Botanical Name: Plantago ovata
- English: Psyllium Husk
- Ayurvedic: Ashvagola, Ashwakarna
- Unani: Aspaghol
- Siddha/Tamil: Isapppa
- Also, known as: Isabgol, Isabgul, Isabgul Gola, Isapagala-Vittulu, Ishppukol-Virai, Ispaghula, Isphagol, Vithai, Issufgul, Ashwagolam, Aspaghol, Aspagol, Bazarqutuna, Blond Psyllium, Blondes Psyllium, Ch’-Ch’ientzu, Esfarzeh, Esopgol, Esparzeh, Fisyllium, Ghoda, Grappicol, Indian Plantago, Indische Psyllium, Isabakolu, Kabbéche, Lokmet An Naâja, Obako, Psyllium, Plantain, Spogel Seed Plantain
Parts Used: Seed husk
Plantago ovata, is an annual herb that grows to a height of 10-20 inch. It is an acaulescent herb. Stem highly ramified bearing linear leaves, which are lanceolate, dentate and pubescent. Flowers are numerous, small, and white. Plants flower about two months after planting. Seeds are ovoid-oblong, boat shaped 2-3 mm, long, 0.8-1.5 mm wide, endospermic, pinkish grey to brown in color. Psyllium husks also simply called psyllium are parts of the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata of the genus Plantago which native to India. Seed produced from i Plantago ovata is known in trading circles as white or blonde psyllium, Indian plantago, or Isabgol. Isabgol the common name in India for Plantago ovata, comes from the Sanskrit words asp and ghol, meaning "horse flower," which is descriptive of the shape of the seed. The term “Psyllium” is used for the crust, seed and the whole plant. Psyllium or Ispaghula is the common name used for several members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used commercially for the production of mucilage.
Psyllium has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India and in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has also been used in Europe for many years, but it has become common in North American healing only near the end of the twentieth century.
It is considered as a good source for soluble and insoluble fiber. The diet fibers extracted from the plant possess pharmaceutical properties. Psyllium is a source of natural and concentrated soluble fiber derived from the husks of blonde psyllium seed. Psyllium seed husk is 34% insoluble fiber and 66% soluble fiber, providing an optimal division of both types that make it a valuable food additive. Psyllium seed mucilage, consisting of polysaccharides, is a "soluble fiber," a category of food substances made famous from oat bran and certain legumes. The effect of soluble fiber in one tablespoon of psyllium is equal to fourteen tablespoons of oat bran. The viscosity of Psyllium mucilage dispersions is relatively unaffected between temperatures of 20°C to 50°C, by pH from 2 to 10 and by salt (sodium chloride) concentrations up to 0.15 M. These properties in combination with Psyllium's natural fiber characteristic may lead to increased use by the food processing industry.
Psyllium seeds are coated with mucilage, a natural gummy substance that does not dissolve in water. Instead, mucilage forms a thick, gooey mass when exposed to fluids. The body does not digest mucilage, so the resulting large soft mass moves through the intestines, usually also triggering intestinal muscle contractions. In addition, the mucilage forms a slick coating on the walls of the intestines. All of these effects help to prevent or relieve constipation. Psyllium Seed is considering as a good intestinal cleanser and stool softener. Psyllium Seed is one of the most popular fibers used. The seeds are primarily used in traditional herbal medicine. Psyllium seed husks are mainly used to treat constipation. The characteristics of psyllium seed husks make them useful for any treatment that requires improvement or maintenance of transit time in the gastrointestinal tract, since the inert bulk of the husks helps provide a constant volume of solid material irrespective of other aspects of the diet or any disease condition of the gut. German health authorities approved the use of psyllium to reduce serum cholesterol levels in the early 1990s, while the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not permit health claims to be made for psyllium content in foods until 1997. In that year, the FDA reviewed several scientific studies indicating that a daily intake of 10.2 grams of psyllium seed husk, combined with a diet low in saturated fats, consistently lowered blood cholesterol levels. A recent Canadian study confirmed the FDA's daily intake recommendation. Supplementation of fiber, are appreciated by the consumers due to appealing taste and better storage stability. Because of its pharmacological effects, foods fortified with Plantago ovata mucilage gum may have a superior consumer acceptance. It is commonly found in consumer products such as high fiber breakfast cereals. In addition to being part of fiber formulations, psyllium supplements can also be found in granule, powder, wafer, and capsule forms. And importantly, because psyllium contains an increased amount of soluble fiber gram for gram compared to sources such as oat bran, its use may help fulfill daily dietary fiber recommendations more easily. Psyllium husk is the main active ingredient in Metamucil, a fiber supplement often used to reduce constipation. Because of its excellent water solubility, psyllium can absorb water and become a thick, viscous compound that resists digestion in the small intestine.
The Psyllium Husk and Powder is a product consisting of the epidermis and adjacent layers of the dried ripe seeds of the plant. Psyllium Powder is a pulverized form of the Husk. Its gradient depends on its sieve size. Psyllium Husk Powder is a natural agent to provide sufficient dietary fiber to the fiber deficient diet. Psyllium powder readily absorbs water and forms a smooth bulky mass that moves through the intestinal tract.
Psyllium Husk Powder is used in Ice Cream, Jams, Beverages, Bread, Biscuits, other baked food, instant noodles, waxy rice products, rice cakes and other dishes. It improves softness and body texture, Provides strength as binder and stabilizer. Psyllium Husk Powder can be a convenient way to increase the intake of dietary fiber. It has the ability to swell up to 50 times its initial volume when added to liquid. This bulking action can play an important role in maintaining regularity and gastrointestinal health. Psyllium is also used to prevent landscaping, soil erosion. In pharmaceutical industry, psyllium is used as thickening agent during capsule formulation. Psyllium can be used in food and beverages industry, in health drinks, beverages, ice cream, bread, biscuits, other bakery products, rice, cakes, jams, instant noodles, breakfast cereals etc., to improve the fiber content of the food and to increase the bulk of the food. Psyllium seed husk contains 80 percent water-soluble fiber, it has the ability to capture and move sand through a horse's digestive system. Psyllium is used as a preventive for sand accumulation in animals mainly in sandy region. To prevent choking when feeding Psyllium, a horse should have unlimited access to water, and horses that bolt their grain should be slowed down with large rocks in their feeders.
How to use:
Measure half teaspoon dose the first time you take psyllium and increase the amount by a half teaspoon every few days until you are taking the recommended dosage. Mix with 8oz or 250 ml of water, juice or any other your favorite drink and drink immediately. For best result follows immediately with another glass of water, juice or your favorite drink.
Do not allow the mixture to sit after you have mixed it because it will begin to form a gel that may be difficult to swallow. Psyllium husk becomes gel-like and bulky after a short time. It can create a choking hazard. If your psyllium husk mixture is gel-like, throw it out and make a new one.
Psyllium may affect the absorption of the medications taken. Consult your doctor when planning to take psyllium when under some kind of medication.
Psyllium may cause choking for people who have difficulty in swallowing.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.