Myths :
Only mankind eats the starch from the seed and throws away the materialsnecessary for the metabolism of that starch.
The mucilage of the flaxseed, obtained by boiling in water or winewas once used to give body to red wines.
Cotton and flax were among the earliest substances used for clothfabric, having been found throughout remains from ancient Egypt andin both the old and new worlds. (linen and linsey-woolsey) Cultivatedsince at least 5,000 BC. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen clothwoven from the stalks of the flax plant.
As early as the Mesolithic period, it was known to man for its usefulness.In that era, flax provided both oil and fiber for garments, as theremains of prehistoric lake dwellers in Switzerland indicate.
In 8th century France, Charlemagne passed laws requiring his subjectsto consume the seeds to keep the people healthy.

The cultivation of flax in Egypt can be traced back to the 14th centuryBC; flaxseed intended as provisions for the last journey was foundin Egyptian burial chambers. Hippocrates (around 500 BC) and Paracelsus(Theophrastus von Hohenheim 1493-1541) refer to flaxseed mucilageas a soothing cough remedy.

The flax herb is cultivated in China for its seeds and oil.
Nutrient : Vitamins A, B, D, E, minerals and amino acids
Name : Uma
Other Names :Chih-ma(Chinese name), Commonflax, Flaxseed, Flaxweed, Linseed,
Lintbells, Toadflax, Uma, Winterlien, Alsi

Parts Used : Seeds
Habitat : Widely cultivated in the United States (mostly the northwestern states),Canada, and Europe but also found wild along roadsides, railroad lines,old fields, and in waste places. Native to Europe.
Description : Flax is a delicate annual plant 8-22 inches high; the slender, wiry,glabrous, single, leafy, stem has few branches and bears alternate,sessile, simple, entire, lanceolate to oblong, linear, leaves. Thenumerous leaves are stalkless, alternate, linear with three parallelnerves. Each branch has one or two, delicate, blue or violet-blue,five-petaled, funnel-shaped, slightly overlapping petals (1/2-3/4inches across), flowers from June to August. The fruit is an 8- to10-seeded capsule; the seeds are smooth, flattened, shiny, oval beaked,and light brown. Zones 5-10. Not heat-tolerant. This is the commonflaxseed.

Another flax plant, purging flax or fairy flax (Linum catharticum),is common in European meadows and pastures. It has opposite leavesand white flowers. In small quantities the plant has purgative properties;in large quantities it is emetic. An infusion of the dried herb isused.

Caution: large quantities of purging flax can cause fatalpoisoning.

Another variety: Blue flax (Linum Lewisii) is known to theShoshone Indians as Poohi natesua. This plants root was steepedfor eye medicine. The Paiute Indians called it Alai natesua andthe whole stem was steeped and used for disorders of the stomach andgas. Constituents : Glycosides, gum, linamarin, linoleic acid, linolenic acids, mucilage,oleic acid, protein, saturated acids, tannins, and wax, vitamins A,B, D, E, minerals and amino acids

Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, demulcent, emollient,laxative, mucilaginous, pectoral, purgative, tonic
Uses : Source of linseed oil and linen. Said to be soothing and softeningto irritated membranes.

The ground seed mixed with boiling water to make a thick mush isused for poultices. Any herb, such as smartweed, elm bark, hops, mullein,or any other herbs recommended, can be added. Use as a poultice onold sores, boils,inflammations,skin ulcers, wounds,and tumors. Poultices should be changed at least every 2 hours; havea new, hot poultice ready to apply before the old one is removed.

Used for female disorders, colonproblems. Promotes strong nails, bones, and teeth and healthyskin. A decoction of the seeds can be used for coughs, catarrh,chronic bronchitis, asthma,pleurisy, fever, dropsy, leprosy,pimples, agespots, burns, scalds, gout,inflammation, cystitis, lungand chest problems, and digestive, gastritis, dyspepsia,diarrhea, and urinarydisorders. To eliminate gallstones,take 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp. linseed oil and lie down on your left side fora half hour. The gallstones will pass into the intestines and be eliminatedfrom there. Eating the seeds intact is useful for chronicconstipation. The seeds swell up in the intestines, encouragingelimination by increasing the volume of fecal matter. For emollientuses and for rheumatic complaints,apply a linseed poultice. The oil was a folk remedy used for pleurisyand pneumonia.

The seed has been used for ages as a medicine. Take 1 tsp. of thewhole seed mixed with water, orange juice, vegetable juice, etc.,to provide a gentle lubricant laxative. Or use this mixture as anenema.

To remove foreign bodies from the eye: place a grain of whole flaxseedunder the lower lid, close the lids. The seed becomes surrounded bya thick, adherent mucilage, which entraps the foreign body, and sooncarries it out from the angle of the eye. If the particle is not removedeasily, consult a doctor.

Linseed oil is obtained from the crushed seeds. Flax is also grownfor the linen fibers which are obtained from the stems.

Oils from the seeds used in many medications, paints and linoleum.
A flaxseed placed in the eye will remove any foreign matter in theeye.

Dosage : Use only ripe seeds. Immature seed pods can cause poisoning.
Infusion: use 1 tsp. seed in 1 cup boiling water, let cooland take 1 or 2 mouthfuls 3 times a day.
Decoction: use 1 tbsp. seed with 1 qt. water. Boil until 1/2qt. liquid remains. Take in the course of a day.
Poultice: Cook seeds until they are soft (or use pulverizedseed). Put them immediately into a linen bag and apply as hot as canbe tolerated.
Seeds: For constipation, take 1-2 tbsp. whole seeds, washingthem down with lots of water. If necessary, follow with stewed prunes.

Safety : Flaxseeds may not be strong enough for severe constipation and mayfeed congestion in the colon. Seek professional medical advise ifseverely constipated or blood in the stool.
Linseed oil deteriorates rapidly, prepare fresh often. DO NOT take artists linseed oil internally. Immature seed pods can cause poisoning.
Caution: large quantities of purging flax can cause fatalpoisoning.
Contains a cyanide-like compound. Oil may be emetic and purgative.
Overdoses cause respiratory distress and paralysis.


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