Sterculia is a widely used natural fibre supplement. It is found as a vegetable gum from the karaya tree. In medicine it is used in granule or powder form as a laxative to aid people with constipation or long term bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One or two heaped teaspoons are taken with water twice a day at least two hours before bedtime.
Sterculia is not absorbed or digested. It expands when it comes into contact with liquids found in the body. It then fills the gut which assists in the stimulation of muscles and thus the movement of stool. This then helps keep stool soft and bowel movements regular.
It is safe in children over six years if recommended by a doctor. It can be used during pregnancy at the recommendation of a doctor. Do not take it if about to go to bed or suffering from ulcerative colitis, and ensure an adequate fluid intake. Granules are to be swallowed whole and not chewed. Side effects are minimal but may include flatulence, diarrhoea and belly discomfort. It is important to follow the rules of your doctor and the guidelines on the packet of your specific brand of sterculia.