Linum usitatissimum. Family: Linaceae
flax, linseed, lint bells, winterlien
Flaxseed is an annual. It’s grown in temperate and tropical regions. Oil from the
seeds is used as an alternative to fish oil. Flaxseed has a nutty flavor. It’s used
in bread and bakery products. The seeds from the flaxseed plant are also used to make
linseed cakes and in liniments. The stem of the plant is used to make linen thread.
Flaxseed contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. This acid may help
prevent and treat hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It may also reduce
total blood cholesterol. It may help reduce inflammatory conditions. These include
psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, multiple sclerosis, and ulcerative colitis.
Medically valid uses
Flaxseed oil helps prevent atherosclerosis and heart attack. It can be substituted
for other vegetable oils when making foods.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated
Flaxseed may help treat the following conditions:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Hot flashes during menopause
Low lipoprotein A (involved in atherosclerosis)
Some theories suggest that flaxseed may be anticarcinogenic. This means it may block
estrogen-stimulated breast cancer. It may also have sugar-reducing properties. It
may also have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral features.
You can take flaxseed as the cracked or coarsely ground seed. Take 1 tablespoon of
the whole or bruised seed with 150 milliliters of liquid 2–3 times per day. Or you
can take 2–4 tablespoons of milled linseed gruel per day.
For the oil form, use 1/2–1 tablespoon each day. Put it on salads or on vegetables.
You can also bake the oil into muffins. Taking the oil with food is important. This
is because the food emulsifies the fat. This helps your body absorb the oil better.
Flaxseed oil is used to lower cholesterol. Specifically, it lowers triglycerides.
Flaxseed preparation (made from seeds) works as a laxative. It treats constipation,
colons damaged by laxative abuse, and irritable colon.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
When you take it as directed, flaxseed doesn’t cause side effects. But taking large
amounts of it as a laxative without drinking enough fluids can lead to ileus. This
is when your bowel doesn’t contract well. It keeps it from being able to move waste.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers
before taking any herbal medicines. Flaxseed can have mild estrogenic effects. This
may harm a pregnancy. However, there is no evidence that flaxseed can harm a pregnancy
at this time.
You shouldn’t take flaxseed if you have ileus or an esophageal or gastrointestinal
stricture. You also shouldn’t take it if you have an acute inflammatory illness of
the intestine, stomach, or stomach entrance.
Flaxseed may delay how quickly you absorb other medicines if you take them at the