The seed husk of Plantago ovata (psyllium), known locally as ispaghulla, is found in India, Iran, northern Africa and Pakistan. It is extremely effective for chronic constipation, making it an essential component of many commercially available laxative products. It is equally popular among traditional healers and modern physicians as a first-line treatment for chronic constipation, and is unique because it is effective in both constipation and diarrhea. As a medicinal plant, it is preferred to treat constipation and diarrhea because it contains multiple constituents with effect-enhancing and/or side effect–neutralizing potential, and hence is considered relatively safe in prolonged use. In addition, many experimental and clinical studies suggest that psyllium lowers serum and liver cholesterol concentrations, and may increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Based on current data, psyllium supplements may also reduce indicators of inflammation, lower serum glucose levels, favor body weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The laxative effect of Plantago ovata is due to its high fibre content. Plantago ovata contains high levels of fibre and becomes highly gelatinous when soaked in water. This stimulates bowel evacuation, explaining its medicinal use in constipation. In vivo and in vitro studies conducted to determine the pharmacological basis of Plantago ovata in gastrointestinal disorders demonstrated that Plantago ovata has a gut-stimulatory effect, mediated partially by muscarinic and 5‑HT4 receptor activation, which may complement the laxative effect of its fibre content, and a gut-inhibitory activity possibly mediated by blockade of Ca2+channels and activation of nitric oxide (NO)–cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathways. This may explain its medicinal use in diarrhea, and is perhaps also intended by nature to offset an excessively stimulating effect.
The biologic mechanism involved in the cholesterol-lowering effects of psyllium are still under investigation. Some researchers suggest that psyllium binds to and reduces the reabsorption of bile acids in the small gut (such as cholestyramine), increasing cholesterol excretion. Psyllium could also reduce fat absorption by interfering with digestive enzyme activity. The coronary heart disease–risk-reducing effect of psyllium could also be explained by interference of enterohepatic circulation. Bacterial fermentation of cholesterol produces short-chain fatty acids in the colon that reduce circulating cholesterol. Moreover, it has been shown that psyllium husk increases the activity of liver 7‑α hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of bile acids from cholesterol.
Psyllium moderates postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations in non–insulin-dependent diabetic patients, if taken with meals. A study showed that psyllium is able to improve insulin sensitivity by increasing muscle GLUT4 protein expression in an animal model, besides reducing hyperglycemia by suppressing intestinal glucose absorption. Part of Plantago ovata’s ability to control blood glucose is due to its high fibre content. According to a report by the American Diabetic Association, fibre improves the control of blood glucose and delays glucose absorption and hyperinsulinaemia.
Adults and children over 6: Take 3 capsules twice daily (morning and evening) with 8 oz. of water of juice, before or after meals. Follow with a second glass of liquid. Effects observed 12–24 hours after first dose, and may take 2–3 days. If you are taking other medications, take this product 2 hours before or after them.
|Each vegetable capsule contains:
|Psyllium (Plantago ovata) husks
|Also contains: Inulin and Stevia rebaudiana leaf.
This product is non‑GMO.
Consult a healthcare practitioner if symptoms worsen or if laxative effect does not occur within seven days. Consult a healthcare practitioner immediately if you experience chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty in swallowing or breathing after taking this product. Consult a health-care practitioner prior to use if you are taking medications which inhibit peristaltic movement, or if you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or fever.
Contraindications: Do not use if you are experiencing a sudden change in bowel habits that has persisted for more than 2 weeks, undiagnosed rectal bleeding, or failure to defecate following the use of another laxative product. Do not use if you have diabetes mellitus in which blood sugar is difficult to regulate. Do not use if you have difficulty swallowing.
Known adverse reactions: Hypersensitivity, such as allergy, has been known to occur following inhaled and/or ingested psyllium; in which case, discontinue use. May cause temporary gas and/or bloating.