Plantago lanceolata or Plantago minor, commonly known as ribwort or English plantain has been used in veterinary herbal medicine for a long time. The use of herbs in treating and managing animal health conditions is becoming increasingly popular due to their effectiveness and lack of side effects. One such herb is English plantain, which is also known as ribwort or ribleaf. This article aims to explore the use of Plantago lanceolata in veterinary herbal practice.
What is Plantago lanceolata or Ribwort?
Plantago lanceolata is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the Plantaginaceae family and has narrow, lance-shaped leaves with parallel veins that grow in a rosette pattern. The plant produces a tall stalk with a spike of small flowers that are greenish-brown in color. The plant is also known as ribwort plantain, narrow-leaved plantain, or English plantain.
Plantago lanceolata or Plantago minor has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant has been used to treat various ailments in both humans and animals. It has been used as a wound healer, an anti-inflammatory agent, and a remedy for respiratory problems, diarrhea, and urinary tract infections.
Plantago lanceolata or Plantago minor contains several active compounds that give it its medicinal properties. These compounds include:
- Aucubin: A glycoside that has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
- Tannins: Astringent compounds that have antiseptic and wound-healing properties.
- Flavonoids: Antioxidant compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
- Mucilage: A gel-like substance that has a soothing effect on inflamed tissues.
Plantago lanceolata or Plantago minor has several veterinary uses due to its medicinal properties. The herb is used to treat various conditions in animals, including:
Ribwort has been a wound healer for centuries. The herb has astringent and antimicrobial properties that help to clean wounds and prevent infection. The herb can be used to treat wounds in both small and large animals as a poultice, for example.
It also has good anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Potentially interesting use of Plantago major, a close relative to ribwort, was shown in 2021 by Triastuti et al.: they found evidence that P. major displays anti-rheumatoid arthritis activity.
Plantago lanceolata is also used to treat respiratory problems in animals due to its anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties that help to reduce inflammatory processes and loosen and expel phlegm from the respiratory tract. The herb can be used to treat conditions such as coughs and chronic bronchitis.
Plantago lanceolata is also used to treat digestive problems in animals. The herb has astringent properties that help to reduce inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract. It has an emollient and soothing effect on the digestive tract, which helps to reduce diarrhea and vomiting. Similar to Lemon balm , this herb can be used to treat conditions such as mild gastroenteritis with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.
In a recent study where lemongrass essential oil, pumpkin seeds, and ribwort were mixed into the feed of laying hens, Rodenbücher et al., 2022 found that “pumpkin seed improved feed conversion and ribwort slightly reduced feed consumption without having any negative influence on performance data, which makes both plants promising future feed components for poultry”.
Urinary tract infections
Ribwort can be used to treat animal urinary tract infections. The herb has diuretic properties that help to increase urine production, which helps to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation in the urinary tract. The herb can be used to treat conditions such as cystitis (urinary bladder infection).
Dosage and Administration
Plantago lanceolata or English plantain can be administered to animals in various forms, including as a tea, tincture, or powdered form. The dosage and administration of the herb depend on the condition being treated, the size of the animal, and the form of the herb being used. It is recommended to consult a veterinary herbalist or a veterinarian with knowledge of herbal medicine before administering the herb to animals.
Safety and Side Effects
Ribwort is generally safe for animals when used in recommended doses. However, the herb may cause some side effects in some animals, including:
- Allergic reactions: Some animals may be allergic to the herb, causing skin rashes, hives, or difficulty breathing.
- Digestive upset: The herb may cause digestive upset in some animals, including transient diarrhea or vomiting.
- Interactions with medications: The herb may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners or diuretics.
- It is recommended to monitor animals closely after administering the herb and to stop its use if any adverse reactions occur.
In conclusion, Plantago lanceolata or Plantago minor is a valuable herb in veterinary herbal medicine. Its effectiveness and lack of side effects make it a popular choice in treating various animal ailments, such as healing wounds, respiratory problems, digestive problems, and urinary tract infections, and potentially as an anti-inflammatory compound in treating arthritic conditions.
However, as with any herbal remedy, it is crucial to use the herb in recommended doses and to monitor animals closely for any adverse reactions. Consulting a veterinary herbalist or a veterinarian with knowledge of herbal medicine is strongly recommended before administering the herb to animals.
English plantain - Plantago lanceolata
Photo by pixabay.com
Can Plantago lanceolata or Plantago minor be used in pregnant animals?
No, it is not recommended to use the herb in pregnant animals, as it may cause uterine contractions.
Can the herb be used together with conventional medications?
It is recommended to consult a veterinary herbalist or a veterinarian before using the herb in conjunction with conventional medications.
Can the herb be used in all animal species?
The herb can be used in various animal species, but the dosage and administration may differ.
Is the herb safe for long-term use?
Long-term use of the herb may cause some side effects, and it is recommended to monitor animals closely and work together with a herbal vet if using the herb for an extended period.
Can the herb be grown at home?
Yes, the herb can be grown at home in a sunny location with well-draining soil.
Triastuti, A., Pradana, D.A., Saputra, D.E., Lianika, N., Wicaksono, H.R., Anisari, T.D. and Widyarini, S. (2021). Anti-rheumatoid activity of a hexane-insoluble fraction from Plantago major in female Wistar rats induced by Complete Freund’s Adjuvant. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Rodenbücher, A.L., Walkenhorst, M., Holinger, M., Perler, E., Amsler-Kepalaite, Z., Frey, C.F., Mevissen, M. and Maurer, V. (2022). Pumpkin seeds, lemongrass essential oil, and ripleaf leaves as feed additives for Ascaridia galli infected laying hens. Veterinary Research Communications.
Blumenthal, Mark., and Werner R. Busse. The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, Texas: American Botanical Council, 1998. Print. Source
Cheeke, P. R. (2001). Natural Veterinary Medicine. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press.
Wynn, S. G., & Fougere, B. J. (2007). Veterinary Herbal Medicine. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier.
Plantago lanceolata. (n.d.). USDA Plants Database. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from source
Wikipedia: Plantago lanceolata