Both the dried seeds and the seed husks are demulcent, emollient and laxative. They are used in the treatment of dysentery, catarrhal conditions of the genito-urinary tract, inflamed membranes of the intestinal canal etc. The seeds have a mucilaginous coat and swell to several times their volume when in water. The seeds and the husks contain high levels of fibre, they expand and become highly gelatinous when soaked in water. By maintaining a high water content within the large bowel they increase the bulk of the stool, easing its passage. They are used as a demulcent and as a bulk laxative in the treatment of constipation, dysentery and other intestinal complaints, having a soothing and regulatory effect upon the system. Their regulatory effect on the digestive system means that they can also be used in the treatment of diarrhoea and by helping to soften the stool they reduce the irritation of haemorrhoids. The jelly-like mucilage produced when psyllium is soaked in water has the ability to absorb toxins within the large bowel. Thus it helps to remove toxins from the body and can be used to reduce auto-toxicity.The oil in the seed embryo contains 50% linoleic acid and has been used as a preventative of atherosclerosis. It is also effective in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.
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