Latin name: Linum usitatissimum
Common names: Common flax, Linseeds, Lint bells, Winterlien
This herb is one of the oldest cultivated plants known to mankind and back in ancient times the flax plant was a vital for its seed and used to make clothing. Flaxseed dates back around 10,000 years ago and pretty much used all throughout the eras in history. This herb is known not only for material for clothing but also for its medicinal purposes.
Flaxseed has laxative, expectorant and soothing components. Since this herb contains soluble fiber, this is most frequently used to treat constipation.
What it is used for:
- Most commonly used as a laxative for chronic constipation
- Flaxseed oil could be used for arthritis, high cholesterol levels and was said to help prevent cancer
- Said to be effective to lessen hot flashes and pain in the breast
- Could improve the quality of the skin, hair, nails
- Possible in losing weight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Treats skin inflammation and maintains the nerves
- Helpful in treating chronic cough, bronchitis, pleurisy and emphysema
- Said to help cure boils and wounds when used externally
- Could also be used in various types of foods
How it is used:
The ripe dried seeds are used in this plant. Flaxseed could be used as a whole or crushed and mixed with juice or water and could be taken orally. Powder, capsule, liquid and flaxseed oil is also available.
Side effects and cautions:
- Flaxseed should always be taken with plenty of liquids because if not, constipation may worsen
- Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil can cause diarrhea
- Consult doctor if currently taking conventional oral medications and other dietary supplements because taking flaxseed in combination with the mentioned could decrease the absorption of the medications
- Don’t combine this herb with the following medications: laxatives, oral rugs and stool softeners
- Do not take flaxseed when pregnant or breast feeding
- Do not eat immature flaxseeds
- Keep this herb away from children and animals
- When taking this herb, make sure to increase intake of fluids
- Put flaxseed oil in refrigerator to prevent the oil from breaking down
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil have been reported to be very well tolerated and only have a few side effects. Like any other fiber source, this herb should be taken with plenty of water so constipation doesn’t worsen. You may want to use flaxseed if you have problems with constipation because it does help in digestion. Consultation from your healthcare professional is always best before initial intake of any herb.