Psyllium is a bulk forming laxative and is high in fiber and mucilage. The seeds contain lO-30% mucilage, the laxative properties are due to the swelling of the husk when it comes in contact with water. this forms a gelatinous mass and keeps the feces hydrated and soft. The resulting bulk stimulates a reflex contraction of the walls of the bowels, followed by emptying. Psyllium is the primary ingredient in many bulk-producing non-irritating laxatives which are much milder and safer than stimulant herbs like senna and cascara sagrada. Psyllium seeds and husks have long been used by Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalists to regulate the bowel movements and alleviate constipation and diarrhea.

In recent years psyllium has become one of the world’s most widely used herbs. It is recognized as a premier source of dietary fiber. It can also be used to aid in weight loss by instilling a sense of fullness. Some studies suggest that it may also lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In a multi-center, clinical trial, researchers determined that psyllium might be as effective as mesalamine, a prescription anti-inflammatory drug, for maintaining remission of ulcerative colitis. Psyllium is considered to be very safe and non-toxic when used properly. Always drink plenty of water when using the herb to promote the therapeutic effects. Do not use psyllium if you have had intestinal or bowel surgery, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, or if you have bowel or intestinal blockages.

The recommended dosage of psyllium is 1 heaping teaspoon in a glass of juice or water. Stir once and drink quickly, as the husk will immediately begin to swell. Follow with a large glass of water. Or two to three capsules with a large glass of water.

You can take Psyllium either once a week for maintenance, or two days on two days off to alleviate constipation or diarrhea.