What is Psyllium?
Psyllium husk is the powdered seed of the plant Plantago psyllium. It has been used traditionally in Chinese, Western and Ayurvedic medicine.
Health benefits of Psyllium
Psyllium is considered one of the safest and gentlest laxatives.
Psylllium contains high amounts of mucilage, which, when combined with water, swells and becomes gel-like. It is can be used to increase dietary fibre intake. Psyllium is thought to help diarrhoea by restoring normal bulk to stools and may aid constipation by lubricating the colon and decreasing stool density.
Psyllium may also provide relief from the pain, bleeding and itching caused by haemorrhoids.
How do I use Psyllium?
Psyllium is available as a powder or in capsules.
Take 1-2 teaspoons of psyllium husks up to three times daily. Mix with water or fruit juice and drink immediately before it thickens.
For children reduce the dosage to 1⁄2 - 1 teaspoon daily.
It is important for adults to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day when taking psyllium to avoid constipation and bloating. Children should drink at least one to two glasses of water following the psyllium, however the more water they drink when taking it the better.
Cautions or contraindications
Psyllium can cause intestinal irritability such as bloating and flatulence due to the high fibre content. Start with 1tsp daily and gradually increase.
Some individuals may be sensitive to psyllium and experience bloating or gastric irritation even while drinking increased amounts of water.
Pregnant and lactating women and those with bowel problems should seek professional advice from a health practitioner before taking psyllium.
If you have any further questions please ask our health staff.
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Braun, L. & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & Natural Supplements. An evidence-based guide (3rd ed.).
Please note that while we take care in producing this guide, Commonsense accepts no liability for any error or omission in the information provided.