Psyllium (Plantago ovata) is among the most commonly known and used herbal remedies. This medicinal plant is native to the regions of India and Pakistan, the Mediterranean regions, as well as southern areas of Russia and Ukraine. Psyllium leaves and psyllium seeds are used to treat and prevent a great variety of health conditions, from wounds and mild digestive problems to obesity. The seeds are known as excellent natural source of dietary fiber, that is why they are very commonly used as an ingredient of popular dietary supplements. Besides, psillum seeds are also used for commercial production of mucilage. For making home remedies and herbal preparations, it is also possible to purchase psyllium in the form of dry leaves and seed powder.
Health benefits of psyllium were known and widely used in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. However, it took centuries to carry out numerous scientific studies and researches proving amazing psyllium benefits. Using this natural remedy for balancing the function of our digestive system is definitely among the most popular applications of psyllium herb. According to the report of the scientists at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, published in 1990 in the Journal of American Medical Association, using psyllium-containing products (like high fiber cereal or others) can assist in bad LDL cholesterol lowering and treating such common health condition as hyper-cholesterolemia. See more information about these findings here.
Besides, psyllium benefits include very good laxative properties and can be recommended to everyone who suffers from various bowel movement irregularities, especially constipation. It is especially effective for treating the problems and disorders of the function of lower intestine and colon, like irritable bowel syndrome and others. During the experiment in Denmark reported by the British Medical Journal, taking psyllium supplement helped to reduce the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome including stomach cramps, bloating, abdominal pains, heaviness in the abdomen, and others, up to 90 per cent. Dietary fiber in psyllium and especially psyllium seeds is a great natural solution to maintain bowel health and integrity.
Moreover, according to May Clinic experts, laxative properties of psyllium assist in reducing absorption of sugar, this way reducing blood sugar. The same findings were reported in 2005 by a group of scientists at Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicinal Plants, Tehran, in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Therefore, various herbal preparations with psyllium can be good to those who suffer from diabetes mellitus. Psyllium benefits also include lowering the risks such a problem as hemorrhoids since this unique natural remedy can substantially improve the function of lower intestine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, using psyllium herbal tea or other homemeade remedies can be of a great help to those who are suffering from severe hemorrhoid pains. Health benefits of psyllium include decreasing the risks of colon cancer and lowering blood pressure.
Finally, for many centuries psyllium has been used as an effective natural wound healer. It turned out that these amazing benefits of psyllium can be explained by certain bioactive compounds which can be found in the herb. A group of scientists from Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet in Balsgård, Sweden, tested fenolic compounds existing in psyllium and found out that wound healing properties of this medicinal herb are very powerful. According to Dr Muhammad Zubair, one of the study leaders, the findings of his expert team can be very promising, and further intentions of the scientific group include optimization of natural content of psyllium by modifying it, in order to boost the found properties. You can read more about these findings and other psyllium benefits here (in Swedish). Do not forget to talk to your doctor or a competent health care specialist before stating any sort of therapy or treatment involving psyllium.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.