Oh Psyllium, I have been taking you almost daily now for over a year and your smooth, gelatinous ways help keep my bowels moving. But for some reason I have resented you. I have held it against you that my bowels have this embarrassing habit of getting slow and dry and painful. I’m so sorry, you have been my savior, really, and I am deeply grateful for it.
Today I look a little into who you are as a magical plant being, more than just a powder I buy at the co-op and ‘have’ to take.
Psyllium is of the Genus Plantago, closely related to our average garden Plantain, Plantago lancelota and P. major. The seed husks contain a great amount of mucilage and when they are ground become a fine, tan powder that is strongly hydrophilic. Meaning that it absorbs water. Which helps to soften stool in constipation as well as firm up stool in mild cases of diarrhea. It is one of the most commonly used bulk laxatives in the US and is also considered to reduce cholesterol due to its high level of dietary fiber.
I have been a great fan of garden plantain for many years. It is amazing as a drawing agent for infected splinters, sore throats, sinus congestion, boils, snake bite, … you name it. And it grows everywhere. Since European settlers brought it with them on their journey across America it was called “white man’s footprint” by the natives.
I am curious to see how the other medicinal properties of Psyllium and Plantain compare. I see that it is time for me to do a full on Plant Monograph to honor the Plantago family. Soon …
images Wikimedia Commons