Source, Etc

Ispaghul consists of the dried seeds of Plantago ovata, Forskal (N.O. Plantagineor), a herb widely distributed in the Punjab, Sind and Persia.

Description

The seeds are about 2 to 3 mm. long and 1 to 15 mm. wide, boat-shaped, pale greyish brown in colour, usually with a pinkish tinge; on the convex surface there is a small, elongated, brown spot; on the concave surface is the hilum covered with a thin, whitish membrane; when soaked in water the seed coat swells and the seeds become surrounded with a transparent, colourless mucilage free from taste and odour. One part of the seeds with twenty of water forms a thick, tasteless jelly.

1 Pharmacographia, p. 403.

Constituents

-The chief constituent is the mucilage which is contained in the cells of the epidermis; it swells and dissolves when the seeds are immersed in water.

Uses

In dysentery and chronic diarrhoea; taken dry they absorb water in the intestine yielding a protective mucilage; they are also used as a poultice.

Allied Drug

Psyllium seeds (flea seeds), the seeds of Plantago Psyllium, Linne, are similar but smaller, dark brown and shining; they are much used on the continent for diarrhoea.