Flax seeds

Flax seeds

Flax seeds

Specification & Spread

Flax seeds — semina lini
Common flax — linum usitatissimum l.
Flax family — linaceae
Other names: cultured flax, long-stalked flax, motchenetz, silt, linseed, fiber flax, low flax. It is an annual herbaceous plant.

It is a taproot.
The stem is thin, unbranched or branched. The leaves are alternate, sessile, lanceolate.
The flowers are pentamerous with a sky-blue corolla, gathered in a sparse cymoid inflorescence.
The fruit is a capsule with 10 seeds.

It blooms in June – August, the fruits ripen from July to August. Various flax species are widely cultivated: flax is going to the fiber, with a unbranched stem 60–150 cm high; curly flax – an oilseed with a branchy stem up to 50 cm; nitwit flax occupies an intermediate position.

The linen flax is grown in non-chernozem regions of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic States, curly flax and nitwit flax in Kazakhstan, Western Siberia, the Volga region, steppe regions of Ukraine, in the North Caucasus and Central Asia.


The chemical composition of flax seeds

The seeds contain:

  • fatty drying oil (30-48%), which consists of triglycerides of linolenic, linoleic, oleic, palmitic and stearic acids;
  • mucus – 5-12%,
  • organic acids,
  • enzymes,
  • vitamin A,
  • sterols.

For medical purposes, oil is obtained by cold pressing, for technical purposes by hot pressing or extraction with organic solvents.
The oil is a light yellow oily liquid with a characteristic odor and taste.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The cleaning of flax seeds is currently mechanized.

Drying. It is dried in grain dryers or on the currents under the protection of the roof. The seeds from moisture become close.

Storage. The seeds are brought in packs to pharmacies. It is stored in a dry place and protecting from pests.

The seeds are flattened, egg-shaped, acuminate at one end and rounded at the other, unequal, up to 6 mm long, up to 3 mm thick. The surface of the seeds is smooth, shiny, with a light yellow, clearly visible seed scar (magnifier 10 ×). The seed colour is from light yellow to dark brown. The smell is absent.
The taste is mucous and oily.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Coating agent.

The pharmacological properties of flax

The flax seeds, filled with water, after 2-3 hours, swell and secrete mucus. Taken inside, it has an enveloping effect, covers the mucous film of food masses and the mucous membrane of the digestive tract.
The flax seeds swell in the intestines, increase in volume, which increases peristalsis.
Flaxseed oil has laxative and choleretic properties. Like other vegetable fats, it contains a minimal amount of cholesterol and a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids. «Linetol», derived from flaxseed oil, reduces cholesterol in the blood and inhibits the development of vascular wall lipoidosis, acts synergistically with thyroid, favorably affects the blood coagulation and anticoagulation in patients with coronary atherosclerosis, activates fibrinolysis and reduces the coagulating properties of blood.

Application of flax

In medical practice there are used:

  • flax seeds,
  • linseed oil and
  • Linetol preparation obtained from linseed oil.

Seed mucus is used inside when:

  • gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer,
  • enteritis, colitis.

Mucous therapeutic enemas are prescribed for patients with dysentery, with proctitis and hemorrhoids.
The seeds are used as a sparing laxative, adding 1 teaspoon to food.
It is used for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.
Externally used for radiation injuries of the skin, chemical and thermal burns.

In inflammatory processes in the intestines, women suffering from diseases such as endometritis, polycystic or uterine fibroma. Do not use flax seed during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is undesirable to include flaxseed in men who are at risk for prostate cancer, since alpha-linolenic acid is harmful in this disease.