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Since May 10th 2008

Initial P

Paeonia lactiflora
Panax ginseng
Plantago afra
Platycodon grandiflorum
Piper methysticum
Polygala senega
Prunus africana
Prunus armeniaca
Plantago ovata
Pimpinella anisum
Passiflora incarnata
Psidium guajava
Punica granatum



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Untitled Document Plantago afra L (Plantaginaceae)
Related species often used interchangeably are P. indica L., P. ovata Forsk., or P. asiatica L. (Plantaginaceae)

P. psyllium L.

Local names
Psyllium seed, plantain seed, flea seed, Flohsamen, semences de psyllium

An annual, erect, glandular-hairy caulescent herb, with an erect branching stem (0.2–0.4 m in height); it possesses whorls of flattened linear to linear-lanceolate leaves from the upper axils of which flowering stalks as long as the leaves arise. The stalks terminate in ovate-elliptical spikes up to 12mm long. The upper bracts ovate-lanceolate up to 4 mm in length and somewhat similar in character to the lower bracts, but with chloroplastids fewer in the midrib of the proximal portion. The flowers are tetramerous with a calyx of 4 similar persistent, lanceolate sepals, each with green midrib and hyaline lamina, a hypocrateriform corolla of 4 gamopetalous hyaline petals inserted below the ovary, the tube surrounding the ovary and a portion of the filiform, hairy style, the limb with 4-lanceolate, acuminate lobes. The fruit is membranous, 2-celled and 2-seeded

Plant material used

Chemical assays
Mucilage (10–30%). Plantago products can be assayed for their fibre content by the method described by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists

Major chemical constituents
Plantago seeds contain 10–30% mucilaginous hydrocolloid, which is localized in the outer seed-coat (husk) and is the major, active principle. The mucilage is composed of a soluble polysaccharide fraction containing mainly arabinoxylans (85%). The polymer backbone is a xylan with 1- 3 and 1 - 4 linkages, with no apparent regularity in their distribution. The monosaccharides in this main chain are substituted on C-2 or C-3 by L-arabinose, D-xylose, and a-Dgalacturonyl-( 1 - 2)-L-rhamnose. In addition, secondary metabolites in the seed include sterols, triterpenes, and aucubin glycosides

Dosage forms
Seeds, powder, and granules. Store in well-closed containers, in a cool dry place, protected from light.

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
As a bulk-forming laxative used to restore and maintain regularity. Semen Plantaginis is indicated in the treatment of chronic constipation, temporary constipation due to illness or pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation related to duodenal ulcer or diverticulitis. It is also used to soften the stools of those with haemorrhoids, or after anorectal surgery.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
While Semen Plantaginis is primarily used in the treatment of constipation, it has also been used effectively in the short-term symptomatic treatment of diarrhoea of various etiologies

Uses described in traditional medicine
Other medical uses claimed for Semen Plantaginis include use as an expectorant and antitussive, an antibacterial agent, and a diuretic and in the treatment of rheumatic and gouty afflictions, glandular swelling, and bronchitis

Proven pharmacological activity
Human studies
Antidiarrhoeal, Anticonstipation,

Known hypersensitivity or allergy to the plant; faecal impaction or intestinal obstruction; diabetes mellitus where insulin adjustment is difficult.

Semen Plantaginis products should always be taken with sufficient amounts of liquid, and at least half an hour after other medications to prevent delayed absorption of the latter. If bleeding or no response occurs after ingesting the drug, or if abdominal pain occurs 48 hours after treatment, treatment should be stopped and medical advice sought. If diarrhoea persists longer than 3 or 4 days, medical attention should be sought. To prevent the generation of airborne dust, users should spoon the product from the container directly into a drinking glass and then add liquid. To minimize the potential for allergic reaction, health professionals who frequently ispense powdered Semen Plantaginis should avoid inhaling airborne dust while handling these products.

Semen Plantaginis should be taken with adequate volumes of fluid. It should never be taken orally as the dried powder, because of the possibility of bowel obstruction. In patients who are confined to bed or do little physical exercise, a medical examination may be necessary prior to treatment with the drug.

Drug interactions
Bulking agents have been reported to diminish the absorption of some minerals (calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc), vitamin B12, cardiac glycosides, and coumarin derivatives. The co-administration of Semen Plantaginis with lithium salts has been reported to reduce the plasma concentrations of the lithium salts and may inhibit their absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Semen Plantaginis has also been reported to decrease both the rate and extent of carbamazepine absorption, inducing subclinical levels of the drug. Therefore, ingestion of lithium salts or carbamazepine and Semen Plantaginis should be separated in time as far as possible. Individual monitoring of the plasma levels of the drug in patients taking Semen Plantaginis products is also recommended. Insulin-dependent diabetic people may require less insulin.

Other precautions
No information available concerning carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility; drug and laboratory test interactions; nursing mothers, paediatric use, or teratogenic or non-teratogenic effects on pregnancy.

Adverse reactions
Sudden increases in dietary fibre may cause temporary gas and bloating. These side-effects may be reduced by gradually increasing fibre intake, starting at one dose per day and gradually increasing to three doses per day. Occasional flatulence and bloating may be reduced by decreasing the amount of Semen Plantaginis taken for a few days. Allergic reactions to Plantago products in response to ingestion or inhalation have been reported, especially after previous occupational exposure to these products (34–36). These reactions range from urticarial rashes to anaphylactic reactions (rare). One case of fatal bronchospasm has been reported in a Plantagosensitive patient with asthma

The suggested average dose is 7.5 g dissolved in 240 ml water or juice taken orally 1–3 times daily depending on the individual response. The recommended dose for children aged 6–12 years is one-half the adult dose. For children under 6 years, a physician should be consulted. An additional glass of liquid is recommended after ingestion of the drug and generally provides an optimal response. Continued use for 2 or 3 days is needed for maximum laxative benefit


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