The husk and seed of Plantago ovata are commonly known as psyllium or Ispaghula.
Psyllium is widely used as a fiber supplement for the treatment of constipation. Psyllium
husk is obtained by milling the seed of P.ovata.
Psyllium is classified as a mucilaginous fiber due to its powerful ability to form a gel in water.
This ability comes from its role as the endosperm of the P. ovata seed, where it’s functions to
retain water in order to prevent the seed from drying out. Psyllium husk contains —
High proportion of hemicellulose
Galacturonic acid units (arabinoxylans)
35% soluble and 65% insoluble polysaccharides
Mechanism of action:
Most of the psyllium reach the caecum within four hours after ingestion in an intact and
highly polymerized form. Psyllium husk significantly increases the level of stool moisture, as
well as wet and dry stool weight and shorten gastrointestinal transit time. Anaerobic
fermentation of the soluble non-starch polysaccharides from psyllium seed results in the
production of short-chain fatty acids, acetate, propionate and butyrate in the intestine.
Butyric acid is the preferred oxidative substrate for colonocytes and may be helpful in the
treatment of ulcerative colitis. Psyllium has hypocholesterolemic effects also. It is assumed
that psyllium increases the activity of cholesterol alpha-hydroxylase, HMG-CoA reductase
and fractional turnover of both chenodeoxycholic and cholic acids. As a result it decreases
cholesterol absorption and lowers LDL cholesterol.DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Adult: 3.5 gm (1 sachet) 2 to 3 times daily with a glass of water.
Children (6 to 12 year of age): 2 gm to 3.5 gm (½ to 1 Sachet) 2 to 3 times daily with a glass
The daily dosage ranges from 12 to 40 gm. The powder products should be administered as
1 teaspoonful (3.4 gm to 6.0 gm) in 150 ml cool water or fruit juice and to be stirred or shook
for 3 to 5 second. The dose should be taken 30 to 60 minutes before or after taking other
Adverse reaction & precaution:
Incorrect administration procedure (with too little fluid) can cause the product to swell and
lead to obstruction of the esophagus or intestine, particularly with older people. Patients
with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency should avoid use of Psyllium due to its inhibitory
actions on pancreatic lipase.
Psyllium is contraindicated in patients who have pathological narrowing in the GIT, intestinal
obstruction, faecal impaction, difficulty swallowing or esophageal narrowing or difficulties
in regulating diabetes mellitus.
Concurrent use of licorice, laxatives and antidiabetic agents may result in increased risk of
hypokalemia and hypoglycemia. Carbamazepine bio-availability may be reduced during
concomitant administration of psyllium seed.
Pregnancy and lactation:
No adverse effects of Ispergul® has been reported.
Store in cool & dry place away from direct sunlight. Keep the medicine out of reach of