Scientific name: Several botanical species are used in medicine under the name “Psyllium fiber”: Plantago ovata (syn P. ispaghula), Plantago afra (syn P. psyllium), Plantago indica and P. asiatica.

Common names: Blond psyllium, Indian psyllium and Ispaghul for P. ovata; Black psyllium, Brown psyllium for P. afra. Plantago psyllium or Psyllium seed.

Psyllium Fiber

Proven health benefits

Psyllium decreases appetite (more feelings of fullness and less hunger between meals). It also decreases blood pressure and improves lipid profile.

Psyllium also improves constipation, albeit prune, dried plums, kiwi fruits or flaxseed seem to be better. The consumption of Psyllium has also been proven to improve the gastric tolerance of oral antidiabetics (i.e. metformin).

Preparation and dosage

Consume 1 tablespoon of psyllium seed husk (equal to 5 g) with a big glass of water (250 ml), twice daily 30 minutes before meal (morning and evening). Some take 15 g per day.

Psyllium husk can be consumed raw or cooked in the oven at 200 °C for 15 minutes.

Part used

Seed husk.


Bitter melon is a native vine of tropical Asia. It is widely grown in South and South-East Asia, Africa, and South America. The unripe fruit is commonly consumed. Seeds are bitter and should be removed. Extracts of various parts of bitter melon are also used in traditional medicine

Where to buy

Seeds or powder may be found in specialty grocery stores, chemists’, or markets.

Make your own

How to collect or grow it:  Psyllium grows in any soil, even compacted areas. In cooler regions, start seeds indoors, 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost. In warm regions without freezing temperatures, begin outside when night temperatures warm up to at least 18°C. Sow seeds 0.5 cm deep and keep the soil lightly moist. Harvesting when the psyllium flower spikes turn reddish-brown, lower leaves become dry and upper leaves turn yellow. Mature plants are cut 15 cm above the ground and then bound. They are left to dry in the shade for a few days before threshing.

How to prepare the powder: Dry the psyllium seeds and carefully crush them to separate the husks. You can then collect the husk by using a sieve.


The seeds must be stored under dry conditions to maintain their characteristic spicy flavour. Their viability is for 2 to 3 years when fully ripe. Broken seeds deteriorate rapidly; do not keep them over long periods.

Precautions, interactions and adverse effects

The ingestion of psyllium is safe. Only slight gastrointestinal adverse events such as nausea and diarrhoea may occur.

Patients with gastrointestinal conditions such as bowel obstruction should not take psyllium.

Patients on restricted fluid intake may not be candidates for psyllium therapy, as each dose must be mixed with at least 250 ml of water.

For patients treated with metformin, gastric tolerance of oral antidiabetic was improved.  

Pregnancy / Nursing

Despite no systematically controlled studies in pregnant women or during breastfeeding, nettle can be consumed safely at the usual doses as a standard food product.

Psyllium recipes


Psyllium Crackers

Psyllium CrackersIngredients For 20 crackers 50 g non-salted almonds 1 garlic clove 1 egg white 25 g psyllium husk 30 g oil, preferably olive 20 g grated cheese Pepper Water Instructions Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy...

read more

Seasonal Fruit and Psyllium Porridge

­Seasonal Fruit and Psyllium PorridgeIngredients For 1 person 1 green apple 250 ml water 1 teaspoon flax (optional) 1 tablespoon psyllium husk 1 teaspoons chia seeds (optional) 1 lime, juice Instructions Cut the green apple into small cubes. Blend the water, apple...

read more

Psyllium Detox Smoothie

Psyllium Detox SmoothieIngredients For 1 person 1 green apple 250 ml water 1 teaspoon flax (optional) 1 tablespoon psyllium husk 1 teaspoons chia seeds (optional) 1 lime, juice Instructions Cut the green apple into small cubes. Blend the water, apple cubes, psyllium,...

read more

Psyllium Fiber Milk Shake

Psyllium Fiber Milk ShakeIngredients For 1 person 10 raspberries 1 handfulblueberries 250 mlwater / vegetal milk (unsweetened) mixed according to your taste 1tablespoon psyllium husk 1teaspoon chia seeds (optional Instructions Combine all ingredients in a blender and...

read more