FLAXSEED (Linum usitatissimum L)

It is an herbaceous annual plant. There are two principal types of flax: the oleaginous flax, cultivated for its seminal oil, and textile flax, cultivated for its stem fibers. Plant’s height goes from 25 cm in the oleaginous one to 150 cm in some textile flax varieties. Root is short, fusiform, fine and fibrous. The stem has no branches and is round, erect with a slight curvature. Leaves are lanceolate, sessile, alternate, entire, narrow, linear with three nerves prominent longitudinal nerves in grayish-green. The blue flowers have 5 delicate, round and shining petals located on the branch terminals with long petioles. The fruit is a rounded acuminate capsule holding up to ten small seeds. Seeds are reddish-brown long, oval-shaped, flattened with a smooth and shining tegument. It belongs to Linaceae family.

Its indigenous of the Middle East and it is cultivated, nowadays, in most countries with moderate weather, in both Europe and America. Fiber flax prefers humid and gentle weather, oleaginous flax, on the other hand, prefers mild and warm weather. As the seed is very small, the ground should not be hard that crusts when it rains and doesn’t allow the seed to germinate. Loose and permeable soil are not adequate either, as flax roots are short and cannot reach deep layers. Soils rich in lime are very bad for flax as this plant requires much zinc, which is blocked in excessively limy soils. Seeds are gathered at the end of summer.

Part used
Seeds are used and are also known as linseed.

Internal use
> Chronic constipation.
> Gastrointestinal tract inflammation: colon injured by the abuse of laxatives, irritable colon, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, gastritis and enteritis.
> In order to have soft bowel evacuations in cases of anal fissures, hemorrhoids and rectoanal surgeries.
> Respiratory disorders: common cold, pharyngitis, dry cough.
> Adjuvant in treating hyperglycemia and hyperlipemia.
> Adjuvant in treating over weight problems. In this case, whole seeds, no grinded, are recommended, as they are eliminated untouched in the intestine without releasing the fats.

External use
> Skin inflammations: dermatitis, eczemas, contusions, furuncles, abscesses.
> Gums, mouth and throat inflammation (gargles).
> Flax oil, externally used, favors dermatosis, psoriasis and especially the discomfort caused by herpes zoster.

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