(Last Updated on : 05/03/2009)
Ispaghula is native to India, and has been used comprehensively in the Indian system of medicine since prehistoric periods. It was prescribed by earliest physicians as a remedy for inflammatory and functional imbalances of the mucous membranes of the gastro-intestinal and genito-urinary system.
Methods of usage
Ispaghula possesses excellent properties to smoothen out tough bowel movements, and everything associated with stomach and anal disorders.
Healing Power and Medicinal Properties of ispaghula
The medicinal attributes of the seeds are predominately due to its huge amount of mucilage and albuminous matter present in them. The seeds are cooling and moderately purgative. They act as a diuretic and also have a comforting effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
Ispaghula husk (Ishabgul-ki-bhusi) is the dry seed-cover of the plant, received by grinding the seeds and separating the husk by winnowing. The husk has analogous properties as the seeds. It also has the benefit of travelling undisturbed through the alimentary canal without causing pain. The husk can be consumed dry and is easier to use compared to the whole seeds.
Constipation cured by ispaghula
Due to its soothing effect on the mucous membranes, ispaghula is used in constipation. The seeds should be dowsed in water before use, which makes them disintegrate in the alimentary tract. The huge amount of mucilage in the seeds increases the bulk of stool, thus smoothening the tract. The action is primarily mechanical, rather than physiological. Two tablespoons of the seeds should be consumed with milk or water in this state. The seeds are particularly useful in acute constipation, distinguished by spasms.
Dysentery cured by ispaghula
Ispaghula seeds are an admired cure for several kinds of acute dysentery and diarrhoea. In case of weightiness in stomach and intestines in dysentery, around 50 grams of castor oil should be dispensed with milk to smoothen out hard clods of stools. When a few motions have cleared up the intestines, 12 grams of ispaghula seeds mixed with about 100 grams of curd should be taken three to four times during the day.
A concoction of 180 grams each of the seeds and sugar candy given three or four times daily is an efficacious remedy for slimy dysentery. For acute diarrhoea and dysentery, the seeds can be taken both as a decoction or extract of powder with sugar.
Abdominal Pain healed by ispaghula
Ispaghula is useful in treating frequent colic in the belly, induced by stomach ulcers. The seeds with husk are dowsed in water or milk for a few hours. The liquid is sieved and can be taken at night. The high viscous content in the herb forms a covering inside the intestinal wall, which protects the lining mucus and helps in the curing of ulcers. Discomfort and gripe will also automatically decrease.
Piles healed by ispaghula
Ispaghula seeds are one of the most efficacious remedies for piles. While the high mucilage content in this herb heals constipation, the rich tannin content cures swelling and ulceration in the intestinal passage up to the anus. This double action helps cure piles.
Arteriosclerosis healed by ispaghula
The embryo oil of the seeds, containing 50% linoleic acid, forestalls arteriosclerosis. This oil is more active than safflower oil, and has been detected to diminish the serum cholesterol level in rabbits.
Gonorrhoea cured by ispaghula
Ispaghula is exceedingly helpful in treating gonorrhoea, because of its diuretic and comforting dimensions.
Whitlow cured by ispaghula
Ispaghula is a successful remedy in whitlow, affecting the flesh of the fingertip with an abscess. Around 12 grams of ispaghula should be dowsed in 45 grams of vinegar and massaged on the spot when the whole thing has bloated. The poultice-like assortment should be bandaged with a clean cloth and water splashed over it. The bandage should be changed every 3 hours. The swelling will lessen within 3 days.
Rheumatism healed by ispaghula
An emollient poultice made from the seeds with vinegar and oil is valuable for rheumatism and gout.
Ispaghula, also known as spogel seeds, is a nearly stemless tiny herb, covered with thick and soft bushy growth. It has extremely tapered leaves and tiny flowers in elliptical or cylindrical spikes. The upper half of its fruit opens like a lid and its seeds are boat-shaped. The seeds of this plant, also known as flea seeds, make up the drug.
The seeds contain a great amount of mucilage and a small amount of holoside planteose. The seeds also demonstrate the presence of a number of amino acids in the compounded form, viz. valine, alanine, glycine, glutamic acid, cystine, lysine, leucine and tyrosine. Valine, alanine and glutamic acid are also found in their independent forms. The Ispaghula embryo oil has been reported to be a superior source of linoleic acid.