Acta Scientific Microbiology (ISSN: 2581-3226)

Review ArticleVolume 4 Issue 3

Nutritional and Therapeutic Benefits of Psyllium Husk (Plantago Ovata)

Abdul Waheed Khan1, Waseem Khalid2*, Saira Safdar2, Muhammad Usman3, Muhammad Ahsan Shakeel3,Nuzhut Jamal4, Ravi Prakash Jha5, Muniza Baig4, Sonia Shehzadi6, Muhammad Zubair Khalid2 and Muhammad Kamran Shahid1

1National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agricultural Faisalabad, Pakistan
2Institute of Home and Food Sciences, Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan
3Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan
4Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan
5Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
6Institute of Soil Science, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan

*Corresponding Author: Waseem Khalid, Institute of Home and Food Sciences, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Received: January 02, 2021; Published: February 12, 2021

Citation: Waseem Khalid., et al. “Nutritional and Therapeutic Benefits of Psyllium Husk (Plantago Ovata)”. Acta Scientific Microbiology 4.3 (2021): 43-50.


  Psyillum Husk (Plantago Ovata) is useful in allopathic and ayurvedic treatment. Psyillum is a polysaccharide that has characteristics of soluble fiber and insoluble fiber and both soluble and insoluble fiber are more beneficial for humans. Its active ingredient is Metamucil which helps in different disease prevention. Psyillum husk also helps in lowering the cholesterol and increase the production of bile in this way lowers the cholesterol level in the human body Which helps out in lowering the LDL-level and triglycerides. Psyillum husk has dietary fiber that aid in reducing obesity and Psyillum husk plant has specific flavonoids that prevent the formation of cancer cells.

Keywords: Psyillum; Fiber; Cholesterol; Obesity; Constipation; Cancer


  Psyllium is from the Latin “planta,” which means “sole of the foot,” and ovata relates to the form of the leaves. It is additionally recognized through distinctive names consisting of psyllium, ispaghula, aspaghol, spogel, ghoda, jiru, obeko, bazarqutuna, and grappicol [1]. There are many species, however P ovata is special amid them as it produces a copious load of food-grade fiber with appropriate binding, demulcent, laxative, hypolipidemic, and glucose-regulating stuff [2]. Psyllium is an essential medicinal plant cultivated in India, Pakistan, and Iran. It is an economically vital trading crop cultivated in India, Pakistan, and Iran. India has a practical monopoly on the export of husk and seed in world markets [3].

  Plantago ovata is an annual herb with elements that have advantageous results on fitness and that are as well used in meal product advancement [4,5]. The psyllium seed's husk is prosperous in arabinoxylans, and this aspect is used for treating definite gastrointestinal problems. It is additionally used as an ingredient in meals to upgrade their fiber content, texture, and rheological and sensory traits [6].

  Psyllium or ispaghula is the frequent title used for numerous members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used commercially for the manufacturing of mucilage. Psyllium is generally used as a dietary fiber to relieve signs of each constipation and slight diarrhea, and sometimes as a meal thickener [7]. It is often used as a meal ingredient in manufactured breakfast cereals which can also make a contribution to a healthful lifestyle through enhancing blood LDL cholesterol tiers and gastrointestinal characteristics [8]. The biologically active ingredient of psyllium is made up of hazardous "arabinoxylan" Its main linkage consists of the Xylose unit which is further connected to arabinose and xylose as a secondary pathway [9].

  Psyllium had been used by Hindus and Muslim doctors in their medicines about 1000 years ago to cure intestinal tract diseases. The psyllium was recognized by the Chinese and has been known in history before the birth of Christ. Psyllium is known both as a plant and also for its seeds. At the start of English history Psyllium plant always had been prominent due to its property of biorestoration, it was known as the "mother herb". Since the sixteenth century, this plant was used for intestinal well-being in Europe. The Americans copied uses of this herb from traditional European uses [10].

Nutritional composition

  Psyllium is derived from Plantago ovata. The husks of the seeds are more commonly used, but the seeds themselves have also been administered. Psyllium is a mixture of polysaccharides: pentoses, hexoses, and uronic acids. Seed preparations contain approximately 47% soluble fiber by weight and husk preparations generally consist of 67-71% soluble fiber and approximately 85% total fiber by weight [11]. Table 1 shown the nutritional parameters of Psyllium husk.


Quantity (%)


6.43 ± 0.05


3.85 ± 0.04

Crude protein

2.08 ± 0.06

Crude fat

0.09 ± 0.01

Crude fiber

3.83 ± 0.02

Nitrogen free extract (NFE)

83.72 ± 0.08

Dietary fibers

76.63 ± 1.32


46.71 ± 2.14

Table 1: Compositional Analysis of Psyllium Husk [12].

  Psyllium composition of whole psyllium seeds and psyllium hull [13,14]. Psyllium hull is a milling manufacturer good of seed and is approximately 10% to 25% of the weight of the dried seed [12]. In the husk, more than 60% of hemicellulose and arabinoxylans that is water-soluble. The xylan backbone of arabinoxylans is related to arabinose, galacturonic and rhamnose acid units [5,13]. Psyllium husk contains some minerals that shown in table 2.

Contents Psyllium Husk














Table 1: Mineral Analysis of Psyllium Husk [14].

  Soluble commonly (arabinoxylans), insoluble polysaccharides (cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose) as well as tannins, flavonoids and phenols are the parts of the entire psyllium crop, arabinoxylan, Psyllium, and husk seeds [15].

Soluble polysaccharides

  Soluble fibers in psyllium are related to bile acids withinside the small gut that shapes a compound that forestalls the re-absorption of bile through the small gut, thereby enhancing the manufacturing and secretion of bile acids to update the lacking acids [16].

  The soluble fiber in psyllium is the polysaccharide heteroxylan, hemicellulose. Psyllium is produced commonly for its mucilage content. The title mucilage describes a set of clear, colorless, gelling retailers derived from plants. The mucilage acquired from psyllium comes from the seed coat. Mucilage is received through mechanical milling (i.e. grinding) of the outer layer of the seed. Mucilage yield quantities to about 25% (by weight) of the whole seed yield. Plantago-seed mucilage is frequently referred to as husk or psyllium husk. The milled seed mucilage is a white fibrous substance that is hydrophilic, which means that its molecular shape reasons it to entice and bind to water. Upon absorbing water, the clear, colorless, mucilaginous gel that varieties magnify in size by tenfold or greater [17]. Psyllium husk seeds containing the water-soluble hydrophilic mucilloid fiber are affluent in distinct primary and secondary metabolites and additionally many bioactive compounds [18].

  In different body tissues, propionates are primarily used by the liver and directly help in the catabolic of carbohydrates. Acetate basically avoids the catabolic process. Digestion of nutrients in the colon and liver to be metabolized through propanal tissues. Moreover, clumsy fiber and growth rate of bacteria cells cause bowel incontinence which plays a major role in reducing constipation, colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disordered." Soluble fiber" is a "soluble" in "Water. When it mixed with the aqueous medium it turns into a gel-like substance and increases in size [17].

  Soluble fiber has Scientific names such as Gum, pectin and hemicellulose. Whereas Insoluble fiber does not mix with water. It Moves into the Digestive tract close to its original shape [19]. Insoluble fiber contains many benefits regarding intestinal health which included a reduced risk of hemorrhoids and constipation. Cellulose, some other hemicellulose and lignin are the Scientific name of insoluble fiber [7].

Insoluble polysaccharides

  A large spectrum of solubility is demonstrated by polysaccharides; several are insoluble in water, e.g. cellulose, various are readily dissolved in cold water, such as pullulan and gum arabic and several are soluble in hot water only, e.g., starch. Owing to the presence of multi-OH groups, polysaccharides are closely linked to water molecules. All the fibers are cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin and pectin. Specifically, they are all fibers in the cell walls of plants that can be found [15].

  It has been demonstrated that WSF decreases postprandial excursions of glucose and is known to have hypoglycemic properties. Test findings also show that there are hypocholesterolemic properties of a number of different soluble fibers, including guar, pectin, oat, psyllium and bran. such as cellulose and wheat bran are considered to provide protection against colon cancer growth [8].

  The insoluble fiber in the upper gastrointestinal tract that does not dissolve in water is inert to digestive enzymes. Wheat bran, cellulose and lignin are examples of this. In the large intestine, coarsely ground insoluble fiber induces mucus secretion, which provides bulking. There is no such impact on finely ground insoluble fiber and may potentially have a constipating effect. Some types of insoluble fiber may be fermented in the colon, such as resistant starches [20].

  A large spectrum of solubility is demonstrated by polysaccharides, many are insoluble in water, e.g. cellulose; some are soluble in hot water only, e.g. starch; and some are readily dissolved in cold water for example gum arabic and pullulan. Polysaccharide dissolution is distinct from that of the tiny crystalline molecule [18].

  Arabinoxylan is hemicellulose that consists of copolymers of two pentose sugars xylose and arabinose, present in both the primary and secondary cell walls of plants, including cereal grains and wood [21]. There are a significant number of 1,4-linked units of xylose in arabinoxylan chains. Many units of xylose are replaced by 2,3-linked arabinose residues [22].

  In-plant cells, arabinoxylans mainly serve a structural function. They are also sources of significant quantities of covalently bound phenolic acid and other ferulic acids. Phenolic acids can also be concerned in defense against fungal pathogens, as well as protection [23].

  One of the most important components of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers is arabinoxylans, that has been shown to have different health benefits. Moreover, arabinoxylans which shown to have been antioxidant activity due to their bound phenolic acids [24]. Their ability and viscosity for ion exchange is also partially conscientious for their favorable metabolic impacts [25].

Health benefits Psyllium husk as hypocholesterol agent

  Plantago ovata dietary supplements are an effective hypercholesterolemic tool that can reduce the amounts of cholesterol and egg yolk in birds' layers. It has been shown that foods containing dietary fiber facilitate long-term preservation of atherogenic low-LDL cholesterol. Psyllium seed husk fibre also reduces the amount of egg cholesterol [26].

  Use of psyllium in the food plan for three weeks or longer lowers blood LDL cholesterol degrees in human beings with increased LDL cholesterol [27], and lowers blood glucose measures in human beings with type two diabetes [28]. The use of psyllium for a month or longer produces a small depletion in systolic blood pressure [29].

  Total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol decreased by Psyillum ovato models in rat animals [30], albino rats induced by psyllium treatment for diabetic and hypercholesterolemia, confirming Psyillum's anti-diabetic and hypocholesterolemic behavior reduced serum glucose and cholesterol levels [16]. Rats feed with 10% defatted Psyllium husk and with a semi-purified diet containing higher amounts of HDL cholesterol and 0.5% nearly stabilized liver cholesterol and has triglycerides serum with lower serum overall cholesterol levels [31]. The psyllium husk was utilized as a cow's milk substitute for newborn calves, which showed a beneficial impact on physiological function leading to an improvement in the volume and size of the calf, with increased efficiency and wellbeing. Also showed the effect on the digestive mechanism and more vigorous intestinal fermentation [32].

  Anderson., et al. [33] found that a low-fat diet, offered every day with 10.2 grams of psyllium, resulted in a 4% reduction in overall blood cholesterol Compared to the placebo diet, 7% of LDL-cholesterol. Another research showed that a substantial decrease in total cholesterol was found in 176 elderly people who used psyllium for one year [32].

  Cholesterol is a kind of fats molecule that performs a key function withinside the synthesis of sure vital hormones, withinside the stabilization of molecular membranes and in different functions. However, hypercholesterolemia (hypercholesterolemia) is a chief hazard element for coronary heart sickness that may result in a coronary heart attack. Bile acid is synthesized withinside the liver from LDL cholesterol and excreted withinside the small gut, the principle courses of LDL cholesterol metabolism. Most of the bile acid is reabsorbed into the ileum and back to the liver to be secreted into the small gut through the intestinal movement, decreasing the fee of bile acid synthesis [34].

  LDL cholesterol is pulled From the bloodstream to provide bile acids, thereby reducing levels of cholesterol This absorption of bile acids through a massive variety of vulnerable binding sites at the shape of the polysaccharide will result in a growth withinside the secretion of fecal acids through stool, thereby growing the metabolism of LDL cholesterol to bile acid withinside the liver, Eliminates greater serum LDL cholesterol and as a result reduces serum LDL cholesterol concentration [33].

  In hypercholesterolemic guys, intake of 10.2 g Psyillum in keeping with a day alongside a low-fats food regimen diminished the serum overall LDL cholesterol through 4% and this discount through the Psyillum hydrophilic mucilloid became related primarily through stimulation of bile acid synthesis and to a degree through decreased LDL cholesterol absorption. It was proven that bile acid synthesis (7a-hydroxylase activity) became inspired through Psyllium ovate in unique animal fashions and additionally in people [35]. The change of LDL cholesterol withinside the liver to bile acid became a conventional mechanism to lessen LDL cholesterol, even as the Psyillum envelope impacts the absorption of LDL cholesterol and fats, which facilitates to decrease LDL cholesterol (Matheson, Colón, and Story, 1995).

Cholesterol-reducing consequences

  Studies on the consequences of psyllium on LDL cholesterol absorption were conflicting. One proposed hypocholesterolemic impact of psyllium is the "displacement" of nutritional fats through soluble fiber [36].

  Psyllium withinside the food regimen may also truly displace fat and LDL cholesterol withinside the food regimen, decreasing the quantity to be had for absorption, however now no longer at once affecting LDL cholesterol. Psyllium has been proven to grow fecal excretion of bile acids and LDL cholesterol, bind bile acids and LDL cholesterol withinside the intestines, permit much less movement for reabsorption, and reason the liver to apply greater LDL cholesterol to make bile acids [37].

  Fatty acids, propionate and acetate, had an oblique inhibitory impact on LDL cholesterol withinside the liver. These fatty acids are made from soluble fiber through microorganisms withinside the colon. In a human look at, psyllium diminished LDL, reduced LDL cholesterol absorption, and extended the fractional turnover of each chenodeoxycholic and cholic acids. sixteen The authors' end became that psyllium diminished LDL mostly through the stimulation of bile acid synthesis. Other researchers have additionally come to comparable conclusions [38].

  Hypocholesterolemic consequences of psyllium are in all likelihood imparted the extended fecal bile acid elimination, with compensatory growth in bile acid synthesis. An unmarried animal looks determined that psyllium, whilst brought to pre-current cholestyramine therapy, decreased hepatic LDL cholesterol content material and reversed the LDL receptor suppression caused through unmarried-agent resin therapy [16]. The hypocholesterolemic motion of psyllium and plant sterols may be defined in component through adjustments withinside the intravascular processing of lipoproteins and through will increase in LDL receptor-mediated uptake [38].

  Psyllium exhibited vicious traits all through small intestinal simulation, indicating the capability for those fibers to elicit blood glucose and lipid attenuation. Psyllium as a hypocholesterolemic agent in people Health advisers encouraged Psyillum withinside the everyday food regimen to fight excessive LDL cholesterol, which stays a hazardous element in particular for coronary heart sickness [39]. The impact of decreasing LDL cholesterol in Psyillum has been showing through numerous research as it lowers LDL and overall levels of cholesterol [16,38]. It is secure to apply as an accessory to a low-fat food regimen to deal with slight to slight hypercholesterolemia [30]. Over the direction of eight weeks of experience, wholesome ladies and men among the long time of 21 and 70 years have been assigned baseline hypercholesterolemia with Psyillum [39]. Observed a lower in LDL and overall LDL cholesterol concentrations of 5.1 and three.5%, respectively. An aggregate of 15 g of Psyillum supplementation and 10 mg of simvastatin confirmed the impact of decreasing LDL cholesterol in lipid-reducing sufferers elderly 18 to 80, in comparison to twenty mg of simvastatin. The Psyillum envelope became greater powerful to decrease levels of cholesterol withinside the blood Population below 60 in comparison to older sufferers [40].

  The impact became extra in guys than in ladies The change of LDL cholesterol with inside the liver to bile acid became a conventional mechanism to lessen LDL cholesterol, even as the Psyillum envelope impacts the absorption of LDL cholesterol and fats, which facilitates to decrease LDL cholesterol [41].

Control obesity by psyillum husk

  Obesity prevalence has risen dramatically in children and teenagers from developing countries over the past decades and glucose tolerance and insulin resistance reduction are commonly found. In order to enhance glucose homeostasis in these infants, some dietary elements, such as foods with dietary fiber and a low glycemic index should be utilized. A combination of neutral and acidic polysaccharides containing galacturonic acid with a soluble and insoluble fiber ratio of 30-70% is the psyllium or ispaghula husk (seed husk of Plantago ovato) [42]. Psyllium can theoretically enrich certain foods, such as breakfast cereals, pasta, bread and snack foods. The goal of the current research is to determine the efficacy of Psyillum for the treatment of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism disorders in obese adolescents and children. The difference percentage of postprandial glucose in type 2, diabetes patients ranged from -12.2 to -20.2% vary psyllium supplementation [43].

Use in cancer

  People also use seeds of Psyillum, P. lanceolate, Plantago coronopus, P. ovato respectively against cancer [42]. A major flavonoid found in the leaves of P. serraria, P., in addition to the presence of luteolin-7-Ob-glucoside. The human utilized P. coronopus, P. lanceolata, Psyillum plants proliferation of cancer cell lines has been highly inhibited by against cancer [44].

Gastrointestinal and constipation

  The laxative effects of psyllium are due to the swelling of the husk when it comes into contact with water. Stool contents are often lubricated by the polysaccharides in psyllium that form into a gel in the gut and offer greater comfort during defecation. A reflex contraction of the bowel walls, accompanied by emptying, is induced by the resulting bulk [45]. Studies investigating the mechanism of the laxative effects of psyllium are somewhat contradictory, but usually showed an increase infrequent bowel movements, an increase in wet and dry stool weight, and a reduction in the average duration of intestinal transit with the administration of psyllium. Mucilage will increase the water retention ability and viscosity of stools in people with diarrhea, which slows gastric emptying and increases stool quality. As the fermentation of blond psyllium in the colon yields butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid believed to suppress cytokine development and have an anti-inflammatory effect, Psyllium preserves remission in ulcerative colitis. Blonde psyllium can normalize bowel function with irritable bowel syndrome and alleviate the severity of symptoms by minimizing rectosigmoid strain [46].

  Psyllium is a commonly used constipation treatment. It traps water by growing stool water in the intestine, promoting defaecation and altering the colonic environment [47]. Fair Psyillum husk consists of the psyllium seed ground husk (Plantago ovata), a mixture of hexose, pentose and uronic acid polysaccharides. Psyllium is a primarily dissolvable fibre, and numerous adult clinical trials have tested the effect of psyllium in blocked subjects (1-3) [48].


  The current review concluded that Psyillum husk has medicinal properties because it contains polysaccharides, ash, protein, fat and flavonoid that can aid against different diseases such as lowering cholesterol, prevent constipation, improve cancer cells and reduce obesity. Psyillum is a polysaccharide that has the characteristics of soluble fiber and insoluble fiber and both soluble and insoluble fiber are more beneficial for humans.


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Copyright: © 2021 Waseem Khalid., et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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