Saturday, April 12, 2014



Many a times you have been to the Shopping Malls and Utility stores and you go to the section of edibles and without even giving a glance you go past this wonderful fibre perched on the shelf packed in bottles & sachets waiting for you to take it home where it can do wonders for you. Somehow or the other you ignore this wonderful fibre because you are not aware of its multipurpose healthy properties.    
It was way back in 1982 when I left the army and returned to civilian life that my weight from 80 kgs shot up to 95 kgs along with arise of my Blood Pressure. On examination of my lipid profile I was diagnosed as a case of high cholesterol leading to hypertension and insomnia.

I was given high doses of cholesterol lowering drugs like Lipitor & tranquilizers Librium for my insomnia. Now having lived an active life all throughout my army career the return to sedentary and static way of life took a toll of my health and mental faculties.

I myself being a doctor prescribe drugs and medications for my patient but I am paradoxically opposed to taking medicines myself, made this pledge that I will reduce my cholesterol and blood pressure without taking medication & resorted to dietary abstinence and exercises.

After a passage of more than three months, I found that despite my vigorous exercise and strict abstinence there was hardly any dent in the levels of my lipid profile. At that time an elderly friend of mine suggested that I should take Isabghol Husk daily and my cholesterol levels will come down. This happened June 1982 and now after 30 years I have been taking this fibre daily without fail.

My cholesterol levels these days remain in the upper limits of normal mainly attributed to my hereditary  family tendency and to my wayward eating habits of consuming NIHARI’S, Paye’s and Haleem which I savor as delicacy but never has my cholesterol level gone above the normal limits……….. Thanks to the wonderful dietary fibre ISABGHOL.

Isabgol is derived from Psyllium seed husks and is also known as ispaghula.
Isabgol, are portions of the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata, (genus Plantago), a native of India. They are hygroscopic, that is they absorb water expanding many times and become mucilaginous.
These Psyllium seed husk are indigestible and are a source of soluble dietary fiber. They are used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea. They are also used as a regular dietary supplement to improve and maintain regular Gastro intestinal tract transit. The inert bulk of the husks help provide a constant volume of solid material irrespective of other aspects of the diet or any disease condition of the gut. Some recent research has also shown them to be promising in lowering cholesterol and controlling diabetes

The husks are used whole in their natural state, or dried and chopped or powdered for easier consumption. In either of these forms, one takes them by mixing them with water or another fluid.
A typical dose is one to three teaspoons per glass of water. My personal experience is that of putting two table spoons of isabgol in the mouth and gulping it down with two glasses of water. Of course gargling may have to be done two three times so as to remove the remnants from the teeth and the palate. 

The best time to take this is one hour before dinner so that it gives you a feeling of fullness of the stomach or immediately after meals.
There may be some people who may have adverse allergic reactions, especially among those having regular exposure to psyllium dust, gastrointestinal tract obstruction may occur, especially or those with prior bowel surgeries or anatomic abnormalities, or if taken with inadequate amounts of water.

Isabgol, (or Ispaghol in Pakistan) comes from the Sanskrit words asp and ghol, meaning "horse flower," which is descriptive of the shape of the seed. India dominates the world market in the production and export of psyllium. 

Isabgol is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small intestine. The pure mechanical action of psyllium mucilage absorbs excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main use has been as a laxative, it is more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber and as such can help reduce the symptoms of both constipation and mild diarrhea. The laxative properties of isabgol are attributed to the fiber absorbing water and subsequently softening the stool.

Isabgol Psyllium is produced mainly for its mucilage content. The term mucilage describes a group of clear, colorless, gelling agents derived from plants. The milled seed mucilage is a white fibrous material that is hydrophilic, meaning that its molecular structure causes it to attract and bind to water. Upon absorbing water, the clear, colorless, mucilaginous gel that forms increases in volume by tenfold or more.

There are many varieties of Isabgol available in the market and is marketed in open, sachet, bottle or packets but be sure to use the clean, impurity free and refined brands available in the market. The latest addition is the highly refined variety known as Serene Isabgol. 

So next time when you go to the stores please make it a point to purchase this wonderful fibre and make it a permanent feature of your dining table. 

Use this wonderful fibre regularly for three months and with a little bit of exercise and abstinence your health parameters will improve remarkably and your body weight will come down thanks to the miracle effect of this fascinating fibre.

Dr. Babur Zahiruddin      

1 comment:

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