Plantago ovata in Latin is Psyllium, in English and Sat isabgola in Sanskrit. It is an annual herb, native to Asia. Its use throughout the world is historical. It is said to have originated from Persia from where the Arabs brought it to India. Psyllium is extensively cultivated in India and Pakistan. While India provides about 85 percent of the psyllium available in the world market, the United States is the world’s largest importer of psyllium husk.
The seeds contain a large amount of mucilage, albumin and the husk contains cellulose. The husk is oily and the fibre soaks in water forming bulk. Psyllium is said to be possessing urinogenetic, expectorant, antipyretic, emollient, demulcent, diuretic, antidiarrhoeal and antidysentric properties. It also acts as a good laxative, demulcent and astringent.
In the US, Europe, India and China psyllium has been used in traditional medicine.
Psyllium as a natural remedy is used for
- Constipation, regulates bowel functions
- Burning sensation
- Stimulating assimilation
- Decrease symptoms of fatigue and loss of energy
- Decreasing serum cholesterol and hence reducing the risk of heart attack
- Aids proper excretion of bile acids
- Eliminating accumulated toxins
- Prevents and cures chronic colitis
- Bad breath
Be innovative and add a pinch of isabgol to the fruit juices to give it a good texture.
A word of caution – it is preferable not to use it regularly after delivery as it affects the nerves and hips. In all other ways it is a boon to the present life style when it is not always possible to have a fibre rich diet. During this period one can cash in on psyllium.