Everyone knows digestive problems: Whether diarrhea or constipation, in both cases the gastrointestinal tract suffers – and the person with it. A product from nature now promises relief for the aforementioned complaints: psyllium husks.

Gastrointestinal complaints are no longer a taboo topic, but nobody likes to talk about them when they suffer from diarrhea or constipation. Nevertheless, the typical symptoms such as too soft or too hard a bowel movement cannot be ignored, quite the opposite: If you can no longer hold any food or go to the toilet for a longer period of time, this has health consequences. Therefore, you should treat the symptoms (if they last longer) in any case – for example with psyllium husks. Unlike regular medications that are taken for either diarrhea or constipation, the powder can stimulate digestion and treat both ailments. You can find out why this is the case and what you should know about taking it here.

What are psyllium husks and what are they made of?

As the name suggests, these are the seed coats of a plant species that belongs to the plantain family (Plantago afra and Plantago indica.). Its Latin name is “psyllium” and means “flea” – because the seeds are visually reminiscent of small fleas. The plant is mainly cultivated in Pakistan and India, so its term “Indian psyllium” is the most common. However, it is not the seeds that have a laxative and regulating effect on digestion, but their skins.

Flea seed husks contain large amounts of mucilage, which act like a kind of protective film and thus prevent irritation of the intestinal wall. But what is even more important: they bind water – more than 50 times as much. The herbal bulking agents can therefore increase the volume of the stool by binding the excess liquid (and also the toxins in the case of bacterial inflammation). In other words, if you suffer from diarrhea, the psyllium husks can thicken the stool and alleviate the symptoms.

If, on the other hand, you suffer from constipation, the flea seed shells can also be taken. The herbal stool softener contains a lot of roughage, which – as already mentioned – binds water and compresses the food to be digested. This in turn puts more pressure on the intestinal wall and stimulates peristalsis (i.e. muscle activity) so that the reflex to empty the bowels is triggered. Thus, psyllium husks are equally suitable for diarrhea or constipation (and even hemorrhoids).

How are psyllium husks taken correctly?

Flea seeds are available whole, i.e. including the seeds and husk, as capsules or as a powder. The latter is either taken pure or you mix it with some water or juice. You can mix the whole seeds as well as the psyllium husk powder with your muesli. The recommended quantities can be found on the respective packaging – and should be taken into account in any case. It is important with every intake that you always drink enough liquid so that the natural swelling agent can develop its full effect.

As a rule, psyllium husks can be taken daily (standing, not lying down or before going to bed), but you should start with a small dosage and increase it slowly. If you suffer from diarrhea, the effect can set in quite quickly. In the case of constipation, it sometimes takes a day or two before the first digestive successes appear. If you don’t notice any noticeable improvement after several days, it is advisable to consult a doctor and investigate the cause.

What are the side effects of psyllium husk?

Flea seed husks are usually very well tolerated, side effects can only occur in very rare cases – the best known include flatulence and abdominal cramps, which are very likely caused by the large amount of dietary fiber. Allergic reactions such as a runny nose or skin irritation are also rare. Then you should stop taking it.

When should psyllium not be taken?

Due to the swelling of the psyllium husk, the mucilage forms a protective film on the intestinal wall – this means that medicinal substances can no longer be absorbed by the body or only much later. It is therefore advisable not to take the psyllium husk powder or capsules at the same time as other medications, but ideally at an interval of 30 to 60 minutes. Furthermore, denture wearers should make sure that no residues remain in their mouth after rinsing them down, as they could swell up in the existing dentures.

And another important note: Since the effect on children has not yet been sufficiently investigated, taking psyllium husks under the age of six is ​​not recommended!

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