Ashwagola- Isabgol (Plantago ovata)


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Ashwagola – Plantago ovata, more commonly known as Isabgol, is an Ayurvedic herb used for the treatment of constipation, distention of abdomen, herpes, piles. 

Latin name- Plantago ovata Forsk.
Family- Plantaginaceae

Scientific classification of Isabgula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. ovata


Psyllium husk Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Isabgol, Ashwagol

English name- Spogel seeds, Psyllium, Isphagul
Arabic name- Bajkathuna
Gujarathi name- Umatho jeeru
Kannada name- Isapgolu
Tamil name- Isappa
Telugu name- Isapgol

Sanskrit Synonym of Aswagol:
Ashwakarna- Seeds resemble ear of horse

Ishadgol- Seeds are little round
Sheetabeeja, Ashwagol

Morphology of Plantago ovata:
Aswagol is a small bushy shrub growing to a height of 2- 3 feet all over India. It is cultivated in some parts of North West India like Rajasthan and Punjab. The leaves are 4-8 inch long. The flower stalk is oval shaped. The fruits are little oval in shape and are about 7-8 mm long. The seeds inside the fruits are of ear shaped and white in color. The seeds are mucilaginous in nature.

Isabgol medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet)

Guna (Qualities) – Snigdha (Has moisture), Guru (Heavy), Picchila (Slimy)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Madhura)
Karma (Actions) – Vata pitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha) Some others opine that it balances down Kapha and Pitta Dosha.

Part used- Seeds, Husk of seed
Dosage- 5 to 10 g


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Chemical constituents of Plantago ovata:
The seed contains amino acids including valine, alanine, glutamic acid, glycine, cystine, lysine, leucine and tyrosine; and a mucilage consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides composed mainly of xylose, arabinose and galacturonicacid; rhamnoseandgalactose are also present. The seeds also gave aucubin, the antibacterial principle. The seed coat contains fatty acids mainlylinoleic, oleic and palmitic acids in decreasing concentrations.

ईषद् गोलं परं वृष्यं मधुरं ग्राहि शीतलम् ।
पिच्छिलं तुवरं किञ्चित् वातकृत् कफपित्तहत्॥
रक्तातिसारास्रपित्तं नाशयेदिति कीर्तितम् ॥         ( वैह्यामृतम् )

Uses of Ashwagol:

  • The seed husk of Ashwagol is soaked in water for a couple of hours and later it is consumed to treat distention of abdomen, constipation and flatulence.
  • The seed of Isabgol is made into powder and the powder is consumed in a dose of 3 to 5 g to treat burning sensation, excessive thirst in the body and fever.
  • The seeds are fried in ghee and consumed to treat Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Seeds of Isabgol are made into paste and applied externally in cases of Herpes, Localized swelling with burning sensation, area affected with pustules.
  • Cold infusion of the seeds of Isabgol is consumed in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat retention of urine.

Adverse effects: Excess use of the seeds or husk of Isabgol may cause severe purgation, leading to dehydration.


Ayurvedic medicines containing Psyllium husk:
Constiwin capsule: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine. It is a laxative used to treat constipation, piles, flatulence and fistula in ano.

Laxoherb powder: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to treat hyperacidity, piles, fissures, indigestion, flatulence and heart burn.

Golax powder: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine. It is used in the treatment of constipation, incomplete bowel evacuation, hemorrhoids, Irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis.

Laxogold capsule: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful to treat constipation.


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Research articles related to Plantago ovata:
Anti-tumor action: Plantago major (seeds and leaves) and Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (guar beans were analyzed for general chemical components including, fatty acids and amino acids. Plantago leaves extracts exhibited higher antioxidant activity than plantago seeds and guar beans extracts. The ethanolic, hot and cold extracts of plant induced anticancer activity with various degrees. Ethanolic extract of P. major leaves possessed the greatest effect on tumor cell growth (Dead 74%) followed by hot water extract of P. major leaves (Dead 54.6%).

Protection of Intestinal mucosa: To evaluate the anti-ulcerogenic effect on duodenal mucosa of the soluble fiber Plantago ovata husk, low-dose acetylsalicylic acid (10 mg/kg) was given orally to animals once daily for 14 or 28 days with and without Plantago ovata husk (100 mg/kg). 24 h after final dosing duodenal samples were removed for anatomopathological evaluation. Villi were examined by both light and scanning electron microscopy. Findings suggest that Plantago ovata husk may protect intestinal mucosa probably by limiting acetylsalicylic acid penetration into epithelial cells, although further studies are needed to confirm the same effect in other experimental models of induced mucosal damage and to elucidate the mechanisms of fiber protection.


Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

01 September 2013

Encyclopedia of Indian Medicinal Plants/Herbs mainly using in Ayurveda with good quality pictures and information like therapeutic usage of Medicinal Plants, cultivation, morphology, habitat, flower characters, Chemical content, parts used, research works etc.

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