liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Herbs: Linum usitatissimum

COMMON NAMES: flaxseed, linseed, alashi, brazen, flachssamen, flax, leinsamen, hu-ma-esze, linen flax, lini semen, lino, lino usuale, lint bells, linum, keten, etc.

FAMILY: Linaceae
--seeds, yellow (preferred in Europe) or brown
--oil (does not contain fiber or as much lignan)

--may have been first domesticated in fertile crescent
--used in food in Europe and Asia since 5000–8000 bce
--extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt
--linseed oil = one of the oldest commercial oils/solvents, used for centuries as drying agent in painting and varnishing
--used for the production for linen for the last 5,000 years
--first brought to North America for stem fiber to use in making linen and paper
--linseed oil meal (LSOM) by-product of oil extraction is used as animal feed
--fiber is used in cigarette paper, erosion control mats, reinforcement in plastics and particle composite products

--native in eastern Med to India
--grows wild in waste ground, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads
--New Zealand flax is not related, but named for flax dt both produce fiber
--erect annual up to 1.2 m tall
--leaves alternate, linear, entire, glabrous, glaucous, sessile
--leaves slender lanceolate to 3cm long, 3mm broad
--flowers 5-petaled, pale blue, sometimes bright red
--fruit is round dry capsule containing several seeds shaped like apple pip
--production on praries: Canada(~34%), China(~25.5%), India(~9%), USA(~8%), Ethiopia(~3.5%), Europe
--in the US: North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota have dominate production since the early 1900's

--cracked or coarsely ground seeds unless otherwise prescribed, 1-2 TBS/day on salads, in smoothies, however you can get it down
--whole or bruised seeds, 1 TSP with 150 ml liquid 2-3x/day
--as gruel, soak 2-3 TBS of milled seed in 200-300 ml water, strain after 30 mins

--seeds or meal are delicious on salads or casseroles
--can add to diet in disguise by mixing with yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
--cold-pressed flaxseed oil not suitable for frying at high temperatures
--used for low-temperature stir-frying in China

--fixed oil 30-45%
--rich source of the unsaturated EFA alpha-linolenic acid, which is a biologic precursor to omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid
--in addition to linolenic, contains many short chain omega 3 fatty acids in triglyceride form: linolenic, linoleic, oleic, stearic, palmitic, myristic acids
--proteins 20-25%
--mucilage 3-10% (increasing amounts of each: galactose, arabinose, rhamnose, xylose, galacturonic/mannuronic)
--sterols & triterpenes (cholesterol, campesterol, staigmasterol, sitosterol
--cyanogenic glycosides
--secoisolariciresinol glycoside (precursor of lignans in mammals)

increases sex hormone binding globulin, decreasing total active hormone burden
lowers E2 in estrogen dominant females
bulks stool, increasing fecal clearance
demulcent, soothing to gut mucosa
beneficial fats??

--lignan constituents of flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) possesses in vitro anti-oxidant and possible estrogen receptor agonist/antagonist properties, prompting theories of efficacy for the treatment of breast cancer. However, there is not sufficient human evidence to make a recommendation. (Mayo clinic)
--As a source of fiber mucilage, oral flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) may possess laxative properties, although only one human trial has been conducted for this indication.
--effects of flaxseed on blood glucose levels are not clear, although hyperglycemic effects have been reported in one case series.

Flaxseed oil contains only the alpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed, and not the fiber or lignan components. Therefore, flaxseed oil may share the purported lipid-lowering properties of flaxseed, but not the proposed laxative or anti-cancer abilities.

--aids regular elimination

Flax is harvested this way (pulled up by the roots) to maximize fiber length.

--chronic constipation
--colon damaged by laxative abuse, irritable colon, diverticulitis
--gastritis, entertitis
--estrogen sensitive cancers: breast, prostate, etc
--estrogen dominant conditions: pms, fibrocystic breasts, PCOS, etc
--diabetes (stabilizes blood sugar)
--dry eyes in Sjogren's
--cardiovascular dz
--high BP
--high cholesterol
--kidney dz
--menopausal symptoms
--menstrual breast pain
--Mayo clinic rates this seed a C for scientific verification of all uses: does not recommend, but does mention a few favorable studies for most of the indications listed above

--ileus of any origin
--excessive consumption-->diarrhea or if consumed w/o liquids, intestinal blockage
--do not take with other meds, it may block or absorb them
--found no info either way on usage during breastfeeding/pregnancy

--course notes
--wikipedia but of course
Tags: digestion, farming, food, herbs, hormones, menopause, monograph, nd2, perimenopause

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