YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: Psyllium explained (and the difference between psyllium husks and psyllium powder.)

So you have read some of the reviews on the site and you are more than just a little impressed by all of these promised benefits and health effects. But what you are unsure about is this “psyllium” word that is constantly being thrown around. Psyllium, psyllium husk, psyllium powder…. What does it all mean and where in the world does this “psyllium” come from? Well, as a matter of fact, it is all pretty simple. You will often see the word “Plantago”, which is just the name of the genus of plants that the seeds are taken from that eventually provide us with the dietary fiber that we so dearly value.


So all this great psyllium dietary fiber is just seed?

Essentially yes. Psyllium fiber is processed from the outer parts of the seeds and then presented to us as either psyllium husks or psyllium powder, depending on the specific supplement or the way we would like to consume it. This could vary depending on our needs since some people prefer powder, some prefer the husks, and if you are baking with psyllium, a recipe might call for either one.


Wait a minute. What is the difference between psyllium husks and psyllium powder?

Nothing! Except for the consistency. Psyllium husks are the outer shells of the Plantago genus seeds and the powder is just when the husks have been ground down. Some psyllium users even grind down their own psyllium husks with a spice grinder to get the powder, especially if this presents a form of cost savings. If we look at a brand like NOW Foods Psyllium Husks we see that we can also find it in a powder variant and even then the powder variant can be found in varying sizes.

spice grinder used for psyllium powder


Is there a difference in the effectiveness of the psyllium husks versus the powder?

No there is no difference, as long as you adjust the amount you take accordingly. Given the increased size of the husks, you will have to use approximately a tablespoon of psyllium husks to get the same effect and fiber amount as a teaspoon of psyllium powder.


So why would I use psyllium husks over psyllium powder?

Well the most obvious reason would be what we alluded to above where there is some type of cost savings for attending to the grinding wok yourself as and when you need psyllium powder. It might also provide some flexibility in that you don’t need to buy both. The other reason that you might want to use psyllium husks over powder (or vice versa) could be that you are baking with psyllium and the recipe calls for a specific variant. There are also some reports from users that say that the psyllium husks had a stronger laxative effect in that they were running to the loo more often, but these reports are few and far between.


In Summary:

I hope that this demystifies psyllium a bit and provides some answers to questions you might have had around differences between psyllium husks and psyllium powder. If you have any more burning questions you would like answered, reach out to me on the contact page. So do you prefer using psyllium husks or psyllium powder for your everyday dietary fiber needs?

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