According to the European Pharmacopoeia, Psyllium seed (Psyllii semen) consists of the ripe, whole, dry seeds of Plantago afra L. or Plantago indica L.. Husk and seeds from Plantago ovate is however commonly also referred to as Psyllium, although the correct definition of Plantago ovate Forssk is Ispaghula husk and seeds. Ispaghula, or commonly psyllium husk, consists of the episperm and collapsed adjacent layers removed from the seeds of Plantago ovata Forssk and are obtained by milling the seed to remove the hulls. The physiologically active component of psyllium husk is shown to be a highly branched, neutral arabinoxylan consisting of a xylose backbone and arabinose- and xylose-containing side chains. In contrast to arabinoxylans in cereal grains that are extensively fermented, psyllium husk possesses a structural feature, as yet unidentified, that hinders its fermentation by typical colonic microflora.
India dominates the world market in the production and export of psyllium. India provides approximately 80 percent of the psyllium available in the world market. Gujarat and Rajasthan states are the major producer states of psyllium. Gujarat contributes 35% of world production of Psyllium Husk.Uses
There are various commercial uses of Psyllium in food, pharmaceutical and other industries. Although obtaining dietary fiber from whole foods is preferable because it is accompanied by additional nutrients and phytochemicals, a fiber supplement should be recommended to close the fiber gap. It has been a continuous effort to improve the physicochemical, functional, sensory, and biological properties of psyllium for promoting its food utilization and enhancing its safety. It is a great challenge to disperse psyllium in water or aqueous solutions even with vigorous agitation because of its extremely strong water-absorbing capacity. The readers are referred to an excellent review focused on the approaches to improve the functionality. Psyllium is most frequently added to breakfast cereals, meal replacements, bread, biscuits and other bakery products to improve the fiber content of the food but is also added to juices, shakes, yogurt, soups and even ice creams. It can also be used as a thickener in drinks or frozen deserts.