PSYLLIUM, Plantago psyllium

If you talk to the average person about psyllium, it’s most likely they wouldn’t know what you were talking about. However, if you ask them about Metamucil, they’ll say, “every one knows about Metamucil.” Metamucil is a laxative made almost entirely from psyllium seeds. It contains as aspartame to make it food coloring and flavoring, but for the most part, it is ground up psyllium seeds.

The genus or family of psyllium is plantago or plantain as we know it. Psyllium is sometimes called branched plantain. It grows about a foot to a foot-and-a-half tall with small thin strap-like leaves growing in whorls up the stem. The small branches grow out of the leaf axles on the upper part of the stem. On the top or end of each little branch is a pod or capsule. This pod is covered with little tiny blossoms like the other plantain plants. The tiny flower is white, with four small petals. When the blossom drops off, the top of the pod pops off and inside are many little seeds. The seeds are tiny and look like fleas and so the Greeks called the plant “psylla,” which means flea in Greek.

Psyllium has been used as a laxative for over two thousand years. It wasn’t used in this country until after the First World War, when many saw its positive effects on the bowel and brought some home and started using it.

The psyllium seed is remarkable. It contains mucilage that, when combined with water, will swell up to ten times its original size. This wet becomes soft and slick like gelatin and becomes an emollient that lubricates and acts as a laxative.
Psyllium is very gentle to the bowel because it is an all vegetable substance and it has no chemicals to irritate the bowel. Because it holds so much moisture, it has a soaking action in the bowel that helps to break up the old hard fecal matter that is causing constipation.

Because psyllium contains no harmful chemicals, it is helpful in treating colitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and autointoxication. Psyllium seeds are one of the main ingredients in Grandma’s herbal Super-Lax and Slim formulas.

Most folks don’t realize that many of our diseases come from what the doctors call autointoxication. When the bowel becomes constipated and very toxic, it makes the body sick. What happens is the bowel becomes constipated and starts to recycle the toxins through the blood stream and the body. These toxins can weaken and break down many systems in our body. If you don’t keep the bowel cleaned out, it can make you sick and cause all kinds of problems.

In one of our herb classes, a lady told of her daughter who was sick a lot and had trouble with her bowels. She said her daughter would go for a week at a time without having a bowel movement. Then when she would get things broke loose she would have diarrhea for a weeks. Every time the daughter would go to her doctor he would tell her that she should have a colostomy.

One day, a friend of the mother said that the daughter should use some herbal laxatives and she would get well. The mother told her about the doctor wanting to do a colostomy. The friend said to get her daughter some psyllium seeds, some cascara sagrada and some senna. The daughter took the herbs for two months and the mother said she was nearly all better, thanks to the herbs. They gave the mother’s friend a party for saving the daughter from an operation.
The newest thing about psyllium is that it will lower cholesterol. It will also remove catarrh and mucus from the bronchial and sinuses. Not bad for a weed.

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