Indian Plantago or Isabgol. Isabgol, the common name in India for P. ovata, comes from the Persian words asb and ghol, meaning "horse flower," which is descriptive of the shape of the seed. Recent interest in psyllium has arisen primarily due to its use as an ingredient in high-fiber breakfast cereals, which is claimed to be effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels in those who consume it. Several studies point to a cholesterol reduction attributed to a diet that includes dietary fiber such as psyllium.
Research indicates that psyllium incorporated into food products is more effective at reducing blood glucose response than use of a soluble-fiber supplement that is separate from the food. Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small intestine. The purely mechanical action of psyllium mucilage absorbs excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main use has been as a laxative, it is more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber.