Information on Flax

Latin NameLinum usitatissimum
Part UsedSeeds
Herb FormsOil, capsule, bulk herb.
AffectsDigestive system
CautionsMake sure to drink plenty of water when taking flaxseed.
Botanical InfoA slender branching annual plant with cup-shaped blue or white flowers. The small round, fruiting capsules contain the sharp-pointed glossy-brown seeds that are used for food and medicine.
DescriptionAs a poultice, flaxseed may relieve stubborn inflammation, draw out toxins, soothe sunburn, soften boils, and speed healing. Taken internally, flaxseed decoction is a bulk laxative and demulcent, suitable for gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, and coughs. The freshly-ground seed can be added to cereal, soups, or stews as a thickener. Regular use may help balance estrogen activity, reducing the risk of some cancers and heart disease and benefiting menopausal women.

Flax has a taste of SWEET and a temperature of NEUTRAL.


Powder1 tablespoon of the ground seed on food
Decoction1 cup 2-3 x daily

Ailments Treated by Flax

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Abscessanti-inflammatory, soothingapply moistened ground seeds as a poultice
Colitissoothing anti-inflammatoryoil
Diverticulitissoothing anti-inflammatorywhole seed sprinkled on food
Gastritis, acutedemulcent, anti-inflammatoryground seeds sprinkled on food, tea
Glandular hardeningdemulcent, anti-inflammatorypoultice externally
Lumbagoanti-inflammatorywhole seed as a poultice
Intestinal obstructionbowel cleanser, bulk bowel mover1 teaspoon of fresh-ground seeds with 2 glasses of water
Nephritis, chronicanti-inflammatorytea
Pruritissoothing anti-inflammatoryseeds mixed with water externally
Rheumatism, chronicanti-inflammatoroyoil or whole seed
Osteoporosisestrogen regulatorfresh ground seeds


McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Felter, H.W. and J.U. Lloyd. 1983. (1898). King's Dispensatory. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.