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Psyllium: Seeds, Husks, and Supplements

Updated on July 4, 2011

Like many plants the entire stalk of psyllium can be used for its herb nutritive value; hence the title Psyllium: Seeds, Husks, and Supplements. Psyllium husks are the outer coatings of the seeds found in the plant and it creates a completely natural form of fiber. The dietary value of this plant is that it is a complex carbohydrate that assists in numerous natural remedies for one’s body. Personal preference is the key that will more than likely influence an individual’s decision as to which form (seeds, husks, or supplements) to add to one's daily nutrition regimen. I had forgotten about the benefits of psyllium and had stopped using this herb until the other day when I stumbled upon a product that contained this complex carbohydrate. If you sometimes feel like a boated balloon, or totally surrounded by water for no reason, and/or drastically the opposite; here’s what my research revealed that caused me to re-implement this into my healthy diet routine.

Submerging one's self into water, most likely will not assist in creating a healthy digestive system...

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What is Psyllium Seeds, Husks, and Supplements?

As stated psyllium husks are the outer coatings of the psyllium seeds and are a complex carbohydrate which basically makes it a natural fiber. The psyllium husk can be used in its natural form or it can be chopped, crushed, dried, inserted into capsules, and or used in a powdered form as a supplement. And believe it or not you now can find psyllium husk in many over the counter laxatives and fiber supplements. However, it is only recently that the West has gotten “hip to the idea” of using the benefits of this alternative medicine.

I can recall that this herbal supplement was very controversial when it was first introduced in the US about 15 years ago. Psyllium husk swells when it comes in contact with water and absorbs 8 to 16 times it weight which give it a bulky quality and makes it an effective laxative. If I recall correctly when initially introduced to the general public in the States this swelling was of major concern to some of naysayers. In addition to the usual concerns of quality and control issues that are usually identified by the FDA.

Nevertheless, psyllium was named as one of the Top 10 Superfoods by Canadian Living and Prevention In addition, people in India has been using psyllium husk to ease constipation for many years; and the Europeans has been using it since the 16th century.

Medicinal Uses as a Dietary Fiber

Psyllium seeds, husks, and supplements have been found to act as an astringent, antitoxic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, diuretic, and an expectorant. For external use, a poultice (a moist, mashed mixture of the leaves) is beneficial for insect bites, poison ivy rashes, and minor sores.

Psyllium contains mucilage which is used in common over-the-counter bulk laxative and dietary fiber supplement products. Psyllium seeds consist of soluble and insoluble polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) and contain protein, triglycerides, starch, and a fixed oil. The psyllium husk contains a high proportion of hemicelluloses (more complex than a sugar and fewer complexes than cellulose).

If the above sounds a little too technical don’t worry about it. Its just an explanation of what makes psyllium seeds, husks, or supplements worthy of being implemented into one’s dietary routine. Just like there are numerous forms in which this dietary fiber can be sold, there are numerous reasons for implementing psyllium into your diet.

Psyllium Health Benefits are that it is:

Effective in treating diarrhea - Psyllium speeds the passage of stool through the digestive tract by softening the stool and attracting water thereby producing more bulk. Hence, whatever toxins, parasites, allergens, or fluid imbalance causing the diarrhea; can be counter-acted by the bulk of the psyllium causing absorption or removal of bad bacteria, the prevention of additional parasitic growth, and or toxicity.

Prevents constipation and improve colon health – Because psyllium seeds are high in dietary fiber it adds weight to the bowel and makes it a very safe laxative for treating chronic constipation.

Helps to ease hemorrhoid pains and cystitis – Psyllium is believed to trap and eliminate bile acids and may be recommended to help soften stool and reduce the pain associated with hemorrhoids by some physicians.

Helps to maintain or lower cholesterol levels - Psyllium has hypocholesterolemic effects in lowering cholesterol levels in some individuals. It is theorized that within the intestines, psyllium sticks to the cholesterol contained in foods, keeping it from being absorbed by the body and forcing it to be eliminated sooner than if the fiber supplement was not taken.

Your intestines can make you ill

Treats irritable bowel syndromeThe mucilage in psyllium acts as a soothing lubricant to the intestinal walls and is said to be a benefit to people with IBS medical conditions.

Aides in weight control - By reducing hunger cravings and the bulk of this dietary fiber helps to make you feel full. The key is to take a small dosage 10 to 20 minutes prior to meals and increase the fiber over time in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Assists in controlling onset of diabetes – A study performed by the University of Kentucky revealed that psyllium extract could help to control type II diabetes. An extract of the dried seeds provided enough soluble fiber to block the rise in blood sugar after meals. In addition, provided anti-inflammatory properties and improved lipid control in treating Type 2 diabetes. Of course more studies and research are being done to prove and or disprove this study.

Aides in treating yeast infections - By cleaning the colon you assist your body in getting rid of the bacteria that causes candida infections. The psyllium husk absorbs toxins, fungi, the bad bacteria, and other harmful substances and then passes them out with your stools.

Psyllium Soluble Fiber to Buy

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Psyllium husksPsyllium chopped or crushedPsyllium powder
Psyllium husks
Psyllium husks
Psyllium chopped or crushed
Psyllium chopped or crushed
Psyllium powder
Psyllium powder

Consumption and What You Should Know

Psyllium seed husks in the chopped, crushed, dried, and or powdered form can be added to just about anything: milk, milkshakes, water, fruit and veggie juices, soups and stews, or protein drinks. I’m taking mine with a soy protein drink first thing in the morning. I usually begin with 8 ounces of water first thing when I get up and is getting dress. And then I’m having my protein drink with psyllium on the way out the door to the next destination.

This is quick and easy for me since I generally don’t eat breakfast before 10 a.m. the protein drink serves as my first small meal of the day. It is a good idea to never eat psyllium husk alone, as it may cause some digestive problems. Personally, I do not like the taste; hence I mask the taste of it within the protein drink or one of Dr. Oz’s breakfast shakes.

Without getting too descriptive the psyllium husks swells and forms a gelatin-like mass in the colon that softens the bowel while absorbing toxins that are present in the digestive system. If you decide to use psyllium as a supplement in your diet, please check with your doctor if you are under consistent care for any illnesses. Also, when taking psyllium husk supplements always drink plenty of fluids. Do NOT get behind on your water intake. As a matter of fact it might be a good idea to increase water consumption with an extra glass of water; especially if you are an individual that does not like to drink water. After all, not drinking adequate amounts of water is one of the major causes of constipation.

Possible side effects of taking psyllium dietary fiber can be abdominal distention, flatulence, and or anaphylaxis. Experiencing flatulence should decrease over time as your body begins to get rid of some of the toxins within your system. Of course if any severe adverse symptoms and or discomfort occurs perhaps one should stop taking the product and consult a physician.


I hope you have found Psyllium: Seeds, Husks, and Supplements to be both helpful and informative. Please remember however if you are unfamiliar with herbs and natural alternatives and want to give any of the herbal supplements a try; I suggest that you seek an experienced herbalist and or doctor prior to mixing any alternative medicines with the drugs (prescription or herbal) you are presently taking.

Disclaimer: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should do your own research, and then consult your present physician. If your doctor does not believe in alternative medicines and you would like to give them a try then find a reputable doctor familiar with alternative medicines that can assist you in deciding what treatments might meet your specific needs.  

As always comments are always welcomed.  Namaste!


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    • profile image

      Stephanie 3 years ago

      Recently I embarked on a jorueny for the holiest of holies. The holy grail of bowel movements, if you will: one which results in a ghost wipe . A wise woman once said Nothing is as overrated as sex, and as underrated as a good bowel movement. While I can't completely agree with that, I will say this: These pills are saving me tens of dollars every year on toilet paper.Tell me, human, does your day not seem brighter when you wipe, look at your toilet paper and realize it was a clean break?I take 4 in the morning and 4 at night with copious amounts of water and this seems to do the trick. Bravo, psyllium husk.

    • profile image

      Mari 3 years ago

      This is an indelicate subjcet for an open online review, I know, but someone has to do it. This is about hemorrhoids and their treatment with psyllium fiber (ie. serious business).I have been using Metamucil psyllium capsules for several years now. It was originally purchased with the hope that its consumption with my lunch would limit my appetite and help control my weight. In so doing I also discovered that it helps to keep my hemorrhoids at bay. Subsequently I have learned from experience that not taking these Metamucil psyllium capsules leads to aggravated hemorrhoid problems in a matter of just a few days. We are talking about significant and noticeable discomfort here.Thus I have been buying Metamucil psyllium capsules from Costco for years and my ass has been happier ever since.So what's the problem? Well Metamucil psyllium capsules are very expensive, even from Costco. That's where the Now Foods, Psyllium Husk Caps came into this not so pretty picture.I was hoping that I could save 50% on psyllium fiber capsules from Now Foods and get exactly the same results. Sadly, this proved not to be the case.Similar to what had occurred in the past (when I failed to consume my Metamucil pills for just a few days), I had the same experience after eating the Now Foods, Psyllium Husk Caps in lieu of the Metamucil psyllium capsules. It was as if I had taken nothing at all even though I consumed exactly the same quantity I had been taking of the Metamucil pills.Hard to believe I know, but butts do not lie. Mine complained rather quickly (ie. after just a few days). And it took about a week after reverting back to the Metamucil capsules before it got back to normal.How can Now Foods, Psyllium Husk Caps be so different? How can Now Foods sell something that appears to be the same as Metamucil psyllium yet is somehow very different? I had no idea. So I did a little research. Plantago asiatica comes from China. Now Foods lists this as their source of psyllium . Yet apparently it is not equivalent to Plantago ovata ( Blond Psyllium , see Wikipedia, direct links not allowed here ), what is used in Metamucil. Also, it looks like only the latter is actually referred to as psyllium (see see Wikipedia, direct links not allowed here ).As stated, this product was purchased to replace the Metamucil psyllium capsules since the Now psyllium capsules cost about half as much. But when I checked the Now Foods ingredient list and found plantago asiatica , I also found magnesium stearate . Yet magnesium stearate is not found on the Metamucil label either.I learned that magnesium stearate is actually just a filler that helps lubricate pill making equipment. When I took apart capsules of each product I noticed that the Now product appears lighter in color and also is a finer grind (ie. the Metamucil pills contain a grainier powder). I suspect that Now is saving money by using more magnesium stearate and less fiber. Does magnesium stearate cost less? I really don't know. But if not, why are they using it?If my butt didn't hurt so much I would find it laughable that this company describes their product as Made in the U.S.A when the main ingredient comes from China.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      I agree hubpageswriter, it is important to take care of our digestive system by making sure it gets enough fiber to our internal core clean and healthy. Thanks for the read and commenting. :)

    • profile image

      hubpageswriter 7 years ago

      This is such a good hub. I think it's extremely important to take care of our intestines and digestive system as a whole. The internal core of our being makes our outer layer healthy and glow. I enjoy this hub which have lots of knowledge to be read and stored upon.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      You are welcome, Saha! Isn't it amazing some of the things that can be accomplished via taking natural remedies. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story. :)

    • profile image

      saha 7 years ago

      i have been using this for a india it comes with a brand name'isabagol',,,lost 4 kgs skin is clear ,hairfall stopped...thanks for writing abt this miracle suppl's benefits..loved reading it

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      You're welcome anglnwu, I like the fact that it helps to absorb toxins from your body. With so many possible toxins in the food that we eat as well as in the atmosphere; it just good to add it to one's diet. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.:)

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 8 years ago

      Very informative hub. I've heard about the many health benefits of Psyllium and now, you've just convinced me how good it really is. Thanks for sharing how you can actually incorporate this miracle plant in our diet. Rated it up for you.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Thanks blondepoet for stopping by and commenting. If you are a mom, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's day. :)

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      What brilliant information. You did a great job on this one MG :)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Hey Maita, Thank you for your kindness, and you know that I love being a follower of yours twice over. Hehehe! And hey definitely love your avatar because it is you and it reflects your inner spirit and outward beauty. Have a wonderful weekend my friend. :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      I miss this hub, why, I have been busy my friend, but of course I will drop by and see you. Congratulations for 400 FANS and for writing good hubs which are well put together, I am a follower, YOU SEXY, love that avatar! Maita

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      @TattoGuy - Hehehe, Much love back to you as well moi friend. And I sincerely hope that I did learn the lesson you taught me well so that the money will be rolling in by then. :) Thanks for the read. And oh, hehehe, where's blondie,today??? Did she get a day off? :) xoxoxo

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      @hypnodude - Thanks for stopping by Hypno, I'm glad that you liked the hub on psyllium seeds, husk, and supplements. I really appreciate the rating and the stumble. Take care! :) - Hey Psychic, you are most welcome for the info; so glad you stopped by. :)

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 8 years ago

      MG I loves Psyllium: Seeds, Husks, and Supplements almost as much as I loves you, another winner moi friend. Ya know what moi friend by the end of 2011 we will both be getting a nice monthly sum from hubs ; )

    • profile image 8 years ago

      Never heard of it so thanks for the intro here Money Glitch.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

      Very interesting, and very well written. I'm not much of an expert as regards herbs so liked it a lot. Rated and stumbled. :)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Hey Cheeky Girl, You know, I believe you are exactly right. I think psyllium is on one of the first 10 Superfoods lists. Hhhmmm, I'm going to research that and add it on. Thanks for the tip and comments, Cheeky Girl! Cheers, moi friend. :)

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Wow, should these qualify as super-foods in a way? They seem to have qualities that put them in that ballpark. I am so impressed by this great health hub! Cheers, moi friend.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      @Om - Hi Om, hehehe, you are so funny, you know you are very smart, but thanks for the compliment anyways. :) I'm glad you stopped by for a read and comments. Thanks my friend! :)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      @Pamela99 - Hi Pamela, don't you just love it when you discuss a subject with family or friends and then later learn more about it. Glad I could provide you with the additional info. I appreciate you stopping by for a read. :)

      @billyaustindillon - Hi Billy, I did the same thing and then stopped using it. Out of site out of mind, I guess. Anyway saw it in the whole foods store the other day, and decided to start using it again. Had forgotten all the benefits until my research. Thanks for sharing your insight and stopping by for a read. :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 8 years ago

      Very interesting info here. You've made me feel smarter again! ;)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 8 years ago

      A few years back i added psyllium husks to my diet - excellent hub money glitch.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Recently a friend was telling me about the benefits of psyllium husks but your hub gave me so much more information. This is a very thorough hub. Thanks.


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