Psyllium is high in fibre and mucilage and when combined with water it swells to many times its original size, becoming slimy and gelatinous. Diarrhoea is inhibited via the absorption of excess moisture and bulking up of faeces, and constipation is alleviated by the softening of stool and the promotion of bowel movement by the extra volume.

For horses, psyllium husk’s ability to pick up sand and move it through the gut is particularly valuable in the prevention and/or treatment of sand colic. Periodic addition of psyllium to the feed is practised in some sandy soil areas.

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