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Herbs > Ayurvedic Herbs and their Healing Power > Isapghula
By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

The colloquial Asian name for isapghula is iasapgol and its botanical name is plantago ovata. Iasapgol is famous by the name spogel seeds or fleaseeds. Isapghula is a small and short herb with narrow leaves, minute flowers and oval fruits. When it ripens, the upper half of the fruit burst opens and the seeds see air. These seeds, also known as fleaseeds are white in colour, sweetish in taste and have medicinal value. Isapghula is indigenous to India and neighbouring countries. Isapghula is known to Indian system of medicine from ancient time and is used in many disorders as a corrective measure. It comes under the group of safer medicines and is used by common man in day to day problems without seeking medical advice.

In ayurveda, isapghula is extensively used for correcting digestive and urinary disorders, constipation topping the list. It is said that isapghula cools down inflamed and irritated mucous membrane. This property is valuable for digestive diseases like stomatitis, gastritis, colitis, food intolerence and urinary diseases like UTI, cystitis, gonococcal and nongonococcal urethritis etc. In diabetes mellitus where polyurea and repeated nocturnal micturition is the problem, isapghula helps to some extent by soothing the mucous membrane of urinary tract.

The medicinal properties of the herb are due to its mucilage and albuminous matter content. This gives seeds cooling properties in addition to laxative effect. They also have mild diuretic property. All these characters give soothing effect to mucosal lining of abdominal organs like stomach, small and large intestine, rectal canal and urogenital tract. Routinely isapghula husk (isapghula powder) is used as a medicine which is the dry seed cover of the plant obtained by crushing the seeds and separating husk from them. Husk has additional advantage. It gives roughage which is needful for gastrointestinal tract in addition to laxative effect. It helps in smoothening alimentary tract and cleaning it gently. One to two teaspoons of seeds/ husk are to be taken at bedtime preferably with warm water or warm milk. They help in forming bulk, binding stools together and solving day to day trouble of constipation. The medicine has important role in geriatrics where hard stools are a genuine problem. In bed ridden patients, in pregnant women where safer but longer laxative treatment is the requirement this gentle medicine in drug of choice.  In conditions like ulcerative colitis few patients have claimed benefits.

Ayurved suggests the use of isapghula in conditions like chronic dysentery and diarrhoea also. Here also it helps by its cooling properties. One ayurvedic school has recommended consuming isapghula at bedtime with buttermilk. Few ayurvedic practitioners/ traditional healers have given trials in abdominal colic cases and say that their patients are benefited. These individual benefits should be scientifically tested to support the statement. Similar clinical trials can be given for dry colon, haemorrhoids i.e. piles, fissures etc. Many a times it is seen that faulty diet is the root cause of the problem. The medicine can work well if it is used as a supplement to dietary changes.

In short, isapghula has cooling, mild laxative and mild diuretic properties. Use of the drug with common sense in gastrointestinal and urogenital troubles can help individual in solving the problem. The medicine is hundred percent harmless and can be safely taken without seeking medical advice.

For further information on Ayurveda and Visit India Herbs For Genuine Ayurvedic Medicines and Nutritional Supplements or contact Dr. Satish Kulkarni




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