1. History and use
Originally from the temperate regions of Europe and Asia , flax is grown by sowing in many parts of the world, including France, Canada and the United States, and is harvested when its seeds are ripe late summer or early fall.
2. Description of the plant
Flax has been cultivated in the Middle East for over 7000 years. It’s seeds and fiber are used for countless medicinal and industrial uses, flax has recently been found to have very high doses of essential fatty acids, making the plant an invaluable remedy for maintaining the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system and for preventing chronic immunodeficiency syndromes. Cultivated flax is an annual herb with a fibrous stem up to 60 cm in height, thick, alternate, lanceolate, solitary, pale blue, fruit shaped like small spherical capsules, containing brown, oval and flattened seeds.
3. Curative action
Flax is traditionally used as a laxative, especially in case of chronic constipation. Its seeds absorb intestinal fluids and help soften the stools and facilitate their evacuation. By their richness in mucilage, they provide a calming and anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the irritation of the colon in conditions such as colitis, intestinal inflammation and hemorrhoids.
- Respiratory and urinary disorders
The seeds, which must be opened before swallowing, calm the pulmonary pains and, to a lesser degree, the irritation of the urinary tract, effective against chronic or acute cough, bronchitis, emphysema and urinary disorders such as chronic cystitis.
- External use
A cataplasm of crushed seeds or flaxseed applied to boils and anthrax soothes ulcers and drains pus. A Portuguese recipe recommends combining linseed oil with red wine as a cure for wounds.
In external use: heals skin inflammations, painful dermatoses, bruises, ulcers, inflamed wounds.
- Usual therapeutic indications
Reduction of cholesterol and menopausal symptoms, treatment of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, enteritis and colitis; pulmonary and urinary disorders.
To treat inflammatory conditions: infuse 20 g of seeds for five minutes, in 1 liter of water, consume 3 to 4 cups a day.
To reduce constipation: soak 5 to 10 of crushed seeds in a glass of water for 30 minutes, filter the mixture and drink it morning and evening.
Linseed oil: 1/2 to 1 tablespoon a day For children 6 to 12 years, divide the doses by two.
External uses: infuse, for ten minutes, 30 to 50 g of seeds crushed in boiling water, then apply as a poultice.
The seeds should be ground before they are consumed, flax is contraindicated for children under six and pregnant women, and it is not recommended for intestinal obstruction or bowel diverticul, immature flax can be toxic, linseed oil should be consumed quickly.