Psyllium Husk Benefits and Side Effects
The name Psyllium Husk or Isabgol might not sound so friendly to us, but people have been using Isabgol husk for ages.
It is a commonly used ingredient in India as a home remedy to treat constipation or gut-related problems.
From ages, they are utilizing Psyllium Husk Benefits for a healthy life.
|Uses||Constipation, Diarrhoea, Digestive Disorders, High Cholesterol, Diabetes|
|Composition||A husk of seeds of the Plantago Ovata|
|Side Effects||Stomach Cramps, Loss of Appetite|
Psyllium is not just limited to dealing with problems associated with constipation; it has plenty of other health benefits also.
It is mostly used as dietary fiber, and you will be amazed after knowing all the Psyllium benefits.
So let’s try to understand what is Psyllium Husk, before learning the various ways in which it can be useful.
What is Psyllium Husk?
Psyllium husk is a fibre obtained from the seed of the plant Plantago Ovata. Basically, it is a natural form of soluble fibre that helps to treats various health ailments.
There are incredible Psyllium husk benefits for health and it can be incorporated into the daily diet, the dietary fiber present on it makes this husk an excellent beneficial nutrient.
Psyllium plant is 1 to 3 inches tall, does not have a trunk, and it falls into the category of a shrub.
The plant seeds are arranged in a similar way to that of wheat, and its leaves look likes aloe vera and is long & narrow.
There is white ash like thing on the seeds which are called seed husk or Psyllium Husk.
When this husk is mixed with water, it becomes an odorless and tasteless sticky substance.
Psyllium plant requires cold, sunny, and dry weather to grow, and within five to six months, it gets harvest-ready.
Basically, it is a seasonal Rabi crop.
In India, it is mostly cultivated in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and also in Punjab.
Due to top Psyllium husk benefits and high usage, its seeds and its husk are usually used for medicinal purposes.
It is commonly used as a food ingredient in manufactured breakfast cereals, which contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Psyllium husk contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which is very beneficial for health, especially for digestion. It comprises 70% soluble fiber and 30% insoluble fiber.
The soluble fiber in it works as a laxative and known as the best natural herb to treat constipation.
Apart from this, there are a large number of psyllium husk benefits like curing acidity, cleansing the colon, aids in weight loss, control diabetes, cures piles, lowers high blood pressure, and hence its benefits for your health are endless.
In this article, we will try to elaborate on all the health benefits of psyllium husk in detail.
Other Names of Psyllium Husk
|English Name||Spogel seeds, Psyllium, Isphagul|
|Hindi Name||Isabgol, Ashwagol, Bhusi|
|Gujarati Name||Umatho jeeru|
|Sanskrit Name|| Ashwakarna, Ishadgol|
Medicinal Parts of Psyllium Husk Plant
Only a few parts of the Psyllium plant have medicinal properties. The parts which are highly used for medicinal purpose is as follows:
- Psyllium Seed
- Psyllium Husk or Isabgol Seed Husk
Qualities of Psyllium Husk
Psyllium Husk is oily and has mild laxative action due to the considerable fiber content in it, controls dysentery and loose-motions, the husk is healthy, and helps in proper bowel movement.
It is sweet in taste, refreshing, and nutritious. Also, it’s sticky, sweet, Increases Vata in the body, and balances Kapha & Pitta.
Psyllium Husk can absorb fourteen times more water than its weight. Psyllium seeds can absorb three times water than its weight.
Also, it is rich in nutrient content.
So flour of Psyllium Husk is supplemented in multi-grain flour to boost its nutritious value and also to increase the fiber content of cereal or flours.
Chemical Composition of Psyllium Husk
Composition of Psyllium Husk is as follows:
Psyllium Husk Nutrition Facts
We all are aware that Psyllium husk is primarily rich in fiber. But it also contains other vital nutrients that can be useful to the human body.
Psyllium husk is rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, and iron.
The table beneath shows the nutrient values of psyllium husk per 100 g (As per the USDA Nutrient Database)
|Nutrients||Value per 100 g|
Psyllium Husk Ayurveda
ईषद् गोलं परं वृष्यं मधुरं ग्राहि शीतलम् ।
पिच्छिलं तुवरं किञ्चित् वातकृत् कफपित्तहत्॥
रक्तातिसारास्रपित्तं नाशयेदिति कीर्तितम् ॥
|RASA (Taste)||MADHURA (Sweet)|
|GUNA (Qualities)|| |
SNIGADH or SNEHA (Unctuous or Oily),
PICHCHILA (Cloudy or Sliminess)
|VIPAKA (Resultant)||MADHURA (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)|
|VEERYA (Potency)||SHEETA (Cool)|
|KARMA (Actions)||VATA VARDHAK (Increases Vata)|
|PRABHAVA (Specific Action)|| |
ABHISHYANDA (Lubricant and Gentle Laxative)
Uses of Psyllium husk
According to Ayurveda, mostly it is used for the treatment of Constipation.
It is also used to treat Atisara (Diarrhea). Various other ailments can also be treated with the help of this husk.
Medicinal Properties of Psyllium husk
Sat Isabgol husk is an amazing medicinal plant having lots of excellent properties. Psyllium Husk (Isabgol) has the following healing properties:
- Gentle Laxative
Laxatives are substances that loosen stools and improve bowel movements.
They are used to treat and counter constipation. Psyllium husk contains fiber, so it adds bulk and water to stools so that they can pass more quickly through the intestines.
This helps to clean our stomach walls and makes our colon toxin-free. Thus it prevents constipation and promotes regular bowel movement.
Anti-diarrheal is a medication that provides symptomatic relief to diarrhea.
Psyllium has a high affinity towards water, so it absorbs the excess water present in the stools and helps to decrease the number of bowel movements by making the stools less watery.
An antacid is a substance that neutralizes acidity and is used to reduce indigestion, heartburn, or stomach upset. It helps to stop the formation of additional acid within the stomach. Thus it helps to cut back the acidity.
- Reduces Bad Cholesterol
According to various health experts, the hygroscopic property of psyllium husk helps to reduce cholesterol in the blood.
It forms a thin layer within the intestines that forestalls the absorption of cholesterol from food and efficiently helps in lowering cholesterol.
- Regulated blood glucose
Psyllium contains a small amount of Gelatin in it, which slows the breakdown and absorption of glucose in the body and hence helps to regulate blood glucose level.
As a result, it is proved to be an excellent medicine to control diabetes.
- Appetite-Suppressant (Anorectic or Anorexic)
An appetite suppressant is a food, supplement, or drug that stops a person from feeling hungry, which results in lower food consumption, leading to weight loss.
Regular consumption of Sat Isabgol reduces the unnecessary carving for food, thus helps to suppress your appetite.
How to take Psyllium Husk?
Psyllium Husk Dosage
Psyllium husk dosage should be taken in proper quantity to ensure its full benefits.
The dose of psyllium husk varies from person to person depending on the age and severity of their problems.
The general dosage of psyllium husk is as follows:
|Teens (13-18 years)||1-2 tablespoon|
|Children (8-12 years)||1/2-1 tablespoon|
*Note: The exact dosage may vary depending on age, medical condition, and response to treatment, however. It is highly recommended that you should consult your doctor before starting treatment with psyllium, no matter what your plan on using it for.
It can be taken twice or thrice a day depending upon the austerity of the problem. As a thumb rule, never use more than the recommended dose on the product label.
Step 1: Add one heaped teaspoon (approx 5.6 gms) or prescribed dosage of Psyllium Husk in an empty glass.
Step 2: Fill the glass with water or any suggested adjuvant (around 240 ml).
Step 3: Briskly stir the mixture such that all the contents should get mixed with water.
Step 4: Drink it at once. (Try to drink it fastly)
When to take Psyllium husk?
After knowing what is Psyllium husk? And how to take it?
A question that appears in our mind is that when we should consume it so that we can gain maximum Psyllium Husk Benefits.
When to take Psyllium husk? The answer to this question depends upon, for which purpose you are using it.
Depending upon the condition, you can take psyllium husk early in the morning on an empty stomach, or at night before going to bed. You should always take it with a full glass of water, and you should drink at least 6 to 8 full glasses of water throughout the day to avoid constipation.
Also, depending upon the purpose of using it, it can also be taken before or after the meal. And take psyllium at least 1 hour before or 2 to 4 hours after taking other medications.
Psyllium Husk Benefits
So are you curious to know, what are Psyllium Husk Benefits on Body?
Now let’s get into the top part of the article, Benefits of psyllium husk on the body. One of the core purposes or we can say the benefit of psyllium is to treat constipation or gut-related problems.
Following are Psyllium Husk Benefits:
- Helps to treat constipation
- Assists in weight loss
- Quick Relief for Heartburn
- Beneficial in Diarrhea
- It can lower blood sugar levels
- Good for cardiovascular health
- It helps to lower cholesterol levels
- Psyllium Husk for Constipation
Mostly we had heard psyllium husk name in the context of treating constipation or as a remedy for constipation.
As we all are aware of the medicinal properties of psyllium husk that it is one of the best known gentle laxatives.
Eat more fiber. You’ve probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health?
Fiber is essential in the diet because it normalizes bowel movements.
Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation.
It is one of the richest sources of fibers and thus helpful in managing the problems related to constipation.
Because of high fiber content in the Psyllium husk, it is a bulk-forming laxative.
This means it soaks up water in your gut and makes bowel movements much more accessible and can help promote regularity without increasing flatulence.
Other than having laxative property, it increases water concentration in the stools, facilitating their easy removal.
Several studies suggest that psyllium can be used to treat constipation.
A clinical study with 170 subjects with chronic constipation revealed that consuming 5.1 grams (g) of Psyllium twice a day for two weeks significantly increased the water content in the stool and made bowel movement more comfortable. (ref)
An older study showed that psyllium husk could be used with fibrous compounds such as pectin and cellulose to improve its laxative potency.
Both these fibers are commonly found in fruits such as berries and apples. Adding pectin or cellulose with psyllium benefits to get rid of the blandness of psyllium husk.
Another study indicated that the polysaccharides present in psyllium husk and its; gel-forming abilities could help prevent constipation.
Also, Psyllium is a prebiotic — a substance needed for healthy colonies of probiotics to grow in the gut.
A healthy colony of good bacteria in the digestive system is essential for healthy immune function.
Your body is better able to fight infection, reduce inflammation, and maintain healthy tissue and cells.
Whether you are suffering from mild or moderate constipation, the fiber present in psyllium helps you to fight your constipation.
Another study found that Psyllium, a soluble fiber, had a more significant effect than wheat bran, insoluble fiber, on the moisture, total weight, and texture of stools (ref).
For these reasons, taking psyllium supplements promotes regularity and helps to treat constipation and related problems quickly.
Want some more home remedies to treat constipation? Then tell me in the comment section below!
How does psyllium work for constipation?
Due to its Guru (heavy) nature, psyllium husk helps to manage constipation as it is rich in fiber and adds bulk to stool.
It also stimulates intestinal contractions and peristaltic movements because of its mild Rechana (laxative) nature, which helps ease the natural expulsion of stools.
There is a gelatinous substance present in psyllium, which forms a gel when soaked in water.
The laxative properties of this gel help in easing bowel movement in your intestines.
It makes your stool softer by increasing the amount of water in it, making it easier to pass.
- Initially, it works by binding to partially digested food that is passing from the stomach into the small intestine.
- The gel absorbs bacteria and other harmful toxins that are present in the intestine
- Then the fiber in it helps with the absorption of water
- Which then increases the size and moisture of stools. The end product is bigger and easier-to-pass stools.
- This provides excellent lubrication inside the intestine walls, which help in relieving constipation related problems.
How to take psyllium husk for constipation?
- Mix one-two spoons of psyllium husk powder in warm milk and drink it before going to bed.
- And after getting up from bed, perform Ushapan (Drinking a specific amount of water in dawn in the early morning is called Ushapan in Ayurveda.)
- Drinking water in the morning on an empty stomach can prevent and help to manage abdominal disorders, including constipation.
Along with this fantastic remedy, you can also practise various yoga asanas such as Bhujangasana, Paschimottanasana, Pawan muktasanasa, etc. to get rid of constipation.
- Psyllium Husk Benefits for Weight Loss
Astonishingly, this fibre rich supplement of Isbgol can help you in losing weight.
You Heard Right!
Yes! Psyllium Husk benefits as a helping hand for your weight loss goals as well.
But how? is that possible?
Yet, there is no direct relationship between the consumption of psyllium and weight loss. But indirectly it works effectively to control body weight.
Psyllium husk helps in three ways for weight loss:
- It acts an Appetite suppressant
- It boosts Digestion process and prevents constipation
- Also, it helps to remove toxins from the body.
According to a study, Fibers that form viscous compounds, including Psyllium Husk, can act as an appetite suppressant and aid weight loss.
We all are aware of the fact that psyllium is a rich source of natural fiber.
So it aids appetite control by slowing down stomach emptying and reducing appetite.
That helps us to make feel full for a more extended period and curbs your craving for fatty foods.
This ultimately beats hunger pangs and unhealthy snacking as well.
Thus Decreased appetite ultimately helps us to reduce the calorie intake, which directly results in the loss of weight.
Also, another older studies showed that psyllium husk supplementation on its own, as well as paired with a fiber-rich diet, resulted in a notable reduction of weight, body mass index, and percentage of body fat.
So along with it include various vegetables and fruits having good fiber content.
We all know that this husk is very beneficial for constipation, due to which it is also known as a great colon cleanser.
It assists in cleaning out all the waste products within the stomach, making the process of digestion more effective and keeps you healthy.
So we all are aware that a clean and empty colon aids weight loss.
According to Ayurveda, due to its Guru (heavy) nature, it also helps to clean out the ama (toxic waste products usually lining the walls of the stomach), which also benefits keeping other digestive ailments at bay—resulting in reduced body weight!
How to take psyllium husk for Weight Loss?
Only taking psyllium husk alone in the morning or at night with water will help for weight management.
But supplementing it with other ingredients boosts the process of reducing weight.
We all know that drinking lemon juice with lukewarm water on an empty stomach helps to lose weight.
So we will supplement psyllium husk with lemon juice to gain maximum benefits.
- Take around 1-2 tablespoons of psyllium husk powder. Mix it in 240 ml (one glass) of lukewarm water.
- Then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in it. Drink the mixture before the meal or drink it on an empty stomach early in the morning.
- If you have been prescribed psyllium by your doctor, you must follow the dosage and frequency as prescribed. (recommended).
- Psyllium Husk for Diarrhea
Is it possible to treat or relieve diarrhea using some remedy or supplement?
Well, this is possible now, psyllium husk can help with this problem as well.
This comes as a total astonishment.
A product that helps getting rid of constipation can also relieve diarrhea is disbelief for several peoples.
Psyllium acts as a useful remedy in relieving the symptoms of loose stools.
Study shows that psyllium can relieve diarrhea. It does this by acting as a water-absorbing agent.
It can increase stool thickness and slow down its passage through the colon.
Also, it helps to blocks the calcium ion channels and has antidiarrheal and anti-secretory properties.
Psyllium husk can absorb water because of fiber present in it.
Therefore, psyllium helps to control diarrhea by absorbing the water content from the digestive tract and producing bulk, which makes the stool thick.
Likewise, many people having lactose intolerance suffer from diarrhea. It helps such people by decreasing the frequency of bowel movements.
Thus, it can prevent constipation as well as reduce diarrhea, efficiently helping to normalize bowel movements.
How to take psyllium husk for Diarrhea?
To treat diarrhea, we don’t have to mix it water or any watery adjuvant because we are using it to absorb the excess water from the stools and make them thick.
- For relief from diarrhea, mix 1-2 tablespoons of psyllium powder in three to four spoons of fresh curd.
- Take this mix after your meal. Repeat the same about two times a day.
- It is also recommended to consult your doctor before consuming curd with psyllium for treating diarrhea.
Curd is enriched with probiotics that benefit in healing the infection.
When psyllium is consumed with curd.
The fibers in it helps in hardening the stools, and the curd gives you the proper quantity of probiotics needed for your body which heals the infection, thus resulting in relaxation from Diarrhea.
- Psyllium Husk for Acidity
Nowadays, due to Hectic lifestyle and stress leads to unhealthy or irregular meals, which results in the production of excess acid in the stomach.
In case if you are suffering from acidity, psyllium husk comes to help you out.
Psyllium Husk helps in forming a coat of protective layer on the lining of the stomach, lower oesophagus and intestines and in turn, limiting the feeling of burns and controlling the impact caused by acidity.
Thereby reduces the excessive secretion of digestive acids.
Moreover, since it helps in proper digestion and secretion of stomach acids, you get relief from acidity as the effect of acid in your stomach is revoked.
How to take psyllium husk for Acid Reflux?
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of psyllium husk powder with 1 glass (240 ml) of cold milk as adjuvant or if milk is not available cold water will also work. Nicely mix it!
- Take this mixture after the meal.
- Benefits of Psyllium Husk for High Cholesterol
People with raised levels of cholesterol in the blood have a higher risk of getting heart disease, and they are more prone to heart attack and stroke.
Do you know what doctors recommend when it comes to preventing heart disease?
Well! Most of the doctors recommend a diet having high fiber and low fat.
Yes! You are guessing right psyllium resembles a perfect match for most of the Doctor’s suggestions.
Studies reveal that the fiber present in psyllium husk benefits to reduce cholesterol levels, which in turn, protect your heart.
Psyllium binds to fat and bile acids due to its Guru (heavy) property, helping the body to excrete them.
In the process of substituting these lost bile acids, the liver uses cholesterol to produce more. As a result, blood cholesterol levels decrease.
In one study, 47 healthy participants experienced a 6% decline in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol after taking 6 g of psyllium each day for six weeks. (ref)
Besides, psyllium can help to enhance HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels also.
Moreover, psyllium has hypocholesterolemic effects; it also increases the breakdown and decreases the further absorption of bad cholesterol & triglycerides from the food.
According to various health experts, due to the hygroscopic properties of psyllium husk, it works by forming a thin layer along your intestinal walls.
It limits the absorption of cholesterol from the foods you eat, effectively reducing your blood’s serum cholesterol levels.
- Psyllium Husk Benefits for Diabetes
Diabetes is an endocrine dysfunction in which our body cannot metabolize glucose, causing an accumulation of these sugars in the blood.
Although it is not easy to completely cure diabetes, it can be achieved by making simple modifications to the diet.
According to The American Diabetes Association, a diet rich in fiber is useful for keeping diabetes under control.
In fact, psyllium husk works better for this mechanism than any different fibers.
In a study, researchers gave 51 people with type 2 diabetes and constipation 10 g of psyllium twice per day.
This concluded in reduced constipation, body weight, blood sugar levels, and also cholesterol level. (ref)
The goodness of fiber and natural gelatin substance present in it is well-known to reduce the sudden spike in blood sugar after meals and control diabetes significantly.
Psyllium husk also enhances the absorption of other antidiabetic drugs like metformin and intensifies their glucose-lowering property.
Other amazing Psyllium Husk Benefits are as follows:
- Promotes Gut health and acts as an appetite controller.
- Helps to cure Anal fissures and piles.
- Psyllium is also beneficial in high blood pressure.
- It is a natural prebiotic.
- Removes Toxins.
- Psyllium benefits to treat Ulcerative colitis. Along with this, you should definitely practice Prithvi mudra to reduce body heat and to treat ulcer related problems.
- It reduces Nocturnal emission (Nightfall).
- A remedy for amoebic dysentery
Who should Avoid?
- If you are suffering from dehydration, you should avoid consuming psyllium husk as it tends to absorb more water from the body.
- Avoid taking psyllium if you are having throat problems or difficulty in swallowing.
- If you are experiencing bloating or gas in the stomach, avoid taking it because that can lead to further heaviness in the stomach.
- If you have low blood sugar, then avoid consuming psyllium husk because that may further lower the blood sugar levels. So it is generally advisable to monitor your blood sugar level regularly while taking Isabgol along with anti-diabetic drugs.
- If you suffering from Fat-Soluble Vitamin Deficiency avoid consuming psyllium because it may limit the absorption of specific fat-soluble vitamins and thus leading to a deficiency of the same.
Psyllium Husk Side Effects
Side effects of psyllium husk powder and seeds are infrequent. There aren’t any severe allergic reactions related to it.
But along with isabgol benefits, some problems are seen in a few peoples.
- People may see some cramping, gas, or bloating in the stomach as it forms bulk by absorbing water.
- Psyllium husk could hinder the absorption of certain medications.
- Also, sometimes it can result in obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Choke in the throat if you have not mixed it properly with water or any adjuvant or have difficulty in swallowing.
- Although rare, few allergic reactions, such as rashes, trouble breathing, or itching, can result from ingesting psyllium powder.
A word of caution!
The only caution you have to keep in mind that you should not over-consume psyllium husk because it can be very harmful. Stick to directed suggestion
While taking isabgol husk mix it properly with water so that it will not cause choking while drinking it.
All the information provided here is for educational purposes only.
You need to consult your health expert or doctor before consuming psyllium (isabgol) husk as the dosage and requirement may vary depending upon your conditions.
Psyllium husk, also known as Isabgol husk, is obtained from the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata.
It is an oily and gluey herb with a sweet, astringent taste and has a cooling effect on the body.
Significant psyllium husk benefits are – it helps to treat constipation; prevents diarrhoea, can help to lower blood pressure, can lower cholesterol levels and also keep diabetes under control.
Well, psyllium benefits us because of having high fiber content in it. It is also rich in other minerals such as calcium, iron, and potassium.
Now you know the various Psyllium Husk benefits and multiple properties of this fantastic natural extract let us know how Psyllium Husk (Isabgol husk) has benefited your health in the comments below!
Also, share this article on Psyllium Husk with your close ones and friends to spread the knowledge of this fantastic herb.
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Psyllium Husk FAQ
What does psyllium husk do?
70% fiber present in psyllium husk helps to treat constipation, diarrhea, acidity, blood sugar, etc. It is also a natural source of fiber.
Is it OK to take psyllium husk everyday?
Yes, Psyllium Husk can be taken daily to reap its benefits. But always take the dosage as directed by your consultant.
Why psyllium husk is bad for you?
Psyllium husk is bad for you if it is causing you any side effects. Or if you are suffering from dehydration, having throat problems or difficulty in swallowing, if you have very low blood sugar level, if you suffering from Fat-Soluble Vitamin Deficiency, etc.
What are the side effects of psyllium husk?
Following are the side effects of psyllium husk:
1. Cramping and bloating in the stomach.
2. Psyllium husk could hinder the absorption of certain medications.
3. Sometimes it can result in obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Choke in the throat if you have not mixed it properly with water or any adjuvant or have difficulty in swallowing.
5. Although rare, few allergic reactions, such as rashes, trouble breathing, or itching, can result from ingesting psyllium.