Traditional names: English plantain, narrowleaf plantain, ribwort plantain, ribleaf.
The lamb’s tongue is a perennial plant belonging to the family of Plantaginaceae. It is a frequent species, which appears in large quantities on pastures, meadows, along roads, unimproved lands. From its short rhizome grow the basal leaves and a scape with the flowers. It has 15-20 cm long and 1-3 cm large oval or lanceolate leaves, with parallel veins. One stool usually has several, 10-50 cm high stems. Its tight penicle is located on the top of stem, is 2-4 cm long, looks like a globe or oblong. The corolla is white, with long stamens and the anther is jonquil. It starts blooming upwards and takes from May until September. Its fruit is an elliptical case with 2 seeds.
The fully developed, whole leaves of lamb’s tongue is used for curative reasons. It can be collected from May to September. The drug must not contain scapes. It must be dried in a thin layer, at an airy space. Transported and dry it carefully, since the fresh leaves get easily brown if pressed or broken.
Its main component is a glycoside called aucubin (1,5-2%), but it also contains polyphenol compounds, mucus, L-ascorbin acid, tanin, citric acid, invertase and emulsion enzymes.
The antibacterial, haemostatic and expectorant effects of lamb’s tongue are all well known. The juice of the fresh leaves, as well as the unguents made of this juice can be used in case of insect bites and small injuries, thanks to its wound healing effect. Its tea or syrup is used in case of upper respiratory diseases due to its expectorant effect. It can be used for rinsing the mouth in case of throat ache and inflammation of mucous membrane of the mouth.