Flea seeds: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms

Flea seeds: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms

The psyllium plantain and the sand plantain are native to the Mediterranean areas and Central Europe. Other genera can be found in India, Iran and Japan. The plants are primarily cultivated in India, Iran, Pakistan and southern Europe. Drug imports come mainly from France.

Flea seeds in herbal medicine

In herbal medicine, the mature seeds of psyllium plantain and sand plantain (Psyllii semen) are used. In addition, the roots of Plantago ovata and the seed coats of Indian flea seeds (Plantaginis ovatae testa) are also used.


Flea seeds: characteristics of the plant

The progenitors of psyllium can be either psyllium plantain (fleabane) or sand plantain, both of which belong to the same plant genus. There are also Indian and Asian flea seeds from other genera (Plantago ovata and Plantago asiatica).

Psyllium plantain is a low annual herb with opposite, lanceolate, hairy leaves. The inconspicuous flowers are in dense, short spikes. Two-chambered capsules develop on the plant, each carrying two tiny seeds inside.

What do flea seeds look like?

The name “psyllium” comes from the fact that the seeds are similar to fleas. Flea seeds are dark, red-brown, shiny seeds with an elongated oval shape. A continuous furrow can be seen on one side with a lighter tear-off point in the middle.

If you put the seeds in water, they swell very much and, after a short time, are surrounded by a transparent layer of mucus.

How do flea seeds smell and taste?

Flea seeds do not give off any particular smell. The taste of psyllium is slimy, bland and slightly sweet.

Flea seeds: Use for gastrointestinal problems

Flea seeds are used in particular for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The drug is used in so-called habitual constipation, i.e. constipation that has existed for years, and in stool irregularities.


Flea seeds for soft stools

The plant is also used for diseases in which soft stool and easier emptying of the intestine are desired, such as haemorrhoids, diverticulosis (small protrusions in the intestinal wall), anal fissures (painful tears in the skin and mucous membrane of the anus), after surgical interventions on the rectum and in the anal area, in the presence of an artificial bowel outlet and during pregnancy.

Flea seeds can also treat diarrhoea of ​​various origins, Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammatory bowel disease) and irritable bowel syndrome.

The supportive psyllium intake in diabetes mellitus and high blood fat levels (hyperlipidemia) is also scientifically proven.

Flea seeds in folk medicine and homeopathy

In Central Europe, flea seeds are rarely used as a mild laxative and dietary fibre for chronic constipation. The drug is also used for diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

In the broadest sense, homoeopathic use corresponds to the official use of psyllium.


Constituents of psyllium

The most critical components of psyllium that determine its effectiveness are mucilages, which occur in high concentrations (20-30%) and are localized in the epidermis of the seed coat. The seeds also contain proteins, fatty oil and small amounts of flavonoids.

What indication can flea seeds help with?

Flea seeds are used for the following indications:

  • constipation
  • stool irregularities
  • hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulosis
  • Anal fissures
  • Diarrhea
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Diabetes

Flea seeds – dosage

Flea seeds can be purchased loose or packed in bags. Preparations containing psyllium are mainly sold in the USA, while Indian psyllium is preferred in Central Europe.

Average daily dose

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 10-30 g of psyllium.


Flea seeds: Preparation as a laxative

There is no need to prepare tea since flea seeds are not consumed in the form of tea.

To make a laxative, 10 g of the seeds (1 teaspoon is about 4.7 g) can be soaked in about 100 ml of water. The mixture can then be taken in the evening and the morning; then, at least 200 ml of liquid should be drunk.

When not to use flea seeds?

Flea seeds must not be taken in the presence of intestinal obstruction or another pathological narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract and oesophagus. Even children under the age of 12 should not take psyllium because of insufficient experience.

What should be considered when taking flea seeds?

  • When taking psyllium, care should be taken to ensure adequate fluid intake.
  • The seeds should not be taken with milk as this will not cause swelling.
  • Flea seeds should also not be taken while lying down, as this could lead to premature swelling and blockage of the airways.
  • Please also note that the effect of psyllium often only occurs after a week of continuous use.
  • The drug should be stored dry, cool and protected from light.
  • Crushed psyllium should be kept for a maximum of 24 hours. Otherwise, the fats contained can become rancid.

Flea seeds – synonyms

German plant name: Flea seed plantain 

Sand plantain

German synonyms of the plant: Flea herb, psyllium plantain, psyllium herb

Latin plant name: Plantago afra L. (Psyllium plantain) 

Plantago indica L. (Brush plantain)

Latin synonyms of the plant: Plantago psyllium L. (Plantago afra L.) 

Plantago arenaria (Plantago indica L.)

German drug name: psyllium

German synonyms of the drug: Heusamen, Psyllium

Latin drug name: Psyllii semen

Latin synonyms of the drug: Pulicaria seed

English name: Fleawort seed, Plantago seed (Droge); African Plantain, Black psyllium, Glandular Plantain (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Plantaginaceae

Plant family German: plantain family


Flea seeds – effect

Flea seeds have a dual mechanism of action, so they work on the one hand for constipation and on the other hand for diarrhoea.

This is how flea seeds work for constipation.

The laxative effect of the seeds on constipation is based on the mucilage in the seed shells’ ability to bind a lot of water. In the large intestine, the seeds swell and increase in volume by a factor of 10-15. Due to the increased filling of the intestine, reflexes are triggered in the intestinal wall, which promotes intestinal movement and thus emptying the intestine.


Flea seeds: Effect on diarrhoea

Diarrhoea also causes the seeds to swell. The excess fluid is bound in the intestines, causing the stool to become thicker in consistency.

Other effects of flea seeds

In the case of inflammatory bowel diseases, the mucilage can bind bacterial toxins and thus protect the mucous membrane from further damage.

The fat-lowering effect is based on binding bile acids and cholesterol to the mucous substances, meaning they are increasingly excreted with the stool.


Side Effects of Flea Seeds

In rare cases, allergic reactions can occur when ingesting psyllium, especially the powdered drug and liquid preparations. Flatulence, cramps and a feeling of pressure can occur, especially at the beginning of treatment with psyllium, but this decreases over time and eventually disappears.

Flea seeds: interactions

Since the psyllium mucus can lead to reduced absorption of other medications into the blood, these should always be taken at intervals of about an hour. In diabetics, it may be necessary to reduce the insulin dose because psyllium minimizes the absorption of sugar from the intestine into the blood.

lady’s mantle

The plant is common in Europe, North America and Asia; Alchemilla alpina is native to western, central and northern Europe. The drug usually comes from the cultivation of the plant in Eastern and Southern European countries.

The above-ground parts of the plant, collected at the time of flowering, are used as a drug.

Lady’s mantle and its characteristics

The Lady’s mantle is a perennial rosette plant that is relatively variable in appearance. The leaves are palmate and faintly lobed with seven to eleven teeth. Dew drops often hang on the leaves, run down them and collect in the calyx.

The small flowers are yellow-green and arranged in terminal panicles. Alchemilla vulgaris (formerly Alchemilla xanthochlora) includes a large complex of species; occasionally, the alpine species Alchemilla conjuncta and Alchemilla alpina are also used medicinally.

The term “Alchemilla” is said to have originated from the fact that the alchemists of the Middle Ages believed that gold or the philosopher’s stone could be obtained from the dewdrops collected in the calyces.


What are the leaves like?

The leaves are up to eight centimetres in diameter and kidney-shaped in appearance. As a rule, one can recognize seven to eleven lobes. Due to the strong hair, they appear silvery white and shiny. The edge of the leaf is roughly toothed, and the main nerve protrudes on the underside.

In addition to the leaves, hairy stem pieces and yellowish-green flower clusters are found in the drug.

smell and taste of Lady’s mantle

Lady’s mantle has no typical aroma and is mainly odourless. The plant tastes slightly bitter and astringent (literally astringent).

Lady’s mantle – application

The drug obtained from the Lady’s mantle has an astringent effect, i.e. anti-inflammatory and haemostatic. This effect is based primarily on the content of tannins, which form bonds with the cell surfaces and thereby protect them. Therefore, Lady’s mantle herb is used for mild non-specific diarrhoea and sore throat.

Applied externally, Lady’s mantle herb is effective for sores and infected injuries. Furthermore, the drug is sometimes taken for gynaecological disorders, but there is no reliable scientific evidence for this.

Lady’s Mantle: Application in folk medicine

Lady’s mantle herb is traditionally used for gynaecological complaints such as painful menstrual periods or symptoms during menopause (climacteric). However, the promising treatment of the women’s ailments mentioned with Lady’s mantle herb has yet to be scientifically proven.

The herb is also used for gastrointestinal complaints, as a gargle for inflammation in the mouth and throat, and for the external treatment of skin rashes and ulcers.


Lady’s mantle in homoeopathy

In homoeopathy, Alchemilla alpina is used for menstrual cramps and as a diuretic and antispasmodic; however, scientific evidence for these indications is lacking.

Lady’s Mantle: These ingredients are in it!

Lady’s mantle contains a relatively high proportion of tannins, mainly ellagitannins such as agrimonin, laevegatin F and pedunculagin. In addition, the drug comprises about two per cent flavonoids (water-soluble plant pigments) such as quercetin glucuronide.


Lady’s mantle – typical indications

Lady’s mantle is typically used for these indications:

  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • injuries
  • wounds
  • women’s disease
  • vascular disease

Lady’s mantle – dosage

Lady’s mantle herb can be administered as a tea and is also a component of numerous tea blends, such as women’s tea. In addition, the herb can also be taken as dragees or tablets to improve general well-being or as a tonic in the form of drops. The dried herb and its extracts are also offered as ointments, mouthwashes and lozenges.

Average daily dose

The average daily dose of five to ten grams of the drug should not be exceeded.


Preparation of Lady’s mantle

To prepare the tea, about one to two grams of the drug (a teaspoon corresponds to about 0.9 grams) are poured over with boiling water, left to stand for ten minutes, and passed through a tea strainer.

Another preparation method is to pour cold water over it and leave it at room temperature for several hours.

Two to three cups of tea should be drunk between meals throughout the day.

Instructions for use

  • When used as intended, there are currently no known contraindications.
  • Intense and prolonged diarrhoea can have serious health consequences, especially in infants and young children. A doctor should be consulted if diarrhoea lasts longer than two to three days.
  • Lady’s mantle herb should be stored away from light and moisture.

Lady’s mantle – synonyms

German plant name: Lady’s mantle

German synonyms of the plant: Common Lady’s cloak, ordinary Lady’s cloak, pointed-lobed Lady’s cloak, genuine Sinau, women’s help, Lady’s hood, Lord’s cloak, Mother of God’s cloak, mourning cloak, Liebfrauen’s cloak, dew cloak, women’s mantle, women’s skirt, rabbit’s mantle, autumn cloak, Kroanfuss, raindrop, dress, dew catcher, dew bowl

Latin plant name: Alchemilla vulgaris L. (in a broader sense)

Latin synonyms of the plant: Alchemilla xanthochlora Rothm.

German drug name: Lady’s Mantle herb

German synonyms of the drug: Alchemist herb, silver herb, Lady’s herb, milkweed, dandelion herb, dew herb, pearlwort, nine-lobed herb

Latin drug name: Alchemilla herb

Latin synonyms of the drug: Herba Leontopodii

English word: Alchemilla, (Common) Lady’s mantle, Lion’s foot

Plant family Latin: Rosaceae

Plant family German: rose family

Lady’s mantle – effect

The substances in Lady’s mantle, especially the tannins, have a powerful astringent effect. The effect is based on the fact that the tannins form bonds with the proteins of inflamed mucous membranes and thus protect them from toxic substances. This can be used to relieve non-specific diarrhoea and sore throats.

If the ingredients are absorbed, the drug can also be used as a remedy for vascular disorders to strengthen the vessels.

Lady’s mantle: side effects and interactions

The tannins contained in Lady’s mantle herb can irritate the mucous membranes and cause nausea if overdosed.

Interactions with other agents are not known.

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