Plantago afra, “Sand plantain” or “Black psyllium” in English and “Plantain pucier” or “Plantain psyllium” in French, belongs to the Plantagineae botanical family.
Native to the Mediterranean and West Asia, it is a herb growing to 0.40m in dry, sandy and rocky grounds.
Its aerial parts are used for their beneficial effects in therapeutic and cosmetic applications.
In folk medicine, it is used to treat diarrhea, constipation, kidney problems, urethritis, hemorrhoids and viral hepatitis; also to lower cholesterol, to alleviate bladder problems, to regulate intestinal peristalsis and to reduce peak levels of blood glucose.
The essential oil of aerial parts consists mainly of phenyl derivatives and long chain hydrocarbons. The main components are thymol, 3-[4-(t-Butyl) phenyl] furan-2,5‑dione, hexadecanoic acid and eudesmane.