|Flax Oil Seed Uses
by: Raj Khatri
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 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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This article was posted on March 19, 2005
|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The
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|©2006 Every Nutrient