What is Psyllium?

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One of the key questions which may cross your mind when you start out trying learn more about Metamucil is “What is Psyllium?”. The reason is – Psyllium is the main ingredient behind Metamucil.  Hence this article will also help you to understand what is Metamucil, since Psyllium is the main component for Metamucil. So this article aims to answer that question for you.

Psyllium is a plant which belongs to the biological group called Plantago.  There are more than 100 varieties of this plant and it is cultivated mainly in India, Pakistan and some in European countries.  Psyllium which is used in Metamucil and other laxatives is actually the husk of the psyllium seeds. This husk is extracted from the seeds for its medicinal as well as laxative properties.

Psyllium is called Isabgol in India which is the leading producer of Psyllium.  Isabgol word originated from Sanskrit.

How is Psyllium Husk Produced?

Psyllium seeds are very light and small. The seeds contains a covering which is also known as husk.  The husk is white fibrous material. The covering of the seed are extracted in mills with the following process –

1. The seeds are first cleaned by various mechanical processes.

2. The cleaned seeds are then lightly pressed between steel plates or roller. This separates the husk from the seed. Care is taken to apply optimum pressure which will remove the husk without breaking the seeds which can contaminate the husk with non husk content.

3. The husk is then dried and powdered and packed for consumption.

Why is Psyllium So Popular as Laxative?

There are several reason behind popularity of psyllium as a laxative which can vary from person to person.  Here are 5 reasons for popularity of Psyllium.

Psyllium is a plant based product with almost no side effects. Most people including me are more comfortable with natural products instead of chemical compounds.

Second reason is psyllium is not absorbed in the body since it contains soluble fiber.

Third reason is it is a good source of dietary fiber.

Fourth reason is psyllium is relatively a cheap product.

Fifth reason is it is not having a strong taste so you can add it to other ingredients such as milk or juice and have it.

Another commercial reason is it can be used as food thickener and binding agent.

Are there any Adverse Reactions to Psyllium?

Psyllium Seed Husks

Some people may be allergic to psyllium but that is very rare condition.  Usually it happens to people who are exposed to psyllium dust more often which happens mostly in factories of mills where psyllium is produced.  However for most people allergies are not observed.

If you are looking for a safe and good laxative Psyllium can be one of your top choice.  There are many other health benefits of psyllium which are discussed in other articles in this site.

Useful Resources

All about Psyllium

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