✵The article gives records of the herb Flax, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Linum usitatissimum L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Flax, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
English Name: Flax.
Latin Name: Linum usitatissimum L.
Common Names: Flaxseed, linseed, linum, Winterlien, Lint Bells, etc.
Property and flavor: neutral in nature, tastes sweet.
Brief introduction: Linum usitatissimum is a slender-stemmed herb that grows abundantly in many parts of the world, including North America, delicate blue flowers grow off the branches of the tops, the medicinal parts are the stem as a sterile linen thread, the oil extracted from the seeds, the dry mature seeds, the linseed cakes, and the fresh flowering plant.
Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Flax as the seeds of the species (1).Linum usitatissimum L. It is a plant species of the Linum genus, the Linaceae family (flax family). The seeds are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:
(1).Linum usitatissimum L.
Botanical description: Linum usitatissimum is an annual upright herb, it grows up to 30~100 cm tall or higher. The whole plant is glabrous. The stem is cylindrical, with longitudinal stripes on the surface, the diameter of the base is about 4 mm, slightly lignified, and the upper part is much-branched. Leaves are alternate, sessile, or nearly sessile; the Leaf blade is lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 1~3 cm long, 2~5 mm wide, the apex is tapering, the base is tapered, entire-edge, veins are usually trifoliate.
Flowers are numerous, and grow on the top of branches or in the axils of upper leaves, with one flower in each axil, about 15 mm in diameter, flower stalks are slender, about 2 cm long; 5 calyx, green, separated, ovate, about half the length of petals; 5 petals, blue or white, separated, broadly obovate, about 10 mm long and 7 mm wide, with slightly wavy edges; 5 stamens, anthers are linear; Ovary is superior, 5-locule, 5 styles, linear, separated, about 4 mm long. Capsularfruit is subglobose or slightly compressed, 5~7 mm in diameter. Seeds are oval, 4~6 mm long, 2 mm wide, slightly pointed, and slightly curved at one end, and the surface is yellowish-brown and shiny. Its flowering period is from June to July and fruiting from July to September.
Ecological environment: Linum usitatissimum is native to the Mediterranean region, and is cultivated in the temperate zone of Europe and Asia.
Growth characteristics: Linum usitatissimum prefers a cool and humid climate, is cold-resistant, and afraid of high temperatures. The lowest temperature of seed germination is 1~3 °C (Celsius, or 33.8~37.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and the optimum temperature is 20 ~ 25 °C (Celsius, or 68~77 degrees Fahrenheit). The optimum temperature for growth is 11~18 °C (Celsius, or 51.8~64.4 degrees Fahrenheit). The soil water content reaches 70%~80% of the maximum field water capacity. The reproductive period is 70~80 days. Corn, wheat, and soybean are the best previous crops. It is advisable to cultivate in slightly acidic or neutral soil with a deep, loose, and fertile soil layer and good drainage, alkaline soil with salt content below 0.2% can also be cultivated.
Characters of herbs: Flaxseed is the dried, mature seed of the collective variations of Linum usitatissimum as well as its preparations. The various cultivars of Linum usitatissimum are equally acceptable for the indications. The mature seeds are recovered from the capsules by threshing. The oil contained within the seed is perishable. Processing of the seeds should take place by cold pressing at a temperature below 40 °C (Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Pharmacological actions: ①.source of mucilage; ②.lower LDL and cholesterol; etc.
Studies attribute the demulcent and emollient properties of flaxseed to its mucilage, mucilage swells when it comes into contact with liquid, so it is soothing and protective to irritated skin and mucous membranes. Integrating flaxseed into diets may reduce serum total and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol significantly and related atherogenic risk factors. Other studies found flax may alter female hormonal function, prevent colon cancer, and reduce the growth of mammary tumors.
Medicinal efficacy: Flax was cultivated for fabric fiber since prehistoric times, seeds have been used traditionally to prepare soothing solutions for skin irritations, cough, sore throat, and other inflammatory conditions of the mucous membranes, including digestive and urinary tract irritations such as constipation. Flaxseed oil is used as an emollient for skin burns and scalds. Today it is still used for these purposes, its content of essential fatty acids (EFAs) helps lower cholesterol, relieves the pain and inflammation of arthritis, exerting several other healing actions. Flax is used in the paint, varnish, and fiber industries extensively. In Europe, flax is approved for constipation and inflammation of the skin. In folk medicine, it is used for constipation, irritable colon, diverticulitis, colons damaged by laxative abuse, and as mucilage for gastritis and enteritis. A decoction is used for bladder catarrh and inflammation, and gastritis. In TCM works, the herb flax seed is recorded functions to nourish the blood and dispel wind, moistening dryness and relaxing the bowels, it is indicated for lepra, xerosis cutis or dry skin, pruritus or itching, alopecia or hair loss, sore and ulcer, eczema, constipation due to intestinal dryness, etc.
Administration of Flax (linseed):
Administration Guide of Flax (linseed)
Herbal classic books and TCM Books:
Dosage: As a laxative, 1 tablespoon of whole or crushed seeds is taken with 150 ml of water two or three times per day. The 1,300 mg soft-gel capsule, containing 740 mg of linoleic acid, is taken once a day. Flaxseed oil must be processed and stored properly. Flaxseed meal is less vulnerable to rancidity when exposed to light and heat than processed oil. The seeds should be protected from light and stored in a sealed container. The oil should also be protected from light and should be refrigerated. In TCM works, flax seed is recommended internally as water decoction, 5~10 grams, or prepare to pill, powder. Externally proper amount, extract oil, and smear applies.
Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Flaxseed preparations taken in recommended amounts are unlikely to cause adverse reactions, excessive doses could cause toxic reactions because of the presence of trace amounts of poisons. Never take a flax preparation unless it is designed for human consumption. Flax seed should not be taken if you have a bowel obstruction of any type, taking flaxseed preparations along with other medications may negatively affect the way the medicines are absorbed. In TCM works, the herb is cautioned should not be used in conditions of stomach weakness, slipping diarrhea or chronic diarrhea, or pregnancy.