Psyllium is the common name for some members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used for the production of mucilage. Another known name is Ispaghula. These plantain herbs are: Psyllium ovata, P. psyllium and P. arenaria (the genus Plantago contains over 200 species).
These herbs produce psyllium gel-coated seeds; they are tasteless and not edible. These seeds are also called psyllium. What is a psyllium in this case - a soluble dietary fiber, a bulk-forming laxative that is used to treat constipation. Some commercially known names of psyllium:
Black psyllium, French psyllium, Spanish psyllium – seeds that are obtained from P. psyllium and P. arenaria.
White psyllium, Blonde psyllium, Indian Plantago or Isabgol ("horse ear" - from Persian, it describes the shape of the seed) – seeds produced from P. ovata.
Plantago psyllium is a plant native to Iran and India, Asia and North Africa. It is a bushy herb growing in sandy, salty soil. The plan is produced in several European countries, in countries of former Soviet Union, in India and Pakistan mainly commercially. Also in U.S. India dominates the world market in the production and export of psyllium.
Psyllium herbs contain tiny seeds, also called psyllium. Each herb produces up to 15 000 tiny, gel-coated seeds. They are odorless, tasteless, covered by husks, which is the part of the plant used in foods. By milling of the outer layer of the seed - the psyllium husk (or in some studies the seeds themselves were used instead of the husk) we get mucilage.
Psyllium is used in such pharmaceutical products such as “ Fiberall”, “Metamucil”, “Effersyllium” (USA), “Bonvit” (Australia), “Fybogel” (UK) and in other commonly used bulk laxatives. It is used (as an ingredient) in high-fiber breakfast cereals (for example “Heartwise”, “Bran Buds”) and as a thickener - in ice cream and frozen desserts. Psyllium mucilage is used also as a natural dietary fiber for animals. In India the part of the seed that remains after the milling is used as chicken forage and cattle feed, as it is rich in starch and fatty acids.
Psyllium as a medicine (laxative) comes as a powder, granules, and wafer to take by mouth.
Psyllium husk contains a high proportion of hemicellulose (xylan backbone linked with arabinose, arabinoxylans and rhamnose). The psyllium consists of 35-percent soluble and 65-percent insoluble polysaccharides (cellulose, lignin and, hemicellulose).
Psyllium is a mucilaginous fiber due to its powerful ability to form a gel in water (for the seed it is to prevent it from drying out). Products containing psyllium have been used to increase fecal bulk and loosen stools for many years. It absorbs liquid in the swells, intestines, and forms a bulky stool, that is easy to pass. That is a natural laxative which is used to treat constipation (when it appears due to lifestyle factor, not a disease). Psyllium seeds contain 10–30% mucilage. Every 100 grams of psyllium provides 71 grams of soluble fiber.
The soluble fiber plays an important role in reducing total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Psyllium supplementation is used to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Psyllium mucilage has some other useful properties: psyllium mucilage binding quality exceeds that of starch mucilage on 10% - it is used as a thickener in ice cream and frozen desserts.
There are some studies that state the association between increased fiber intake and reduced risk of colon cancer.
Though it has some side effects – psyllium should be taken with adequate water or it can cause constipation or obstruct the colon; should not be taken within two hours of taking medication or the absorption of the medication is decreased; psyllium can trigger allergic reactions, and when in powder – can trigger asthma attacks in people with asthma – it also has lots of pluses.
- Psyllium is the best natural laxative - it regulates bowel functions by stimulating nutritional program of digestive system.
- It’s a non-habit forming
- It’s safe for all ages
- It contains no toxic or harmful chemical / reagents
- It nourishes and strengthens the waste-filtering process
- It increases energy – its fiber decreases symptoms of fatigue loss of energy and other severe health problems
- It helps to reduce risk of heart attack by decreasing serum cholesterol through proper excretion of bile acids
Biological Description Plantago ovata, Indian Plantago, Isabgol,Plantago ispaghula, Blonde psyllium or just Psyllium – all these are names of ...
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