What are psyllium husks?

 

Psyllium, or ispaghula, is the common name for several species in the plant genus Plantago, which contains more than 200 species. Seeds produces from the plant species Plantago ovata are known in trading circles as white or blonde psyllium, Indian plantago, or isabgol. 


The psyllium plant originated in India, and its main area for commercial produced today is in the Northwestern India and Pakistan. The plant grows in cool, dry weather and in drained sandy loams. 


Psyllium husks are the outer shell parts surrounding the seeds on the psyllium plant (Plantago ovata), and they are small, white and light. However, they contain approx. 85% fibers. The fibers are water-soluble and able to absorb huge quantities of water – up to 40 times their own weight.

 

The high amount of fibers and the extreme water-solubility provide psyllium husks with an efficient intestinal regulating effect (see How do psyllium husks work?).