Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Psyllium husks are nowadays considered a so-called superfood. It is a purely herbal product that is particularly effective for gastrointestinal complaints, but also has positive effects on other symptoms. Psyllium husks are available as seeds, powder, capsules or tablets and can not only be drunk, but also used in cooking or baking.

In our psyllium husk test 2021 we have compared different types of psyllium husk. We have worked out the important features as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type and presented them clearly. In addition, we give you answers to the most important questions about psyllium husks so that you can make the right choice when buying.




The most important facts

  • Psyllium husks are parts of the Indian plantain family and have their origin in India and Pakistan. They are considered a so-called superfood, as they have a proven positive effect on the human body.
  • The shells are available in powder form, as whole seeds, as capsules or as tablets. Especially as a powder, they are often drunk with water or used in baking or cooking in food as a low-carb substitute.
  • Psyllium husks only develop their full effect when they swell up in water and can therefore be effective against numerous complaints, such as flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea.

The Best Psyllium Husk: Our Picks

As there are different types of psyllium husks, we have selected the three best psyllium husk products in our opinion to support you in your purchase decision.

Buying and evaluation criteria for psyllium husk products

When buying psyllium husks, you should consider various points. We have therefore summarised the most important ones for you below:

In the next few paragraphs we will explain to you what exactly you should look out for in the respective points.

Dosage form

Psyllium husks are available in different varieties. They can be bought untreated as whole seeds or in powder form. Psyllium husks are also available in capsules or tablets.

Especially in the intestinal area, the powder can achieve its full positive effect, as it does not pass through the intestine as quickly as, for example, whole seeds.

Ultimately, however, it is up to you to decide which form of intake is best for you. If you want to take the psyllium husks quickly and easily, the capsule or tablet form is probably the best choice for you.

If you have difficulties with this form of intake, you should dissolve your psyllium husks in water or take them with food.

Quality

Most products promise a purity of psyllium husks of about 99 percent. Depending on the manufacturer, additional labelling with an organic seal or a Fairtrade seal is possible.

The organic seal confirms that the psyllium husks come from controlled, organic cultivation. The Fairtrade seal stands for fairly cultivated products that are traded 100 percent under fair conditions.

Country of origin

Psyllium husks mainly come from India and Pakistan. These countries are characterised by dry weather with many hours of sunshine and have sandy clay soils on which the plants can grow optimally.

The main harvesting time for the plants is between June and October. Psyllium husks are also cultivated in Europe in countries such as Spain or the south of France.

Package size

The package size of psyllium husks can vary greatly, between approx. 100 and 1000 grams, there are many different sizes to buy in the shops. Since psyllium husks have a very long shelf life, it is advisable to buy a larger package in order to save some money.

However, you should make sure to seal the bowls airtight and protected from water, e.g. in a jar with a lid, to ensure the long shelf life of the psyllium husks.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about psyllium husk products answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of psyllium husks and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What are psyllium husks and what effect do they have?

The term psyllium husks refers to the seed husks of the Indian plantain Plantago Ovata.

The psyllium husks in particular contain many important dietary fibres.

In modern usage they are often also called psyllium husks. The tasteless and odourless psyllium husks come mainly from the regions of India and Pakistan.

In contrast to the whole seeds, the shells in particular contain a lot of dietary fibre and mucilage, which are very important for the body.

Psyllium husks work through the combination with water, because they only develop their full effect through swelling in liquid. Psyllium husks can be used in many different ways and provide relief from various illnesses and complaints.

When does it make sense to take psyllium husks?

As already mentioned, psyllium husks can help to improve a variety of diseases. In the following, we have compiled a list of ailments for which the intake of psyllium husks can have a positive effect (1, 2):

  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea
  • Intestinal rehabilitation or rebuilding of the intestine
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • other intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
  • to lose weight or to support a diet
  • to lower cholesterol levels

The list shows that psyllium husks are mainly used for gastrointestinal complaints, as they can help to regulate digestion and thus contribute to a rapid improvement.

Especially in the case of the so-called irritable bowel syndrome, a positive effect after taking psyllium husks could be determined by a study. (3)

Due to the swelling, the psyllium husks are particularly well absorbed by the intestine and can work there for a longer period of time.

Psylliumschale-1

The swollen seeds create a feeling of satiety in the body, which is why psyllium husks can often be used to support a diet. (Image source: Bill Oxford / unsplash)

It has also been shown that the administration of psyllium can have a positive effect on the complaints of elderly people with faecal incontinence. (4)

Basically, psyllium husks work for people with the symptoms or diseases mentioned above. However, psyllium husks can also be effective in animals such as horses, dogs or even cats.

Stomach problems can be alleviated and allergies can be better treated. The coat of the animals can also become shinier by taking psyllium husks. (5)

How much do psyllium husks cost?

The price of psyllium husks can vary greatly depending on the contents of the pack and the particular dosage form. The following table gives you an overview of the current prices of psyllium husks on amazon.de.

Type Price on Amazon
Psyllium husks (whole) approx. 6 to 25 euros
Psyllium husks (powder) Approximately 7 to 20 Euro
Psyllium husks (capsules) Approximately 21 to 42 Euro

As you can see, especially psyllium husks in capsule form are significantly more expensive than whole psyllium husks or psyllium husk powder. All three types of psyllium husk have the same effect. However, it depends on which form of intake you personally prefer.

What types of psyllium husks are there?

Psyllium husks come in two different types, as whole husks or as powder. To show you what the difference is and when to use which type, we have provided an overview of the two types below:

Type Description
Psyllium husk powder The powder of psyllium husks has the advantage that, in contrast to whole psyllium husks, it can remain longer in the intestine and thus ensures a positive and, above all, long-lasting effect in the human body.

The powder is excellent for baking or in smoothies. Due to its fineness, you can hardly taste the powder in the food.

Whole psyllium husks Basically, whole psyllium husks have the same effect as psyllium husk powder. The difference, however, is that unlike the powder, they pass through the intestinal tract very quickly, which means that their positive effect is often only temporary.

Whole psyllium husks can also be used in other foods and dishes, but the consistency is often somewhat coarser due to the nature of the psyllium husks.

You can see that both types have a similar effect, but they differ in texture. Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself which form of psyllium husks is the right choice for you.

When and how should psyllium husks be taken?

Since the correct intake of psyllium husks is of great importance, we have summarised the most important points that you should bear in mind when taking them:

  1. Do not take in the evening: Psyllium husks should primarily be taken in the morning or at noon, not in the evening before going to bed. (6)
  2. Follow dosage instructions: It is essential to follow the respective manufacturer's instructions. The daily dose of 40 grams per day should not be exceeded, otherwise undesirable side effects (see next section) may occur.
  3. Allow to swell: Psyllium husks should be swollen before consumption, ideally in water. This is important because the husks only develop their full effect when they swell.
  4. Do not drink with milk: Psyllium husks should not be drunk with milk, as it contains fat and is not compatible with the husks. It is better to drink a large glass of water. After consumption, you should also rinse with another glass of water, otherwise constipation or stomach pain may occur. (6)
  5. Use in food: Psyllium husks can also be used in food, e.g. as a low carb alternative in the form of a flour substitute in baking or in cooking to thicken sauces and the like.

As you can see, it is very important that you consider a few points when taking psyllium husks in order to avoid possible side effects. We will tell you exactly what these are in the next section.

What are the possible side effects of taking psyllium husks?

Although psyllium husks are a herbal product, undesirable side effects can occur. In particular, if the bowls have been dosed incorrectly, for example if you have taken too many of the bowls, the body cannot process the high amount of psyllium husks.

Psylliumschale-2

Psyllium can be used in many ways: Whether processed as a powder in a bowl or as whole seeds as a decorative topping on your breakfast. (Image source: Corina Rainer / unsplash)

Side effects such as flatulence, cramps or other intestinal complaints may occur afterwards. Rarely, incorrect ingestion can lead to allergic reactions, such as allergic skin reactions or conjunctivitis. (7)

What are the alternatives to psyllium husks?

If you don't like psyllium husks or can't tolerate them, there are two comparable alternatives that you can also use:

Type Description
Flaxseed Flaxseeds, especially ground flaxseeds, can also act as a swelling agent in the stomach as they bind water. They have been used for many years as a herbal remedy for constipation and digestive problems.

Linseeds also contain important omega-3 fatty acids, but these are lost shortly after crushing, so they should only be crushed when needed.

Chia seeds Chia seeds are also considered a so-called superfood. Besides valuable omega-3 fatty acids and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, they also contain proteins and iron. Chia seeds convince with their high content of antioxidants and thus protect our body from so-called free radicals.

Chia seeds also swell when water is added. They provide a long-lasting feeling of satiety and can also promote digestion.

As you can see, both flax and chia seeds have similar effects to psyllium husks. If you prefer another type of seed, you can also use these comparable alternatives to achieve a similar effect as with psyllium husks. (8)

Image source: beats1 / 123rf

References (8)

1. Institut für Ernährung und Gesundheit. 2020. Psylliumschalen-Pulver zur Entgiftung des Darms
Source

2. Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung. 2007. Indische Flohsamenschalen - mehr als Laxanzien. DAZ Nr. 29, S. 91
Source

3. C.J. Bijkerk, N.J. de Wit, J.W.M. Muris, P.J. Whorwell, J.A. Knottnerus, A W. Hoes. 2009. Soluble or insoluble fibre in irritable bowel syndrome in primary care? Randomised placebo controlled trial
Source

4. Markland AD, Burgio KL, Whitehead WE, Richter HE, Wilcox CM, Redden DT, Beasley TM, Goode PS. Loperamide Versus Psyllium Fiber for Treatment of Fecal Incontinence: The Fecal Incontinence Prescription (Rx) Management (FIRM) Randomized Clinical Trial. Dis Colon Rectum. 2015 Oct;58(10):983-93. doi: 10.1097/DCR.0000000000000442. PMID: 26347971.
Source

5. Kögel. 2020. Flohsamen sind auch für Pferde, Hunde und Katzen gesund.
Source

6. Diehm. 2017. Flohsamenschalen - eine unverzichtbare Zauberfaser für gesunde Rituale
Source

7. Kahle. 2017. Heilpflanze Flohsamen (Psyllium)
Source

8. Frey. 2014. Chia-Samen, Leinsamen und Flohsamenschalen im Vergleich
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Institut für Ernährung und Gesundheit. 2020. Psylliumschalen-Pulver zur Entgiftung des Darms
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung. 2007. Indische Flohsamenschalen - mehr als Laxanzien. DAZ Nr. 29, S. 91
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
C.J. Bijkerk, N.J. de Wit, J.W.M. Muris, P.J. Whorwell, J.A. Knottnerus, A W. Hoes. 2009. Soluble or insoluble fibre in irritable bowel syndrome in primary care? Randomised placebo controlled trial
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Markland AD, Burgio KL, Whitehead WE, Richter HE, Wilcox CM, Redden DT, Beasley TM, Goode PS. Loperamide Versus Psyllium Fiber for Treatment of Fecal Incontinence: The Fecal Incontinence Prescription (Rx) Management (FIRM) Randomized Clinical Trial. Dis Colon Rectum. 2015 Oct;58(10):983-93. doi: 10.1097/DCR.0000000000000442. PMID: 26347971.
Go to source
Artikel
Kögel. 2020. Flohsamen sind auch für Pferde, Hunde und Katzen gesund.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Diehm. 2017. Flohsamenschalen - eine unverzichtbare Zauberfaser für gesunde Rituale
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Kahle. 2017. Heilpflanze Flohsamen (Psyllium)
Go to source
Artikel
Frey. 2014. Chia-Samen, Leinsamen und Flohsamenschalen im Vergleich
Go to source
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