psyllium (generic name)
- Auto Immune Conditions
- Bladder & Kidney Health
- Brain & Nervous System
- Care Transitions
- Dental Health
- Emotional Health
- Eye Health
- Falls Prevention
- Financial Planning
- General Safety
- Health Care Basics
- Healthy Living
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Health
- High Blood Pressure
- Life Transitions
- Lung Health
- Men's Health
- Nutrition & Weight Management
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Sexual Health
- Stomach & Digestive Health
- Stress & Anxiety
- Women's Health
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abrasions, abscesses, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), bladder disorders (cystitis), bleeding, blisters, boils, bronchitis, burns, cancer, cough, demulcent, diverticular disease, duodenal ulcer, dysentery, excessive menstrual bleeding, eyewash, fecal (stool) incontinence, gallbladder disease, gallstones, gout, hearing damage, heavy menstrual bleeding, high blood pressure, incontinence, insect bites and stings, intestinal ulcers, liver disorders, nose and throat irritation, parasites, poison ivy rash, psoriasis, radiation-induced colitis/diarrhea, skin soothing, sprains, stomach ulcer, urethritis, wound healing (used on the skin).
Adults (18 years and older)
Recommendations for dietary fiber intake for adults fall within the range of 20 to 35 grams per day, or 10 to 13 grams per 1,000 kilocalories ingested.
It is important to take laxatives such as psyllium with sufficient amounts of water or liquid in order to reduce the risk of bowel obstruction. Doses ranging from 2.2 to 45 grams by mouth daily in divided doses, often administered just prior to meals, have been used in studies.
Children (younger than 18 years)
3.4 to 16 grams by mouth daily has been studied, although more research is needed to establish benefits and long-term safety.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, difficulty breathing/wheezing, skin rash, and hives have been reported after ingestion of psyllium products. Less severe hypersensitivity reactions have also been noted. Cross-sensitivity may occur in people with allergy to English plantain pollen (Plantago lanceolata), grass pollen, or melon.
Side Effects and Warnings
Psyllium-containing laxatives, cereals, and other products are generally believed to be safe. Important exceptions include those with repeated psyllium exposure (such as healthcare workers frequently handling bulk laxatives who are at risk for hypersensitivity reactions) and patients with significant pre-existing bowel abnormalities (such as gastrointestinal strictures or impaired motility) or prior bowel surgery.
Obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract has been noted in numerous case reports of patients taking psyllium-containing laxatives, particularly in individuals with previous bowel surgery or problems and/or when the laxatives are mixed with inadequate amounts of water. Psyllium should be avoided by people who have throat problems or difficulty swallowing.
Gastrointestinal side effects are generally mild and have not prompted discontinuation of psyllium in most clinical trials. Esophageal obstruction has been reported in a patient with Parkinson's disease.
Immediate medical attention should be sought if any of these symptoms appear after taking psyllium: chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Psyllium-containing laxatives are considered class C-2 drugs in pregnancy, meaning that they appear to be safe in all three trimesters, although studies in pregnant humans and animals have not been done. Psyllium-containing products are considered class 1 (apparently safe) during breastfeeding.