Botanical Name- Plantago Psyllium
Common names- Psyllium Husk, Isapghua, Isaphgol
Description- It is said that the word ‘Psyllium’ actually originated from the Greek word which means a ‘flea’ and the reason why this specific word was chosen was actually in reference to the shape and white color of the seed. However, the word Psyllium is a common term that is used to refer to different varieties of the same species and there are more than 200 such varieties that we know of. Psyllium as such is cultivated in a number of European countries as well as in Asian countries like India and China where the weather is both cool and dry. This herb grows easily and often reaches a height of between 16 to 18 inches. This plant also has a number of small and white flowers which are quite pretty to see. Psyllium husk has since long been used to treat constipation and to reduce high cholesterol levels.
Benefits- The benefits of adding fiber to one’s diet are well known. The best way to get fiber naturally is to eat food and food products that aren’t processed, which have a natural bran content and which don’t have any added preservatives and the like. Another good way to ensure that you get all the multiple benefits of fiber is simply by making it a part of your diet. The white seeds resemble a pile of thin flakes which have no weight. However, if you add one teaspoon of these seeds to water, it forms a thick coagulated mass that is off white in color. The longer these seeds stay in water, the thicker the consistency of the water becomes. This mix is often added to porridge, to soups, to smoothies and even to juices to enhance the taste, add a dash of fiber and to make the liquid thicker too. The seeds can be added to any cooked dishes too but it’s advisable to do so once the dish has cooled down properly. Psyllium husk has been proven to be very effective in treating diarrhea, works as an effective laxative and can also treat constipation. The seeds can be added to any liquid and given to children in order to aid better digestion as well as they do not contain any added chemicals or preservatives. It is said that the husk acts like a magic broom in the body, and rids the body of any toxins that may be present in the digestive system. Moreover, nutritionists also say that having a glass of psyllium husk before meals can help reduce one’s hunger pangs naturally and may also aid in weight loss as it keeps the tummy naturally full.
Consumption- It is possible that taking too much of psyllium husk can result in tummy bloating and maybe even in a gastric disorder. Pregnant women are advised not to take psyllium husk and patients suffering from diabetes should do so only under proper medical supervision. It is generally safe to give children in small doses.