Lecithin is the common name for a series of related compounds called phosphatidylcholines.
It also is an edible and digestible surfactant and emulsifier. Lecithin is used as an emulsifying and stabilizing agent in the food (eg, margarine, chocolate production), pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.
Lecithin also is used to treat liver ailments and hypercholesterolemia. The mechanism appears to be enhancement of cholesterol metabolism in the digestive system.