Ispaghula consists of the dried seeds of Plantago ovata, Forskohl (N.O. Plantagineae), also known as Plantago Ispaghula, Roxburgh, a herbaceous plant growing in India and Persia. The seeds are about 2 to 3 millimetres long and 1 to 1.5 millimetres wide, pale greyish-brown in colour, and boat-shaped, one end being slightly more pointed than the other. On the convex surface there is a small elongated brown spot. When soaked in water they become surrounded with a transparent, colourless mucilage. They have a mucilaginous taste, but no odour. Psyllium seeds are the dried seeds of Plantago Psyllium (Psyllium pulicaria), a native of Barbary and Southern Europe. They are much smaller than ispaghula seeds, and are brown in colour. The seed-coats contain a large quantity of mucilage, and the seeds are taken dry or mixed with water in chronic diarrhoea and in atony of the intestine with constipation. They are much used in Continental practice.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of ispaghula is the mucilage which is contained in the seed coat. The drug also contains proteins, fixed oil, etc.
Action and Uses.—Ispaghula is official in India and the Eastern Colonies, where it is used as an equivalent of linseed or barley, and the seeds are much used in the East in dysentery and diarrhoea. The decoction is employed as a cooling demulcent drink, or the seeds are mixed with a little sugar and taken dry. In this form they take up water in the intestinal canal, the resulting mucilage acting as a protection to the inflamed mucous membranes. The crushed seeds mixed with hot water are used externally as a poultice.
Dose.—3 to 10 grammes (50 to 150 grains).
- Decoctum Ispaghulae, I.C.A.—DECOCTION OF ISPAGHULA.
- Ispaghula, bruised, 1.37; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. Add the bruised ispaghula to 120 of the water, boil for ten minutes, strain, and make up to the required volume, if necessary, by passing distilled water through the strainer. Decoction of ispaghula is official in India and the Eastern Colonies, where it is used as a demulcent in diarrhoea. It may be taken unstrained, the seeds being swallowed with the mucilage. The action is similar to that of linseed. Dose.—15 to 60 mils (1/2 to 2 fluid ounces).
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.