Benefits and uses of Fleawort seed
Fleawort seed is the seed from either of two types of plantain known officially as Plantago Psyllium or dark Psyllium and Plantago Indica or black Psyllium, both belonging to the same family and both normally found growing around the Mediterranean sea.
The plantain is a low and vertically growing annual herb with narrow, long leaves. The flower stems grow from the junction between stem and leaf and the flower is shaped in the form of a ear of wheat. In natural medicine, only the seeds are used.
Fleawort seeds can be taken in cases of constipation or when a more fluid stool is required as in the case of haemorrhoids or fissures of the anus. In addition, fleewort seeds can be used when the intestines are irritated.
Recommended daily intake is 10 to 30 grammes, taken in the course of the day. One possibility is to take a tea spoon full (about 5 gr.) of seeds soaked in 100 ml. of water several times a day followed immediately by one or two glasses of water.
Fleawort seeds can also be taken mixed with yoghourt, fruit puree, quark or pudding and eaten immediately without first soaking.
The mucuous material found in the outer surfaces of the seeds swells up when soaked in a sufficient quantity of water from 10 to 15 times the original volume. Thus the passage of solids through the intestines is promoted and because of their soft composition they fluidise the intestinal solids and act as a gentle laxative. Fleawort seeds begin working from 12 to 24 hours after being taken and reach their full effect 2 or 3 days later. In comparison with other laxatives such as wheat bran and lime seed, flea seeds produce noticeably less gas.
In contrast to Indian plantain (Plantago Ovata or blond Psyllium), fleawort seeds do not contain any carbohydrates. Both Plantago Ovata and Plantago Afra contain – in contrast to Plantago Indica – iridoid glycosid aucibine which is though to protect the liver.
Because the fats found in fleawort seeds easily become rancid, it is better not to keep crushed or soaked seeds longer than 24 hours. Also, the seeds must be kept in a moisture free place.
Less well known is that fleawort seeds also can be used to help lower cholesterol levels. Especially when cholesterol levels are only slightly increased can these be reduced by about 10%. Fleawort seeds slow down the absorbtion of sugar, which can be important to diabetics.