Most of the world’s population will not have heard of the psyllium husk. They might know it under one of its alternative names. For example, Isabgol or Indian Plantago, but this is also quite unlikely. The probability that someone might know about this plant increases if they live on the Indian subcontinent where it is native. Frequent visitors to health food stores might have seen it on sale or heard about it. Whichever of its many names you prefer to use, the ground husk of this plant has proven healthy properties. Even the US Food & Drug Administration allows mention of this product’s health benefits on its packaging.
Get rid of constipation
Constipation may be a common and usually a relatively minor complaint. But the amount of pain and distress it causes should not be underrated. Those who have constipation on a regular basis ought to seek medical advice. Maybe all they have to do is to change their diet to one with better fiber content. For a slight degree of constipation, a tablespoon full of psyllium husk powder mixed with warm water should soon bring relief. You need to double the dosage of the powder to treat more severe constipation cases.
Useful in managing diabetes
The worrying rise in the number of diabetics around the world means that many more people must now pay careful attention to their blood sugar levels. It is essential for anyone in this condition to follow their dietary regime meticulously his or her doctor prescribes. Yet it seems that psyllium husk also has a contribution to make. It helps delay bodily processes that break down and absorb glucose. Some believe that it might also lower the risks of becoming diabetic in the first place.
A food rich in fiber
In addition to the advantages for constipation sufferers, the high fiber content found in psyllium husk benefits patients with painful hemorrhoids. This fiber helps to make stools softer, and it increases water in the body, so bowel movements are no longer so painful. At the same time, use of psyllium husk helps to clean out the colon. Natural health experts recommend taking a mixture of a tablespoon full of psyllium husk with a comparable amount of bentonite clay powder mixed in pure water.
Helps to reduce weight
A disturbing rise in obesity statistics across the western world focuses minds on the importance of lowering weight. Obviously, a strict diet and regular exercise programs are the prime elements in successful weight reduction efforts, but the taking of natural products can help to increase success rates. Natural health experts recommend taking psyllium husk. They suggest that dieters mix the husk with lime juice into a cup of warm water and drink this upon waking up and before meals.
A role in keeping the heart healthy
Poor diet and lack of exercise are two of the main reasons why heart disease has become one of the leading causes of mortality in the developed world. While there is no shortcut to good heart health without improving diet and exercise regimes, there is evidence that regular taking of psyllium husk reduces risks. One of the ways it helps is by bringing down triglyceride levels and thus lessening the chance of artery blockages. It also appears to benefit people with heart problems, but it is essential to consult with a doctor before starting to use it regularly.
A natural product that helps the complexion
Those who suffer from acne or other skin problems might spend a substantial amount on medications without noticing any significant improvement in their conditions. It comes as no surprise to see the interest in natural skin treatments after such experiences with conventional pharmaceutical products. Psyllium husks contain anti-bacterial compounds that could help eliminate the causes of a number of these skin conditions. It could also improve the general appearance of the skin by removing toxins.
Effective treatment for diarrhea
Diarrhea goes away of its own accord in many cases and although very unpleasant gives no reason to worry. However, if it lasts more than a day you can try to restore normal bowel movements with the aid of a couple of tablespoons of psyllium husks taken a couple of times a day. This ought to work for the majority of diarrhea attacks, but it is important to consult a doctor if diarrhea continues; sometimes it might be a symptom of a more serious health condition.
The treatment of gallstones
This is another of those painful complaints that respond well to the remedial properties found in psyllium husks. Someone who is in excruciating pain from gallstones must go to the hospital for emergency treatment, but if the pain is bearable although uncomfortable, try curing it with a tablespoon of psyllium powder well mixed into a glass of lukewarm water. The experts suggest drinking this substance twice a day until the condition goes away.
Helps to get rid of indigestion
The best way to avoid indigestion is to eat slowly and thoroughly chew food, but many people feel their tight schedules do not give them this luxury. While it is certainly preferable to take these steps to avoid digestive problems in the first place, if you nevertheless develop indigestion it is good to know an effective treatment is available. A daily glass of psyllium mixed in water enhances the natural digestive process, as well as improves bowel operations.
Might help to bring down high blood pressure
The risks of high blood pressure are well-publicized, but poor dietary habits and lifestyles are notoriously difficult to change. This explains the interest in natural substances that have blood pressure-lowering powers. One of the areas under study is the possible benefits of taking psyllium. A University of Maryland Medical Center research project showed that it did help to bring down blood pressure in overweight patients. Despite these encouraging findings, doctors require further research before they can recommend its wider use.
Could help lower cholesterol
Psyllium husk has hypocholesterolemic properties, which means it helps lower cholesterol levels. It influences this process by slowing glucose absorption and stimulating bile production. Bile makes cholesterol soluble and plays a key role in digesting fats. Sometimes people with high cholesterol follow special diets advised by medical professionals. Although psyllium husk can’t replace diet therapy, it can be added to help maintain reduced LDL-cholesterol concentrations.
Has prebiotic effects
Prebiotics aren’t broken down through digestion. They travel to the colon and provide food for microorganisms. Psyllium husk is not technically a prebiotic, but it provides similar benefits. Only a very small number of intestinal bacteria consume psyllium, but it stimulates fermentation and encourages beneficial microbe growth. Psyllium appears to have a greater effect in cases of constipation when it encourages the growth of at least seven types of beneficial bacteria.
Helps meet daily fiber recommendations
Fiber’s benefits are well-known, but some supplements are more beneficial than others. Psyllium husk is a nonfermenting fiber supplement that forms a viscous gel in the intestines. Gelled fiber retains water in the large intestine to soften stool and prevent constipation. Psyllium husk shares enough properties with dietary fiber to help meet the daily recommended intake.
How much psyllium husk should I take?
Psyllium husk is available in powder, bar, capsule, and wafer form. Fiber content varies between manufacturers and formulations, but product labels should explain how much fiber is in each dose. The FDA recommended daily value of fiber for adults is about 28 grams. Be sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water with each dose of psyllium husk, and consult a doctor before drastically increasing fiber intake or adjusting dosages.
Are there side effects to taking psyllium husk?
Although fiber provides many benefits, psyllium husk supplements can cause unpleasant side effects. Abdominal bloating and gas can occur when people begin consuming any extra fiber. Start with small doses and gradually increase to minimize discomfort. Fiber supplements can also interfere with medication absorption and reduce blood sugar levels. These effects are sometimes mitigated by taking medications at different times or adjusting supplement and insulin dosages. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist about how psyllium husk could interact with your medications.