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What is psyllium? Why do we need it?
Psyllium (also known as psyllium seed) is a soluble fiber.
It comes from a shrublike herb called the plantain (no relation
to the plant that produces edible plantains). Its ingredients
include alkaloids, amino acids, oils, protein, tannins, flavonoids,
and a variety of sugars and carbohydrates.
are oval-shaped, odorless, practically tasteless, and are
coated with mucilage. Unlike wheat bran and other fibers,
psyllium does not cause excessive gas and bloating.
Used as a dietary fiber, psyllium makes stools softer, which
helps relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids
and other intestinal disorders. It is considered a good intestinal
cleanser in that it speeds waste matter through the digestive
system, shortening the amount of time toxic substances stay
in the body and thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer
and other diseases.
Soluble fibers such as psyllium can also help prevent the
intestine from absorbing cholesterol. Studies have found that
adding psyllium to ones diet can reduce the amount of
cholesterol in the blood; when taken in conjunction with certain
medications, it can reduce blood cholesterol levels even further.
How much psyllium should I take?
There is no recommended daily allowance, but many herbalists
and health professionals taking between _ to two teaspoons
of psyllium one or two times a day. The best times to take
it are early in the morning and just before going to bed.
What are some good sources of psyllium?
Psyllium seed or husk are the two dietary sources of psyllium
What can happen if we don't get
There are no studies that have documented the effects of
What can happen if I take too much?
Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?
Do not take psyllium at the same time (or within an hour
of the time) you take other medications: it can interfere
with the way drugs are absorbed and make some medications
less effective. Always take psyllium with a full eight-ounce
glass of water, and make sure to drink at least six to eight
glasses of water a day.
Another fiber supplement, guar, works the same way psyllium
does. If you are already taking guar, do not take psyllium
(and vice-versa). Do not give psyllium to a child.
For more information on psyllium, please consult your health
Other Resources :
More You Know About Minerals
More You Know About Nutrition
Alabaster O, Tang ZC, Frost A,
Sivapurkar N. Potential synergism between wheat brain and
psyllium: enhanced inhibition of colon cancer. Cancer Lett
W, Park F, Lof J, Quigley EM. Effects of psyllium therapy
on stool characteristics, colon transit and anorectal function
in chronic idiopathic constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther
Balch J, Balch P. Prescription
for Nutritional Healing, 2nd ed. Garden City Park, NY:
Avery Publishing Group, 1997.
Kirschmann G, Kirschman J. Nutrition Almanac,
4th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1996.
McRorie JW, Daggy BP, Morel JG, Diersing PS, Miner
PB, Robinson M. Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for
treatment of chronic constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther