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PLANTAIN, RIBWORT (Plantago lanceolata)
Common names: Long Plantain, Ribble Grass, Snake Weed, Lamb'sTongue

This herb is one that has been as widespread and esteemed in ancient times as it is now. Since primieval times, it was the ruler of the ways and grew for the benefit of mankind. The Swiss Abbe and herbalist Kuenzle wrote: "The whole plant, roots, flowers and seeds of the Plantain is used. Like no other herb it cleanses the blood, the lungs and the stomach and is therefore valuable to those people who have little or bad blood, weak lungs and kidneys, pale looks, eczema and herpes, who are hoarse and plagued with slight coughs or who are as skinny as goats that not even wrapping them in butter would help. If weak children, despite good food, stay so, it helps them back on their feet."
Today Plantain which is very esteemed is still in herbal use. Its relative, the Common Plantain or Broad-leaved Plantain (Plantago major) has the same medicinal value and is used in the same way. Both grow by roadsides, in meadows, moist wastelands and may be found all over the world. Primarily Plantain is used for all disorders of the respiratory organs, especially for phlegm in the lungs, whooping cough, bronchial asthma, even for tuberculosis of the lungs.
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Infusion: One heaped teaspoon of leaves to 1/4 litre of boiling water, infused for a short time.
Tea mixture: Equal proportions of Plantain and Thyme or Rosemary are mixed, 1 teaspoonful to 1/4 litre of boiling water (see above text).
Poultice: Fresh leaves of Ribwort or Common Plantain are washed and crushed on a wooden board with a wooden rolling pin and applied.
Plantain (Plantago)
Smokh   Plantain is a much despised herb, but undoubtedly the foremost, best and most frequent of all curative herbs. God has scattered it along all roadsides, planted it in all meadows and on all slopes, in every climate so that it might always be within reach.
There are about seven species in Switzerland and all are salutary: seven brothers of the same blood.
The most common and most despised is the large ripple grass (Plantago major). It resembles the poor day laborer who must always remain in the lower regions of human society, but elevates all others; who cleans the ditches and elects the government without ever entering the latter himself. At best the seed of the plantain is used to feed the birds; otherwise it is trodden down by young and old.
Hoary-plantain (Plantago media) has a trifle less healing power and has a better abode. But the peasant does not like it, as it takes up too much space, the farm hands pull it out.
Another kind of plantain, the ribgrass (Plantago lanceolata), is somewhat better off. It. is weaker than the two former ones, but is better clothed and is well liked.
In mountainous regions there are four more kinds of plantain which resemble the ribgrass, the foremost and best liked is the Alpine plantain (Plantago Alpina), This is by far the most healing kind of all plantain varieties, but it only begins to appear at an altitude of 5400 feet and continues up as far as the eternal snows.
The best of the valley-plantains is the common road-plantain. Roots, leaves, blossoms and seeds of all species of plantain are uselul. This plant cleanses the blood, lungs and stomach more thoroughly than any other herb and therefore is good for all people with too little blood, poor blood, weak lungs or a weak voice, who are pale and suffer from excema, herpes, etc.; are forever coughing or hoarse, and remain lean as goats even though they were laid in butter. It helps weakly children who seem to be forever ailing in spite of good food, is more efficacious than codliver oil (this torment of childhood) emulsion and other expensive articles.
Preparation: Boil a kettle full of plantain, green or dried, with 1-2 handfuls of juniper-berries or green juniper twigs for three hours in plenty of water, throw away the herbs, and continue boiling the broth with ordinary sugar for 2-7 hours. This juice is poured into jars or jugs and placed in the cellar. Drink as much of it as you like, especially in the morning on an empty stomach. This syrup is an excellent remedy for toothache, and has a very pleasant taste, so that it is best to hide it from children with a sweet tooth and from wasps, but the juice does not keep long.
Used externally all kinds of plantain are helpful in the case of toothache (chewed or as a tea, or a gargle). Plantain crushed, and used as a poultice cures wounds and cuts as quickly as arnica, cures dog bites, snake bites, the sting of wasps and of other insects. God be praised for giving us such a marvellous healing plant in such great abundance!