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Psyllium Seed

Plant Part Used

Ripe seed; seed husks


Psyllium is rich in dietary fiber, a common and effective treatment for constipation. While psyllium has traditionally been used as a laxative, recent research suggests that it may have applications in the treatment of high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome and colon inflammation. According to the Food and Drug Administration, psyllium may also help lower the risk of heart disease.

Interactions and Depletions


Dosage Info

Dosage Range

2.5-15gm, 2-3 times a day, mixed with water or beverage (150ml/5gm). This is the approximate dose of a heaping teaspoonful (psyllium content varies with individual preparations).

Most Common Dosage

7.5gm, 3 times a day mixed in water or beverage (150ml/5gm). This is the approximate dose of a heaping teaspoonful (psyllium content varies with individual preparations).


[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

Standardization of this dietary supplement is not applicable.

Reported Uses

There have been various clinical studies on the effectiveness of psyllium in treating constipation. These studies have suggested that psyllium may even rival some pharmaceutical treatments by offering better stool consistency and lower incidence of side effects. (1) Psyllium has also been reported to be useful in diarrhea by increasing the thickness of stools. (2) , (3) A study has also shown the benefit of psyllium in improving diarrhea caused by the medications taken by patients with HIV. (4)

Studies further suggest that psyllium may also help control cholesterol levels. (5) Its high levels of soluble fiber may reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the bloodstream while stimulating the liver to produce cholesterol-lowering bile acids. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved psyllium to reduce cardiovascular disease risk with recent studies confirming that risk reduction. (6) In addition to lowering cholesterol, psyllium was recently reported to inhibit gallstone formation. (7)

Studies suggest that psyllium supplementation may support the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colon inflammation. (8) , (9) , (10) In support of IBS, psyllium may increase bowel movements and enhance the performance of other IBS treatments. (11) Studies involving psyllium for the treatment of colon inflammation suggested that it may be able to send the condition into remission.

Psyllium may also be beneficial for diabetics. Studies suggest that it can safely support healthy blood sugar levels. (12) Additionally, some researchers think psyllium may help control hypertension by enhancing the excretion of sodium. (13)

Toxicities & Precautions


[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]


This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Take this dietary supplement with plenty of fluid.


Some individuals experience an allergic reaction when taking this dietary supplement. Some people may have respiratory reactions to psyllium dust. (14) Call your doctor or seek medical attention if you have fast or irregular breathing, skin rash, hives or itching.

Health Conditions

If you have a bowel obstruction or an ulcer, (15) this dietary supplement is not recommended for use. If you have chronic constipation, diabetes (16) or are obese a physician should monitor the use of this dietary supplement.

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause gastrointestinal pain, flatulence and abdominal pain. (17) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

This dietary supplement should not be used in children under 6 years of age unless recommended by a physician.


  1. View Abstract: McRorie JW, et al. Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for treatment of chronic constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. May1998;12(5):491-7.
  2. View Abstract: Washington N, et al. Moderation of lactulose-induced diarrhea by psyllium: effects on motility and fermentation. Am J Clin Nutr. Feb1998;67(2):317-21.
  3. View Abstract: Leib MS. Treatment of chronic idiopathic large-bowel diarrhea in dogs with a highly digestible diet and soluble fiber: a retrospective review of 37 cases. J Vet Intern Med. Jan2000;14(1):27-32.
  4. View Abstract: Sherman DS, Fish DN. Management of Protease Inhibitor-associated Diarrhea. Clin Infect Dis. Jun2000;30(6):908-14.
  5. View Abstract: Schwesinger WH, et al. Soluble dietary fiber protects against cholesterol gallstone formation. Am J Surg. Apr1999;177(4):307-10.
  6. View Abstract: Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Vuksan V, Vidgen E, Parker T, Faulkner D, et al. Soluble fiber intake at a dose approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for a claim of health benefits: serum lipid risk factors for cardiovascular disease assessed in a randomized controlled crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. May2002;75(5):834-839.
  7. View Abstract: Davidson MH, et al. Long-term effects of consuming foods containing psyllium seed husk on serum lipids in subjects with hypercholesterolemia. Am J Clin Nutr. Mar1998;67(3):367-76.
  8. View Abstract: Hotz J, et al. Effectiveness of plantago seed husks in comparison with wheat brain on stool frequency and manifestations of irritable colon syndrome with constipation. Med Klin. Dec1994;89(12):645-51.
  9. View Abstract: Chapman ND, et al. A comparison of mebeverine with high-fibre dietary advice and mebeverine plus ispaghula in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: an open, prospectively randomised, parallel group study. Br J Clin Pract. Nov1990;44(11):461-6.
  10. View Abstract: Fernandez-Banares F, et al. Randomized clinical trial of Plantago ovata seeds (dietary fiber) as compared with mesalamine in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis. Spanish Group for the Study of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (GETECCU). Am J Gastroenterol. Feb1999;94(2):427-33.
  11. View Abstract: Jalihal A, et al. Ispaghula therapy in irritable bowel syndrome: improvement in overall well-being is related to reduction in bowel dissatisfaction. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. Sep1990;5(5):507-13.
  12. View Abstract: Frati Munari AC, et al. Lowering glycemic index of food by acarbose and Plantago psyllium mucilage. Arc Med Res. Jun1998;29(2):137-41.
  13. View Abstract: Obata K, et al. Dietary fiber, psyllium, attenuates salt-accelerated hypertension in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Hypertens. Dec1998;16(12 Pt 2):1959-64.
  14. View Abstract: Arlian LG, Vyszenski-Moher DL, Lawrence AT, et al. Antigenic and allergenic analysis of psyllium seed components. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1992;89:866-76.
  15. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:617.
  16. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:617.
  17. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.







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