Vitamin supplements guide   Vitamins & health supplements guide

 
Psyllium quick review
Botanical description: a seed used for medicinal purposes taken from the common fleawort, Plantago psyllium, a genus of small, inconspicuous plants commonly called plantains.
Active constituents: polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin), protein, triglycerides, starch and a fixed oil.
Health benefits : effective in lowering total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels in some with hypercholesterolemia.
Dosage: for constipation, the usual dose is about 3.5 grams twice a day. For lowering cholesterol levels, usuall doses range between 10 to 20 grams per day.

Side effects : flatulence, abdominal distention, and anaphylaxis.
 
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Psyllium


Psyllium is a seed used for medicinal purposes taken from the common fleawort, Plantago psyllium. Plantago is a genus of small, inconspicuous plants commonly called plantains. There are about 250 species of the genus Plantago found worldwide, they belong to the Plantaginaceae family. Species of Plantago known as psyllium or Indian plantago are annuals native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and North Africa. They share this name with the very dissimilar plantain, a kind of banana. Leaves are sessile, but have a narrow part near the stem which is a pseudo-petiole. They have three or five parallel veins that diverge in the wider part of the leaf. Leaves are broad or narrow, depending on the species. Inflorescences are borne on stalks and can be a short cone or a long spike. The plants are typically 5-40 cm tall.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of psyllium


Psyllium seed consists of soluble and insoluble polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin). The seeds contain protein, triglycerides, starch and a fixed oil. Psyllium husk contains a high proportion of hemicellulose. Psyllium is astringent, antitoxic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, expectorant and diuretic. Psyllium contains mucilage which is used in common over-the-counter bulk laxative and fiber supplement products for constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, dietary fiber supplementation, and diverticular disease. Psyllium seed is high in dietary fiber, making it a good bulk laxative for treating chronic constipation. Psyllium has hypocholesterolemic effects. Psyllium is effective in lowering total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels in some with hypercholesterolemia. In the intestines, psyllium may stick to cholesterol contained in foods, keeping it from being absorbed by the body and forcing it to be eliminated. Psyllium may also trap and eliminate bile acids. Psyllium may be recommended by a physician to help soften stool and reduce the pain associated with hemorrhoids. Psyllium speeds the passage of stool through the digestive tract by softening the stool and attracting water thereby producing more bulk. Mucilage in psyllium acts as a soothing lubricant to the intestinal walls and may benefit to people with medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Externally, a poultice of the leaves is useful for insect bites, poison ivy rashes, minor sores.
 

Dosage and administration of psyllium


Psyllium is available in a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) formulations. Psyllium supplements are typically used in powder form, along with adequate amounts of fluids. For constipation, the usual dose is about 3.5 grams twice a day. For lowering cholesterol levels, usuall doses range between 10 to 20 grams per day, split into two or three doses, taken by mouth. For treating diarrhea, the daily doses usually range between 5-15 g.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Psyllium should always be taken with large amounts of fluid. Possible side effects include flatulence, abdominal distention, and anaphylaxis.