"Ispaghula consists of the dried seeds of Plantago ovata, Forsk." Br.
Ispaghue, Spogel Seeds.
Plantago ovata (P. Ispaghula Roxb.) is a herbaceous plant (Fam. Plantaginaceae) growing in India and Persia and extending westward to Spain and the Canary Islands. It is either erect or decumbent and varies in height from 2.5 cm. to 1 dm. The leaves are ovate and either glabrous or shaggy hairy. The flower spikes are either cylindrical or reduced to a globular head. The seeds closely resemble those of other species of Plantago.
They are described as follows: "Seeds boat-shaped, somewhat acute at one end, from two to three millimetres long and from one to one and a half millimetres wide; pale greyish-brown, with a darker elongated spot on the convex side; on the concave side the hilum covered with the remains of a thin white membrane. In water the testa swells, producing a viscous mucilage. No odor or taste." Br.
The seeds of the Plantago amplexicaulis Cav. are also sold in the Indian bazaars as Ispaghula. They resemble the official seeds, but are of a darker color.
They yield to water a viscid mucilage. They are used in India as a demulcent in dysentery and various intestinal irritations, and are also slightly laxative. On roasting they are said to become astringent, and as such are used for diarrheas, especially of children. By European practitioners they have been chiefly employed in chronic diarrhea. In India they are also used for their demulcent effect in catarrhal conditions, especially of the genito-urinary tract.
Dose from one to two and a half drachms (3.9-9.8 Gm.).
Off. Prep.—Decoctum Ispaghulae, Br.