Herb: Blond Psyllium

Latin name: Plantago ovata

Synonyms: Plantago decumbens, Plantago ispaghula

Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Medicinal use of Blond Psyllium:

Psyllium has been used as a safe and effective laxative for thousands of years in Western herbal medicine. Both the dried seeds and the seed husks are demulcent, emollient and laxative. They are used in the treatment of dysentery, catarrhal conditions of the genito-urinary tract, inflamed membranes of the intestinal canal etc. The seeds have a mucilaginous coat and swell to several times their volume when in water. The seeds and the husks contain high levels of fibre, they expand and become highly gelatinous when soaked in water. By maintaining a high water content within the large bowel they increase the bulk of the stool, easing its passage. They are used as a demulcent and as a bulk laxative in the treatment of constipation, dysentery and other intestinal complaints, having a soothing and regulatory effect upon the system. Their regulatory effect on the digestive system means that they can also be used in the treatment of diarrhoea and by helping to soften the stool they reduce the irritation of haemorrhoids. The jelly-like mucilage produced when psyllium is soaked in water has the ability to absorb toxins within the large bowel. Thus it helps to remove toxins from the body and can be used to reduce auto-toxicity. The oil in the seed embryo contains 50% linoleic acid and has been used as a preventative of atherosclerosis. It is also effective in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

Description of the plant:


Habitat of the herb:

Dry open places.

Edible parts of Blond Psyllium:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. The mucilage contained in the seedcoat is used as a stabilizer in ice cream, chocolate etc. Seed - sprouted and eaten in salads.

Other uses of the herb:

A mucilage found in the seed coat is sometimes used as a starch to stiffen linen.

Propagation of Blond Psyllium:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry open places.

Known hazards of Plantago ovata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.