Psyllium or Plantago ovata, has been used as a medicinal product throughout the world since ancient times. It has gained much importance in Ayurveda and Unani medicine because of its medicinal properties. Plantago ovata is a popular and well-known remedy for several digestive conditions. Recently, it has gained importance in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries.
What is Plantago ovata?
Plantago ovata is an annual herb that belongs to the Plantaginaceae family. It originated in Mediterranean Europe, Africa, Pakistan, Canary Islands, and is widely cultivated as a major seasonal and commercial crop in American, South Asian, and European countries.
Plantago ovata requires warm climate, dry or moist soil for the proper growth and development. It usually grows like a wild weed with a height of 12 to 18 inches and is completely covered with white, fuzzy hair. It produces narrow, basal, and green coloured leaves with small white colour flower spikes on the top. It has small, brown or reddish-brown coloured seeds.
What are the benefits of Plantago ovata?
The seed husk of Plantago ovata has several medicinal properties and is widely used in the prevention and treatment of the following conditions:
Hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol):
Traditionally, Plantago ovata is used to treat high blood pressure, digestive discomfort, kidney disease, cancers, and several skin diseases.
What are the medicinal properties of Plantago ovata?
Studies have reported the following medicinal properties:
What are the side effects of Plantago ovata?
Plantago ovata is safe when used appropriately as recommended for the prescribed duration. Take Plantago ovata with large amount of water to avoid the risk of intestinal obstruction. However, in some people, it may cause minor side effects, such as:
Using Plantago ovata safely:
The typical dose of Plantago ovata in adults is 7 to 24 grams in daily divided doses. However, the dose differs based on age, medical condition, and other medications used by the patients. Caution is advised while using Plantago ovata in individuals having the following conditions:
Colorectal adenoma (gland-like growths in the colon and rectum):
There is some evidence that the risk of adenoma recurrence increases with the use of Plantago ovata in individuals having a history of colorectal adenoma. Therefore, it is advised to avoid its use in people having such conditions.
Plantago ovata reduces blood sugar levels and its use with diabetic medicines may drop down blood sugar levels severely. Therefore, people using diabetes medicines along with these extract should check their blood sugar levels regularly.
Low blood pressure:
Plantago ovata have blood pressure lowering properties, and its use should be avoided in people who have low blood pressure. However, caution is advised in people who are taking Plantago ovata along with medicines to treat high blood pressure.
The herb affects blood sugar levels during and after the surgery. So, its use should be avoided at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
The risk of choking increases if this herb is used in people who have swallowing disorders.