Home My Blog Herb Profiles Botanical Names Glossary Treatments Recipes Other stuff HERB SHOP Books & Equipment Useful Links

Plantago psyllium (L)


Synonyms: Dark psyllium, Flea seed, psyllion, Spanish or French psyllium

Order: Plantaginaceae

Description: This is annual herb grown in Southern Europe and North West Africa. The seeds are glossy dark brown to black, often with a reddish hue. The plant is found in southern Europe, North Africa and Asia.

Parts used: Dried ripe seed

Collection: When ripe

Constituents: Mucilage, fixed oil, protein, starch

Actions: Demulcent, bulk laxative

Indications: Chronic constipation, dysentery, chronic diarrhoea, cystitis, poultice for furunculosis.

Therapeutics and Pharmacology: Psyllium is used to treat sluggish or irritable bowels. Its non-irritant nature means that it is safe to use in such conditions as Crohn's disease. It may be applied topically for infections and furunculosis.

Combinations: With Ulmus as a poultice

Caution: Adequate fluid should be taken with the seed to ensure that it swells effectively in the stomach.

Preparation and Dosage:

Regulatory status GSL

Seeds: 5-10g (3g in children) after soaking for several hours in water

Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 2-5ml

Additional Comments: The whole plant, as well as the seeds, of P.asiatica is used in Oriental medicine.



BHMA 1983 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, BHMA, Bournemouth.

Mabey, R. (ed.) 1991 The Complete New Herbal, Penguin, London.

Mills, S.Y. 1993 The A-Z of Modern Herbalism, Diamond Books, London.

Ody, P. 1993 The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal, Dorling Kindersley, London.

Weiss, R.F. 1991 Herbal Medicine, Beaconsfield Arcanum, Beaconsfield.

Wren, R.C. 1988 Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, C.W.Daniel, Saffron Walden.


Back to top

Previous herb Back to Index Next herb


Contact: [email protected] Please complete the 'Subject' heading or your email will be assumed to be spam and automatically deleted. Before you contact me, I'd be grateful if you would please check to see if this website has the answer to your question (search box at the top of the homepage) - I have time to answer only a few of the many emails that arrive in my inbox every day. See also the statement below:

For your safety I am prohibited from giving specific medical advice to individuals over the internet or telephone so please do not waste your time or mine by emailing or calling me with detailed information about your health problems - I can only undertake face-to-face consultations for what should be obvious reasons. Diagnoses cannot be made remotely, and I am unable to offer any advice or treatment until I am completely satisfied that I know what I'm dealing with!  The herb profiles and treatment suggestions on this website will help enable you to choose which herbs might be appropriate for minor ailments. For more serious or chronic conditions you should seek professional advice. This is particularly important if you are taking medication from your doctor or pharmacist, as some herbs can interact adversely with other drugs. If you would like to have a consultation with a medical herbalist then you should click here  then scroll to 'Professional Organisations' at the bottom of the page to find a qualified practitioner in your area.

Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH

Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK

Last updated 27th November 2014     ęPurple Sage Botanicals