Psyllium is a low herbaceous annual plant native to Iran and India, extensively cultivated there and in other countries, including Pakistan. In India – Gujarat, Maharastra, Punjab and in some parts of Rajasthan.
Plantago seeds contain 10–30% mucilaginous hydrocolloid, which is localized in the outer seed-coat (husk) and is the major, active principle.
The mucilage is composed of a soluble polysaccharide fraction containing mainly arabinoxylans (85%).
It is used for the treatment of habitual constipation.
It is used in conditions in which easy defaecation with soft stool is desirable, e.g. in cases of painful defaecation after rectal or anal surgery, anal fissures and haemorrhoids.
Also used in patients to whom an increased daily fibre intake may be advisable e.g. as an adjuvant in constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome, as an adjuvant to diet in hypercholesterolemia.