Nepali Language (Nepal)English (United Kingdom)

Plantago ovata

Article Index
Plantago ovata
All Pages

Name: Psyllium
Plantago brunnea Morris, P. decumbens Forsk., P. fastigiata Morris, P. gooddingii Nelson et Kennedy, P. insularis Eastw., P. ispaghula Roxb. ex Flem., P. lanata Willd. ex Spreng., P. leiocephala Wallr., P. microcephala Poir., P. minima Cunn., P. trichophylla Nab., P. villosa Moench.
Napali Name: Ishabgol

Selected vernacular names
Ashwagolam, aspaghol, aspagol, bazarqutuna, blond psyllium, Blondes Psyllium, Ch’-Ch’ientzu, esfarzeh, esopgol, esparzeh, fi syllium, ghoda, grappicol, Indian plantago, Indische Psyllium, isabakolu, isabgol, isabgul,
isabgul gola, isapagala-vittulu, ishppukol-virai, ispaghula, isphagol, vithai, issufgul, jiru, kabbéche, lokmet an naâja, obako, psyllium, plantain, spogel seed plantain.
Other Names: Ispaghula, Spogel Seeds,Ishabgol, Snigdhajira, Isapghul, Psyllium, Plantago

An annual, acaulescent herb. Stem highly ramifi ed bearing linear leaves, which are lanceolate, dentate and pubescent. Flowers white and grouped into cylindrical spikes; sepals characterized by a distinct midrib extending from the base to the summit; petal lobes oval with a mucronate summit. Seeds oval, clearly carinate, 2–3 mm long, light grey-pink, with a brown line running along their convex side.

Geographical distribution
Indigenous to Asia and the Mediterranean countries. Cultivated extensively in India and Pakistan and Nepal; adapts to western Europe and subtropical regions.

Parts Used: Seeds

Active Compounds
Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative and is high in both fiber and mucilage. Psyllium seeds contain 10-30% mucilage. The laxative properties of psyllium are due to the swelling of the husk when it comes in contact with water. This forms a gelatinous mass and keeps the feces hydrated and soft. The resulting bulk stimulates a reflex contraction of the walls of the bowel, followed by emptying.Major chemical constituents
The major constituent is a mucilaginous hydrocolloid (20–30%), which is a soluble polysaccharide fraction composed primarily of an arabinoxylan (up to 85%). The polymer backbone is a xylan with 1→ 3 and 1→ 4 linkages with no apparent regularity in their distribution. The monosaccharides in this main chain are substituted on C-2 or C-3 by l-arabinose d-xylose, and α-d-galacturonyl-(1→2)-l-rhamnose. Fixed oil (5–10%)
is another major constituent (5, 9, 14–16).

Therapeutic Uses
A bulk-forming laxative used therapeutically for restoring and maintaining bowel regularity (15, 17–26). Treatment of chronic constipation, temporary constipation due to illness or pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation related to duodenal ulcer or diverticulitis (18, 27). Also indicated for stool softening in the case of haemorrhoids, or after anorectal surgery (18, 20). As a dietary supplement in the management of hypercholesterolaemia, to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (28), and reduce the increase in blood sugar levels after eating (24).

Also useful for

• atherosclerosis
• constipation
• diabetes
• diarrhea
• hemorrhoids
• high cholesterol
• high triglycerides
• irritable bowel syndrome
• psoriasis
• weight loss and obesity

1-2 tbs. in warm or cool water, stirred until it thickens into a gel.
Many people take 7.5 grams of the seeds or 5 grams of the husks one to two times per day, with water or juice. It’s important to maintain adequate fluid intake when using psyllium.

Using psyllium in recommended amounts is generally safe. People with chronic constipation should seek the advice of a health care professional. Side effects, such as allergic skin and respiratory reactions to psyllium dust, have largely been limited to people working in plants manufacturing psyllium products.

No other information about the safety of this herb is available. Use caution. Ayurvedic herbs are often taken in combination to neutralize the toxicity one herb with the opposing effect of other. Do not take except under the supervision of a qualified professional