Psyllium Notes

Psyllium NotesPsyllium: The Psimple Psolution for Dieting and the Digestive System

Most people aren't familiar with psyllium, though most have probably had some before in the form of Metamucil or other over-the-counter digestive aids. Psyllium contains a large amount of a soluble fiber known as mucilage. Mucilage absorbs water which adds bulk to the fiber in the digestive system. It also is soothing to membranes in the system, reducing inflammation. It is a healthy, cheap and easy solution for constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, weight control and, because of the soluble fiber content, it can help lower cholesterol. If you like drinking it, Metamucil and other preparations are fine. I prefer a couple of capsules with a big glass of water.

For Constipation: Psyllium adds bulk and moisture to the stool along with having a soothing effect on the walls of the colon. Commission E, the German equivalent of our FDA, highly recommends psyllium for treatment of constipation. A few capsules with water can often take care of constipation quickly without the use of harsh laxatives. Be sure to drink plenty of water for the best effect.

For Diarrhea Because psyllium absorbs water in the digestive system and adds bulk to stool, it is also useful for treating common diarrhea. Still use the herb with plenty of water since the main risk of diarrhea is dehydration. If you have infectious diarrhea, caused by viruses or bacteria psyllium can still be helpful but you may also need additional medical treatment.

Lower GI problems. A high fiber diet is the best way to treat or prevent this painful condition. Psyllium provides the fiber in an easy to use and soothing form. The fiber helps food to move more quickly through the colon and helps to eliminate the irritation of the diverticula. Again, drink plenty of water when using this treatment.

For Hemorrhoids Commission E of Germany also recommends psyllium for treating hemorrhoids. This is partly due to the soothing mucilage contained in the herb, and also due to the prevention of constipation which can exacerbate the problem. Dr. Jame Duke, in his book The Green Pharmacy, cites a study in which 84% of participants saw improvement in their hemorrhoids using psyllium. Note: topical application of Witch Hazel extract is another cheap and easy solution for hemorrhoids, so use both.

Weight Control Dr. Duke places psyllium as his number one choice for weight control. Taken before meals, the bulk of the fiber in the herb produces a feeling of fullness, so you eat less. (Our top weight loss recommendation is psyllium taken with a hot cup of yerba mate tea 20 minutes before meals). It also speeds digestion, and the plant contains several polyphenols that may speed up weight loss. It is the same principle cited in the popular product, Lipozene, that you see hawked on nightly infomercials. Lipozene uses conjac root, a common type of flour used mostly in Japan. The soluble fiber content of the root has the same effect as psyllium. The problem is that this is not a cheap solution. They charge astronomical prices for this product. They have to pay for all that hype somehow. Psyllium costs less than a dime per capsule.

Warnings and Concerns: As I said earlier, most people have been exposed to psyllium in some form or another through over-the-counter digestive aids, and there are few problems. If you have a ragweed allergy or asthma, test yourself with just one capsule before continuing with psyllium, and always drink plenty of water. Avoid psyllium if you have had problems with a bowel obstruction.

Contraindicated in bowel obstruction, esophageal stenosis, & abnormal intestinal narrowing. CHOKING: Taking this product (child or adult dose) without adequate fluid may cause it to swell & block your throat or esophagus & may cause choking. Do not take this product if you have difficulty swallowing. If you experience chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty in swallowing or breathing after taking this product, seek immediate medical attention.



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Psyllium Notes