Flax Seed Oil Uses
by Raj Khatri
laxatives. Flax may be placed on the skin to treat redness and pain. Animal
experiments suggest an ability to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Some
researchers think that lignans in the seeds may have cancer-fighting effects.
It is believed that flaxseed oil offers a myriad of health benefits through
supplementation. Recent research indicates that flaxseed oil may have the ability to
reduced blood pressure, lower level of harmful cholesterol, offer both estrogen-like
and anti-estrogenic effects and is being studied for it ability to protect against cancer.
Flaxseed is used throughout the world for food, medicine, and fiber to make clothes,
and many other consumer goods products. Historically, flaxseed has been used to
treat a number of conditions including heart disease and has been used as an anti-
inflammatory agent to treat a number of other conditions as well.
Flaxseed has some estrogen-like effects and also possible anti-estrogenic effects,
both of which have been studied for possible protection against certain types of
breast and prostate cancers. However, when these effects were tested in several
laboratory studies and a few human studies, the results were inconclusive. In some of
the studies, flaxseed products appeared to prevent or delay cancer, while in other
research the incidence and/or progression of cancer seemed to be increased.
Additional studies are underway to assess further the effects of flaxseed and flaxseed
oil on breast and prostate cancers and on menopausal symptoms.
More recently, flaxseed has been studied for its potential to prevent kidney damage in
individuals who have an autoimmune condition known as systemic lupus
erythematous (SLE). Some evidence from animal studies and human case reports
supports the use for SLE, but more studies are needed before flaxseed can be
recommended for this use.
When using Flaxseed as a laxative be sure to take it with plenty of water to reduce
the risk of an intestinal blockage. When taking it for inflammatory bowel conditions,
allow it to swell in water before use.
Special Information If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
No harmful effects are known.
Side Effects: Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you
have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these
symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.
Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin
Do flaxseed muffins fight breast cancer and prostate cancer? Should we all be eating
flaxseeds and using flaxseed oil on our salads? Some people would say yes, and it's
true that recent research on the potential health benefits of flax has been promising.
But it pays to delve deeper.
The flax plant, an ancient crop, yields the fiber from which linen is woven, as well as
seeds and oil. Flaxseed oil also comes in an edible form, sold mostly at health-food
stores. Like olive, canola, and most other plant oils, it is highly unsaturated and heart-
healthy. And flaxseeds have yet another very interesting component—lingams—which
may have anti-cancer properties.
The heart-healthy side of flax
Besides lingams, flaxseeds and their oil are also the best food sources of an essential
fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. "Essential" means we must consume it, because our
bodies cannot manufacture it. Essential fatty acids are important for cell membranes,
blood pressure regulation, and other functions. Alpha-lanoline acid is an omega-3,
similar to some of the fatty acids in fish oil. Like aspirin, omega-3s may reduce blood
clotting, thus lessening the chance of a fatal heart attack. Flaxseeds and their oil may
also lower total blood cholesterol, as well as LDL ("bad") cholesterol. But that should
come as no big surprise, since any highly unsaturated oil will do that, particularly if
substituted for saturated fats. The fiber in flaxseeds may also help against cholesterol,
since it is soluble (similar to that in oats).
Several population studies have linked a high intake of alpha-linolenic acid with a
reduced risk of heart disease and/or death from heart disease. And a French study,
as we reported in 1999, found that a diet relatively rich in alpha-linolenic acid greatly
reduced the risk of second heart attacks. (The alpha-linolenic acid in that study did
not come from flaxseeds, but from canola-oil margarine.) Besides flaxseeds and ca
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Latin name: Linum usitatissimum
Other names for Flaxseed
include: Flax, Flachs, Grain de
Lin, and Lini semen.
Flaxseed oil is an herbal medicine
taken by mouth for constipation
(difficulty having a bowel
movement), irritable bowel,
inflammation (swelling and
soreness) of the colon, stomach
inflammation, and for bowels
damaged by the frequent use of
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