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General Practice 2023

Plantago ovata: what is it for and how to use it

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Plantago ovata: what is it for and how to use it
Plantago ovata: what is it for and how to use it
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Plantago ovata is a medicinal plant, also known as psyllium, which has laxative, stimulant and antidiabetic properties, being widely used for constipation or to help regulate high cholesterol, blood sugar levels or even to help with weight loss.

The normally used part of Plantago ovata is the seeds, from which the thick gel rich in soluble fibers is obtained, which absorb water in the intestine, leaving the feces more humid, regularizing the intestine. In addition, the fiber in the seeds helps to delay the absorption of food, which decreases the absorption of fats and sugars from food, in addition to increasing satiety.

Plantago ovata can be purchased at he alth food stores or compounding pharmacies and must be used under the guidance of a doctor, nutritionist or other he alth professional who has experience with the use of medicinal plants.

What is it for

Plantago ovata has laxative, stimulant, antidiabetic, antidiarrheal properties, being normally indicated for:

  • Constipation;
  • High cholesterol;
  • Diabetes;
  • Excessive intestinal gas;
  • Slimming.

Furthermore, Plantago ovata can help with diarrhea as the soluble fiber absorbs water and can increase stool thickness, slowing its passage through the intestines and decreasing bowel movements, relieving diarrhea.

Although it has many benefits, Plantago ovata should be used with the guidance of a doctor, nutritionist or herbalist.

How to use

The normally used part of Plantago ovata are the seeds, from which the thick gel rich in soluble fibers is extracted, with medicinal effect.

  • Plantago ovata tea: boil 3 grams of Plantago ovata seeds in 100 mL of water for 5 minutes. Leave to rest until cool, strain and take up to 3 times a day, preferably before meals, for a maximum of 7 days in a row, or according to medical advice.

For people who use medication, it is recommended to take Plantago ovata 2 hours before or 2 hours after other medicines, so as not to interfere with the absorption and effect of the medicines.

Another way to use Plantago ovata is in the form of flour, produced from the seeds of this plant, found in he alth food stores, and can be added to juices, yogurts or fruit salads, for example. See other ways to use Plantago ovata.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that can arise while using Plantago ovata are excess gas, abdominal pain or bloating.

It is advised to discontinue the use of Plantago ovata and seek medical help immediately if the constipation lasts for more than 7 days, or the person has blood in the stool, nausea, vomiting or severe stomach pain, as this could be a sign of intestinal obstruction.

Also, although rare, Plantago ovata can cause severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Therefore, you should stop using it and seek the nearest emergency department if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough, feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face, or hives. Know how to identify the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

Who should not use

Plantago ovata should not be used by children under the age of 12, pregnant or nursing women.

Furthermore, Plantago ovata should not be used by people who have difficulty swallowing, intestinal obstruction, chronic constipation, constipation after surgery, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, rectal bleeding, failure to defecate even after the use of laxatives, diabetes with difficult control of insulin doses or pancreatic insufficiency.

This plant should also not be used by people who are allergic to Plantago ovata.

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