A polysaccharide mucilage derived from the seeds of fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graceum L (family Fabaceae) was investigated for use in matrix formulations containing propranolol hydrochloride. Methocel hypomellose K4M was used as a standard controlled release polymer for comparison purposes. In this study the effect of lactose on the release behaviour of propranolol hydrochloride from matrices formulated to contain the fenugreek mucilage also was investigated. An increase in concentration of the mucilage in matrices resulted in a reduction in the release rate of propranolol hydrochloride comparable to that observed with hypomellose matrices. The rate of release of propranolol hydrochloride from fenugreek mucilage matrices was mainly controlled by the drug:mucilage ratio. However, the mechanism of release from matrices containing drug:mucilage ratios of 1:1, 1:1.25, 1:1.5, and 1:2 remained the same. The kinetics of release, utilising the release exponent n, showed that the values of n were between 0.46-0.57 indicating that the release from fenugreek mucilage matrices was predominantly by diffusion. The presence of lactose in matrices containing mucilage increased the release rate of propranolol hydrochloride. This is due to a reduction in tortuoisity and increased pore size of channels caused by lactose through which propranolol diffuses and therefore diffusion of water into the tablet is facilitated.