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Home :: Flax :: Herbs

Flax Herb - Uses And Side Effects

Herbalists today use soluble fiber made from mature flax seeds (Linum usitatissimum) for cures and poultices The plant has a more varied history, though. Archeologists have traced flax seeds and fibers back 10,000 years, when prehistoric people wove it into clothing. American settlers used flax to make fabrics called linsey-woolsey and linen. Linseed oil, expressed from flaxseeds, is used in paints and varnishes. Researchers currently are looking for more uses for flax. Its cultivation reaches back to the remotest periods of history, Flax seeds as well as the woven cloth having been found in Egyptian tombs. It has been cultivated in all temperate and tropical regions for so many centuries that its geographical origin cannot be identified, for it readily escapes from cultivation and is found in a semi-wild condition in all the countries where it is grown.

Flaxseed cakes are used as cattle feed. Flax also has been a source of waxes and waterproofing products. Folklore about the slimy residue of flaxseeds includes tales of people falling into large vats of seeds and drowning. Flax has a broad array of health benefits but may be more familiar to Americans for its industrial uses as it is the core component in linen for clothing, linseed oil for paints and varnish and a host of other products.

Common doses of flax

Flax is available as:

  • powder
  • capsules
  • softgel capsules (1,000 milligrams)
  • oil

Some experts recommend the following doses:

  • For all internal uses, 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil or mature seeds taken orally in two or three equal daily doses.
  • For topical use, 30 to 50 grams of flax meal applied as a hot, moist poultice or compress, as needed.

Uses of flax

Flax seed improves every molecule in the body: it improves the quality of hair, nails, and skin, as well as helping you to lose weight or bulk up it lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and prevents arthritis and cancers. Specifically, flax may help to :-

  • Atherosclerosis (plaque buidup in the arteries)
  • Colon problems caused by laxative abuse
  • Constipation
  • Diverticulitis (inflammatory disease of the intestine)
  • High cholesterol
  • Maintains nerves
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Skin inflammation

Side effects of flax

Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of flax:

All plant parts contain harmful substances. Stay alert for overdose symptoms-shortness of breath, rapid breathing, , and poor muscle coordination progressing to paralysis and seizures.

Interactions

Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don't use flax when taking:

  • laxatives
  • oral drugs
  • stool softeners.

Important points to remember

  • Don't use flax if you're pregnant or breast-feeding because it may harm the fetus or cause miscarriage.
  • Don't use flax if you have prostate cancer or constipation.
  • Never eat immature flaxseeds.
  • Keep flax away from children and pets.
  • If you use flax, drink plenty of fluids to minimize intestinal gas.
  • Tell your health care practitioner if other drugs you're taking seem less effective.
  • Refrigerate flaxseed oil to prevent its breakdown.
  • Remember that proven cholesterol-lowering treatments are available. Flax, on the other hand, is unproven.

What the research shows

Use of flax as a source of omega-3 fatty acids and to treat inflammatory diseases deserves more investigation. But most of the herb's uses aren't proven. Also, researchers haven't analyzed the herb's potentially harmful chemicals for long-term effects.

Other names for flax : -

Other names for flax include flaxseed, linseed, lint bells, and linum.

Products containing flax are sold under such names as Barlean's Flax Oil, Barlean's Vita-Flax, and Flaxseed.


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