Plantago ovata Forsk

Plantago ovate Forsk.


Botanical Name:         Plantago ovate Forsk.Plantago ovate Forsk.

Synonym:                    P.ispagula Roxb.

Kingdom:                    Plantae

Order:                          Lamiales

Family:                        Plantaginaceae

Genus:                         Plantago

Sindhi Name:              Ispangar

Local Name:                Ispaghul

English Name:             Spogel seeds, blond psyllium

Part Used:                   Seeds and husk


Plantago ovata Forsk. is a short-stemmed, highly cross-pollinated, annual herb which attains a height of 30-40 cm. Leaves are alternate and coated with fine hairs.1 Flowers are small, numerous, white and four parted. Seeds are dark red and hard. Root system has well-developed tap root with few fibrous secondary roots. A large number of flowering shoots arise from the base of the plant. Plants flower about 60 days after planting. Seeds are enclosed in capsules that open at maturity.


Plantago ovata Forsk. is found from the Mediterranian regions to the deserts of Kizil Kum, Afghanistan and Pakistan.6 It thrives in warm, temperate regions. It is also produced commercially in several European countries.

Ethanomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:

Ispaghol along with milk is drunk once a day for the treatment of prickly heat. Ispaghol is boiled in water and directly applied on wounds. It is added in boiled goat milk and applied topically on the affected skin part for the treatment of pyoderma. Pyoderma is also treated by applying the ground paste of bitter apple and ispaghol. Boils are treated by applying ispaghol paste along with water in District Sukkur.


Plantago ovate Forsk. is a mixture of polysaccharides: pentoses, hexoses, and uronic acids. Seed contains about 47% soluble fiber and husk extracts generally consist of 67-71% soluble fiber and approximately 85% total fiber by weight.9, 10 It has the greatest level of soluble dietary fiber in any grain source and a high content of hemicelluloses.11,1 2 Acetoside, plantamajoside and phenylethyanoids are its important phytoconstituents. Oil from the seeds has a high percentage of linoleic acid and oleic acid and a small percentage of linolenic acid. It also consists of digestible proteins.13 The major constituent of Plantago ovate Forsk. is a mucilaginous hydrocolloid, which is a soluble polysaccharide, composed of arabinoxylan. Another major constituent of ispaghol is  5–10% fixed oil.14

 Chemical Structures:


Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific studies:

Plantago ovata Forsk. has the property of absorbing and retaining water so it is taken in diarrhea. It regulates bowel movement.1 It flushes out toxins of the body through stools. It is also taken in urinary tract infections.4 Seed and husk are used in inflammatory conditions.5 It is also used topically to treat skin irritations, including poison ivy reactions, insect bites and stings.7 Plantago ovata Forsk. is used as a laxative, emollient and demulcent.8

Seeds of Plantago ovata Forsk. give acubin which is an antibacterial principle.3 It reduces constipation, diabetes and can be used in colon cancer. It lowers circulating blood cholesterol, by excretion of the excess fats.15 Psyllium husk is reported for its anti-edema effect.16 It also possesses chemoprotective and glucose lowering effects.17


  • Sharma, R. (2004), Agro Techniques of Medicinal Plants, p. 120-121, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110035, India.
  • Veitch, N. C. (2012), Herbal Medicines, p.b439, Pharmaceutical Publishers Press, Editorial London, United Kingdom.
  • Narasimha Rao, S. P. V. (1992), Selected Medicinal Plants of India, , p.251, Tata press Ltd, Bombay-400 025, India.
  • Khare, C. P. (2007), Indian Medicinal plants, p. 498-499, Springer Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
  • Flora Aegyptiaco-Arabica. (1 Oct 1775), p. 31 ( Aegypt.-Arab.)
  • Rohilla, Ashok K.; Kumar, Mukesh; Sindhu, A.; Boora, K. S. From African Journal of Biotechnology (2012), 11(92), 15835-15842. Language: English, Database: Caplus, DOI:10.5897/AJB12.681.
  • Davidson, M. H., Maki, K. C., Kong, J. C., Dugan, L. D., Torri, S. A., Hall, H. A., Drennan, K. B., Anderson, S. M., Fulgoni, V. L., Saldanha, L. G., and Olson, B. H. Long-term effects of consuming foods containing psyllium seed husk on serum lipids in subjects with hypercholesterolemia. Am J Clin Nutr (1998); 67(3):367-376. 9497178
  • Gelissen, I. C., Brodie, B., and Eastwood, M. A. Effect of Plantago ovata (psyllium) husk and seeds on sterol metabolism: studies in normal and ileostomy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr (1994); 59(2):395-400. 8310991.
  • Kaplan, M. Anaphylactic reaction to “Heartwise”. N Engl J Med 10-111990;323(15):1072-1073. 2215571.
  • Glore, S. R., Van Treeck, D., Knehans, A. W., and Guild, M. Soluble fiber and serum lipids: a literature review. J Am Diet Assoc (1994); 94(4):425-436. 8144811 –
  • Murai, M., Tamayama, Y., and Nishibe, S. Phenylethanoids in the herb of Plantago lanceolata and inhibitory effect on arachidonic acid-induced mouse ear edema. Planta Med (1995); 61(5):479-480. 7480214
  • Frati-Munari, A. C., Castillo-Insunza, M. R., Riva-Pinal, H., Ariza-Andraca, C. R., and Banales-Ham, M. Effect of Plantago psyllium mucilage on the glucose tolerance test. Arch Invest Med (Mex) (1985); 16(2):191-197. 3907568