Herb: Fleawort

Latin name: Plantago psyllia

Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Medicinal use of Fleawort:

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. 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 macerated and decocted seeds yield a rich mucilage that is used in relieving skin irritations and reddened eyelids.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Dry places in S. Europe. Found wild on most well-drained soils.

Edible parts of Fleawort:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. Seed - sprouted and eaten in salads. Due to their mucilaginous quality, the sprouts are usually grown on clay or other porous materials.

Other uses of the herb:

The seeds are used in face-masks in order to soften the skin. A type of gum is obtained from the seeds and used for making fabric dressings.

Propagation of Fleawort:

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 places in S. Europe. Found wild on most well-drained soils.

Known hazards of Plantago psyllia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.