Psyllium or ispaghula is the common name used for several members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used commercially for the production of mucilage.
Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber to relieve symptoms of both constipation and mild diarrhea and occasionally as a food thickener. Research has also shown benefits in reducing blood cholesterol levels.
The plant from which the seeds are extracted tolerates dry and cool climates and is mainly cultivated in northern India. Psyllium products are marketed under several brand names, such as Metamucil, Fybogel, Konsyl, and Lunelax.
Strong export demand and an assured market have incentivized farmers to take Isabgol cultivation. Isabgol is used in medical applications, besides confectionery and bakery items in Europe, the US and other countries.
The leading producer of Psyllium seed in India and the Psyllium seed produced in Rajasthan is considered to be of very good quality. This year the crop in Rajasthan is expected to be around 25% less than that of last year only 1.2 million bags. Madhya Pradesh ranks second in the production of Psyllium seed and the crop from Madhya Pradesh is expected to be 50% of that of last year only 200,000 bags. The state of Gujarat ranks a far third in the overall production of Psyllium seed in India and the crop from Gujarat this year is expected to be the same as last year 100,000 bags.
Crop Arrivals from the Last Few Years and the Estimated Arrivals for 2016.
The demand for Psyllium Husk, and allied products, has been increasing over the last few years. Overall demand for Psyllium Husk products for the coming 12 months is expected to be the equivalent of 2,000,000 bags of Psyllium seed as against the estimated available supply of 1,600,000 bags (2016 crop + carry-forward stock).
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