plantain leaves enough to saturate them. When they are soft, drain out the excess water. Use these leaves on a burn that has had a healing salve or honey applied to it, then cover with plastic wrap and a bandage. This will help new skin cells to appear quickly and relieve pain. Change the bandage and apply a fresh poultice every 12 hours.

The moist leaves can be applied to a painful tooth, ingrown toenail or swollen lymph node to bring pain relief and healing.

Plantain Oil

Fill a small jar with dried plantain leaves. Pour olive oil over the leaves. Leaves should be completely submerged in oil. Allow the oil and leaves to sit for 2 weeks. Strain out the leaves. Now you have a healing oil that can be used for many applications. Try it for the following:

  • Bug bites
  • Bee stings
  • Chicken pox
  • Shingles
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Poison Ivy
  • Burns
  • Chapped Lips
  • Diaper Rash
  • Dry Skin

How to Use Fresh Plantain Leaves

A fresh plantain leave can be crushed or chewed and applied to a bite or sting.

If you pour boiling water over the leaf until it wilts and then cool the leaf, you can use the leaf on a clean painful wound or burn. First use honey or a healing salve on the clean wound. Then cover with the limp plantain leaf. Add a layer of plastic wrap and then a bandage. Change the leaf and bandage every 12 hours.

Have you use plantain as a natural remedy? Please send us some feedback!

Bee Sting

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 12/06/2017

My husband and 11 year old son were outside and were not near home. My husband got stung by a wasp on the hand near his thumb. It hurt a lot and he was worried that his hand would swell up. My 11 year immediately started looking in the grass for a plantain leaf. Though it is nearly winter he found a small one. He handed it to his daddy and said, "Here. Chew this up and put it on the sting." So, he did. He chewed up the leaf and put it on the sting and covered it with a bandaid that he had in his car. Within minutes the pain was nearly gone. At night, he removed the bandaid. There was no swelling. No redness. No pain.

Unfortunately, we didn't continue treating and two days later he has some itching and swelling today. (Which only confirms to me that the plantain was fighting the reaction to the sting.)

But still. I am thrilled that this amazing remedy is out there for the taking!

~Mama to Many~

Insect Bites

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 09/20/2013

I was taking a walk the other day and got a mosquito bite on my arm. It was swelling a bit and the itch was irritating, and interrupting my nice walk. I found a plantain leaf (it grows in so many places! )

I chewed the leaf a little and put it on the bite. The relief from itching was immediate. Fifteen minutes later, I repeated the process. When I got home, there was no swelling or itching. That night I realized I had no sign of the bite at all.

Plantain can also be used this way for bee strings, ant bites, even snake bites. While there may be better remedies at times for these things, not everyone carries first aid stuff with them everywhere they go, so it is good to know how to use plantain. And I have had this "weed" growing near me for years and years before I realized how wonderful a plant it is!

Have a great day!

~Mama to Many~

Mouth Injury

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, US) on 08/30/2014

One of my teenage sons was milking his goat and another young goat came up and butted him. The goat's horn went into my son's mouth and cut the gum above one of his teeth. He got up, spitting out blood and came in the house to see what I could do for it. It was hurting a good bit and the injured area was about the size of a dime.

My first thought was plantain. It helps stop bleeding. It helps with pain and it helps to heal. I keep dried plantain in my herb cabinet at all times.

I put about about a half a teaspoon of the dried herb into a piece of coffee filter and folded it over to make a little poultice. We placed that over the wound. He had no more bleeding and it greatly helped his pain. He removed the poultice and ate lunch. I made him another poultice for the afternoon. Overall, he kept a poultice in his mouth for many hours. It was no longer bothering him in the evening. This morning, the mouth looked very good! No sign of infection, no swelling.

Plantain is readily available, gentle and safe. It grows all over the world. It does grow differently depending on location. Leaves near my house grow very large and wide. If you can find someone in your area who can positively identify it for you in your area, you will be prepared to use it for all kinds of different applications!

~Mama to Many~

Multiple Cures

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by John (Bay City Texas) on 07/12/2017

The ribwort plantain works on healing inside. I with prayer got the leaf at its youngest stage. An Indian man in Louisiana told me to put them in olive oil and let stand for 6 weeks then lightly heat and strain off drink the oil to help heal my liver. This is not for everyone to do. My black liver was white in three days. Doctor was amazed. It will stop the cancer growth if not kill it out all the way. I had bad squamous cell on my lip, kept rubbing the oil extract. It kept it under bay till that could cut it out instead of a massive amount that just took a little bit off this plant.

The Indians named it Little Foot, a God sent plant.

Multiple Cures
Posted by Patricia (Downsville) on 08/22/2016 42 posts

Plantain leaves for gums and loose tooth and wound healing.

I don't see anything on plantain on the site though. I have been experimenting with plantain for wounds. Masticate (chew) the leaf and put it on the wound and put on a bandaid and leave it overnight. It helped two friends. I picked it on a lawn and gave it to them with instructions. The next day they showed me that it worked. The wounds were healing fast.

Plantain is an anti inflamatory so I tried it on my annoying bottom gums and lose tooth on top. I chewed the leaves and placed them on my gums on top and bottom and held there for an hour or half hour or more. Can leave it in over night.

Cut a couple of small plantain leaves from your (un treated with pesticides) lawn. Chew the leaf till it is masticated a bit. The swelling went down on the bottom and the amazing thing is the top tooth is not loose any more. Don't remember if I had to do it for a couple of days. I also don't know if I will have to redo it if the tooth loosens again.It has been at least a week and the tooth is not moving at all. I guess it is okay to report that freshly chewed (chewing is to get the plant juices flowing) plantain works on gums and teeth. The bottom tooth is broken off and I am looking for something to re calcify it.

I grow my own in a garden patch and in planters. I have not seen them in lawns so large. The planters don't allow such big leave as the garden patch. I am hoping to attach a photo of the plant and larger leaves. Don't know if it will upload. The attaching is not user friendly.



1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, US) on 08/30/2014

Plantain for ripped toenail:

A friend of mine accidentally hit her toe in such a way as to nearly rip off the entire toenail of her big toe. She was in terrible, terrible pain. It is very painful to rip off a toenail!!! I found out that she had done this after about 24 hours. She had not slept well because of the pain.

I told her to try a fresh plantain leaf wrapped around the toe. This is what you do:

Get a fresh plantain leaf and put it in a mug or heat proof dish. Bring some water to boil. Pour boiling water over the leaf. Let it sit a minute or two until limp and bright green. Then run the leaf under cool water until it is cool. Wrap the toe with the leaf. Cover with a bit of plastic wrap and a sock. (You can skip the plastic and let it breathe, you will just need to change the leaf much more often so it does not dry out.)

She did this and it helped her pain so much. She was able to sleep the night she did this.

If you have dried plantain on hand, you could do the same thing. Once in the middle of the winter, my son had a burn the size of a quarter on his arm and it hurt a lot. I scalded some dry leaf, cooled it and put it on the burn (after putting some healing salve on.) Then I covered it with a bandage. This immediately helped his pain. We changed the bandage twice a day and new skin was able to grow very quickly and the plantain did not rip off the new delicate skin as bandages tend to do.

Plantain is so wonderful for pain and inflammation, gentle enough for the whole family, and grows all over the world.

~Mama to Many~

Sores, Cuts, Wounds

4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by Mamainak (London, Uk) on 10/17/2010

I'd love to add a remedy my grandmother used on me, using Ribwort Plantain plant (leaves). As a child I used to suffer from ulcers on my bottom, they were big, red and full of liquid, I had problems sitting on a chair. Our GP couldn't give any good advice except to squeeze them out which hurt a lot. My grandmother picked some leaves of this plant that grew in front of our building. She'd pick fresh leaves every day, wash them, dry them and then bat them a bit to release the juices from it. Then she's place the leaf over the ulcer and fix it with a tape and underwear. After several days, they got much smaller and didn't hurt as much. I can't remember for sure, but I think they were gone within 7-10 days.

Sores, Cuts, Wounds
Posted by Gabriele (Limestone, Maine) on 10/10/2008

For many years I have been using a weed which can be found anywhere in your back yard, or in fields -to heal sores, cuts, and small wounds. It's called ribwort plaintain, snakeweed or soldiers weed. I used it in Germany, my home country. Years ago, when I moved to the states, an old Indian pointed it out to me as the number one healing plant. 2 weeks ago I adopted a dog who had been spending 3 month in a clinic to heal him of his life threatening injuries. His owner had left him 7 days hanging in a barb wire fence, and then decided to shoot him. A neighbor rescued him, but by that time he already had gangrene. Anyway, Casper, the white shepherd, came via airplane from WI to ME. I was shocked when I saw the wound on his belly. The size of 2 hands, still totally raw, but with 3 skincrafts the size of a quarter in it. From day one, I picked ribwort leafs and made a compress every night for Casper. Very hard to do because it is on his belly, and I have to use ace bandages to keep it in place. My vet who really is not much into natural remedies, is now convinced that this plant is what's healing the wound very fast. Within 2 weeks it closed from the 2-hand-size to 1/3rd the size! She said yesterday to me: I wish we could put these leafes into his brain to cure him of being terrified of people. There is quite a bit on info on the internet; check it out- it will help you or your pet. Of course I use only leafs from my back yard which I know have not been sprayed with any poison.

EC: We emailed Gabriele, asking if ribwort plaintain is safe for horses (Elissa's horse had a barbed wire wound if you recall.)...

Replied by Gabriele
(Limestone, Maine)

Hello, ribwort plaintain is safe for any living creature. You would not believe how fast it heals. It's also called soldiers weed- from what I have read in the civil war soldiers used it to treat their wounds. Also attached are two photos of my dogs' wound. Picture 001 is from 1 week ago, the 2nd one is from 2 days ago. All the pink skin is new, and grew within these past 2 weeks. When I adopted Casper 2 weeks ago it was solidly red, and raw, with 3 small skin crafts, the pink ones on the upper edge. My vet see's Casper once a week, the rest of the time I wash the wound and put the cream on it myself. Anyway, when she saw Casper this week, she said: Oh my God! scared me, and I asked, what's wrong Terry? She answered: "It's a good 'oh my god' -- I can't believe how fast it's healing."

About Elissa's horse -- with theses leaves I am positive he would heal. Let me know please.

EC: Click here to see Gabriele's photos. Warning -- very disturbing, poor dog!

Replied by Joyce
(Joelton, Tn)
509 posts

To all who don't recognize ribwort plantain, I believe the plant she is talking about is more commonly called broad-leaf plantain here. Also we used to call it rabbit lettuce when I was a child. This plant also goes well in a mixture of greens, such as dandelion leaves, curly dock and yellow dock, as a pot herb, but would probably retain more healing properties if pureed in a blender and taken raw.

Replied by Susie
(Syracuse, NY)

Plantain is also excellent for bee stings, just crush the leaf up by rolling it between your fingers (traditionally it was suggested to crush it by chewing it a little mixing it with saliva to apply as compress) so that it's damp and wet, you'll definitely notice when you've bruised it enough, then rub over the bee sting or mosquito bite. Very effective and works quickly.

When I was visiting Lancaster, Penn a man there told me the Amish harvest plantain by the bushels to make compresses and other applications to be used for tendonitis, arthritis; I had a sprained knee at the time and I did rub the plantain leaf on my left knee as many times a day as I thought to, probably 3, 4 or 5 times ....within a couple weeks I was completely out of my knee brace. People will think you're nuts as I have had many people snicker at me as I'm constantly picking plantain and rubbing it on either a bug bite or tennis elbow area.

Replied by Natrum
(Flemington, New Jersey /usa)

We have two kinds of plantain locally, one the broader, rounder leafed kind, and the longer narrower leafed, "lancinate", I believe the form is called. Both are used similarly. The leader of our community garden was stung by a bee and I chewed up a broad leaf, to break the cell walls and get at the juice and applied it to his bite. He probably thought I was batty, but it relieved his pain.

Recently I had some gum pain, and did not wish to see a dentist, as I had been told eventually I would need a root canal. Well, after what I have learned about root canals, that is not likely! So I chewed up some lancinate plantain, and kept it in my cheek next to the gums overnight for a few days. It always felt better in the morning, and eventually, no pain at all.

Replied by Cjabrams
(Kelseyville, Ca)

I have recently discovered ribwort's benefits. I was amazed to get such quick healing on ulcers on my gums. I have been reading about the many people whom enjoy eating it as any other "greens". My question is why it causes an unusual numbing effect on the throat and tongue that lasts all day. I sauteed fresh young leaves then scrambled with eggs.

Replied by Daureen
(Rhode Island)

Hello, Ribwort Plaintain, although related to broad leaf plaintain are not the same plant. Ribwort has much narrower leaves than the broad leaf. They both have similar healing properties.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Teena (Melbourne, Australia) on 05/15/2018 235 posts

A recent morning I had the annoying symptoms of urgency to urinate, discomfort and little to no urination. The work I do I am frequently not near toileting facilities so I was potentially looking at a day off work, while also supposed to be starting p.m. shift in 5 hours. I immediately took baking soda and acv, vitamin c to boost my immune system, and then EC had some recommendations, which I took, because I was desperate. Teaspoon of salt, because no bacteria can survive in salty conditions, with lots of water, required for following the salt through and to flush out, and teaspoon of turmeric, which I took a couple of times.

Then I read plantain (weed) tea, and having had much health improvement lately with herbal teas, decided to try. My only plantain patch is in the front lawn, yes near the quiet road, not my ideal but again I was desperate. I picked the leaves and soaked for 10 minutes in water which I had added several drops of lugols iodine to detox the heavy metals I suspected were likely present. Shook out the leaves added to 750 ml teapot and steeped in boiled water for 20 minutes. Consumed slowly on account of the heat.

By the time I finished the tea I was able to go to the toilet and urinate properly. And I was able to go to work. I believe the salt, turmeric, bs and Apple Cider Vinegar helped, but what worked, to beat the UTI was the plantain tea, and I know that's what I will use should it happen again. I know what brought on my UTI, the previous evening I had succumbed to some lemon🍋gelato in my freezer, after avoiding sugar quite well for a long time. Was it worth it? No. Best to all.