Also known as- Psyllium ovata, Plantago psyllium, blonde psyllium, and isphagula.
Psyllium is a low-growing herb native to India, Iran, and Pakistan, in the same family as the common Plantain.
Fiber, The seed has less fiber than the husk but more plant nutrients.
The whole husk from de-husked seeds.
As a tea. The ground or whole husk must always be taken with at least 1 full glass of water. May also be taken as an extract or capsule form though rare. Because of its rather neutral flavor it may be added to most food dishes.
The authoritative Complete German Commission E Monographs states that psyllium seed can be used to treat: "Chronic constipation; disorders in which easy bowel movements with a loose stool are desirable, e.g., in patients with anal fissures, hemorrhoids, following anal/rectal surgery; during pregnancy; as a secondary medication in the treatment of various kinds of diarrhea and in the treatment of irritable bowel."
The question most frequently asked about psyllium is, how can the same herb treat both constipation and diarrhea? The answer is that psyllium regulates the amount of time waste matter takes to transit the colon. In diarrhea, the fibers in psyllium absorb excess fluid and slow down movement through the colon. In constipation, the same fibers add volume to the stool and make it easier to pass through the colon.
Research studies show that psyllium seed is more useful than wheat bran for treating constipation caused by irritable bowel syndrome. The dosage of psyllium seed required to treat the condition is half the dosage of wheat bran, and psyllium results in less bloating and more frequent bowel movement.
The latest application of psyllium husks is in treating diabetes. Indian researchers report in the September 2005 edition of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology that diabetics who take 5 grams (about 2 scant tablespoons) of psyllium husk powder 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner for 4 weeks experience:
´ Lower fasting blood sugars
´ Lower glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C)
´ Higher HDL ("good") cholesterol
Other studies have found that regular use of psyllium husk products lower total cholesterol in persons who do not have diabetes. The May 2005 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine reported that taking psyllium increased the effectiveness of Zocor (simvastatin) allowing a 50% reduction in the dose of the prescription drug.
Psyllium products reduce appetite. By bulking the stool, the relieve pain caused by ulcerative colitis and reduce the frequency of fecal incontinence.
Never take both psyllium and a stimulant laxative (senna, rhubarb, buckthorn, cascara sagrada, frangula, or an over-the-counter stimulant laxative such as Ex-Lax). The fibers in psyllium interfere with the absorption of nutrients (especially vitamin B12) and most medications, so take psyllium at least 2 hours before or after eating or taking supplements or medications and it is recommended that you consult a physician first. Always take any Psyllium product with at least 1 full glass of water.