This is not the banana-like plantain that you may be thinking of. It is a shrubby perennial plants with narrow green leaves put up spikes of small flowers that mature into seedpods. The seeds and husks are harvested and used for medicinal purposes. It has been used in Europe for many years, but it has become common in North American only near the end of the twentieth century. Psyllium is mainly used as a source of insoluble (as well as soluble) dietary fiber to relieve symptoms of both constipation and mild diarrhea and occasionally as a food thickener, tea or ground into a flour. Research has also shown benefits in reducing cholesterol levels.
Other Names: Flea Seeds, Psyllio, Dark psyllium, Flea seed, psyllio, Spanish or French psyllium, Ispaghula, African plantain, black psyllium, plantain africain, Plantago afra