Image for Psyllium (, )
Psyllium (Plantago ovata, Plantago ispaghula)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • AC-2, arabinose, Bran Buds® cereal, bulk laxative, butyrate, Effersyllium®, fiber, Fiberall®, Fiber-loop cereal, flea seed, fleawort, Fybogel®, Fybogel Orange®, Heartwise® cereal, hemicellulose, hexoses, Hydrocil®, Indian plantago seed, isabgol, I-so-gel®, ispaggol, ispaghula, ispaghula husk, ispaghula seed, isphagula, Konsyl®, Lunelax®, Metamucil®, Minolest®, natural vegetable laxative, pale psyllium, pentoses, Perdiem®, Plantago arenaria, Plantago isphagula, Plantago ovata, Plantago ovata Forsk., Plantago ovata husks, Plantago psyllium, plantago seed, polysaccharides, prebiotic, Prodiem Plain®, psyllion, psyllios, psyllium, psyllium husk, psyllium husk powder, psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid, psyllium seed, psyllium seed husks, Psyllogel® Fibra, Regulan®, Serutan®, soluble fiber, spogel, uronic acids, Vi-Siblin®, xylose, Yerba Prima®.
  • Select combination products: Minolest® (16% guar gum and 62% psyllium).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Psyllium, also referred to as ispaghula or isphagula, is derived from the husks of the seeds of Plantago ovata or Plantago ispaghula. Psyllium contains a high level of soluble dietary fiber, and it is the chief ingredient in many commonly used bulk laxatives, including products such as Metamucil® and Serutan®.
  • Psyllium has been studied as a "nonsystemic" cholesterol-lowering agent, with generally modest effects seen on total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Several psyllium-containing cereals, such as Heartwise® and Bran Buds®, have appeared in the U.S. marketplace during the last 15 years and have been touted for their potential lipid-lowering and "heart-health-promoting" effects. Good scientific evidence also exists in support of psyllium for constipation.
  • Evidence of benefit for psyllium for other uses, such as diarrhea, blood pressure and blood glucose regulation, weight loss, labor induction, and other gastrointestinal uses, are limited or mixed. Further research is needed for these uses. Other less frequently studied applications include theoretical antineoplastic uses.
  • Allergic reactions to psyllium, including anaphylaxis, have been reported in case reports (1;2;3;4;5;6;7;8). Obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract by such laxatives has also been reported, particularly in patients with prior bowel surgeries or anatomical abnormalities or when mixed with inadequate amounts of water (9;10;11).

Dosing/Toxicology

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Precautions/Contraindications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Mechanism of Action

  • Content available for subscribers only.

History

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Table

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Discussion

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Products Studied

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.