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                                                            Flax seeds

When ever Flax Seed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health - Mahatma Gandhi

   According to Ayurveda, the seeds are oily, hot, hard to digest, tonic, aphrodisiac and useful in treatment of biliousness, backache, inflammations, ulcers, urinary discharges, eye troubles, leprosy etc. Leaves cure asthma.

      According to Unani system of medicine, seeds are mucilaginous, diuretic, aphrodisiac, galactagogue, emmenagogue, and useful in treatment of cough and kidney troubles. Bark and leaves are good for gonorrhoea. Oil from seeds removes biliousness and impure blood. It is useful in loss of appetite, internal wounds and ring worm.

Here is about  Flax and thyroid.

Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit in the use of Flax for Systemic lupus erythematosus and Constipation.


Recipes - sources

Another good source - recipe

Cancer and flax

Sweet flax

Flax laddoo

Flax seed has been used for constipation. It has also been used for controling cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body. Separate doses of this product from other medicines by at least 1- 2 hours, since flax seed may interfere with drug absorption. Flax seed has been used at normal doses in pregnancy. Higher than normal doses are not recommended for use during pregnancy.

Flaxseed is the most abundant food source of lignans, a family of phytochemicals that is drawing the interest of many health researchers.9 10 11 Lignans are not actually present in flaxseed; rather intestinal bacteria produce them from precursors in flaxseed. Lignans have antioxidant activity,14 and test tube and animal research suggests they may also have significant effects on the metabolism and function of the hormone estrogen.

Vegetarian sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are flax seed oil. Omega 3 rich diet is essential for life long good health including

  • Retina development of foetus
  • Sufficient ALA in mothers diet act as a precursor to DHA an essential
  • component for brain development
  • Mental development during infancy and childhood
  • In teenagers reduces aggression and depression
  • Middle years improves blood circulation, prevent heart diseases, cancer, lung diseases and osteoarthritis.
  • Senior years prevent joint and inflammatory diseases and mental deterioration.


       As with any source of fiber, flaxseed should not be taken if there is possibility that the intestines are obstructed. People with scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) should consult a doctor before using flaxseed. Although a gradual introduction of fiber in the diet may improve bowel symptoms in some cases, there have been several reports of people with scleroderma developing severe constipation and even bowel obstruction requiring hospitalization after fiber supplementation.

Flaxseed may slow down the absorption of oral medications or other nutrients if taken at the same time; therefore, flaxseed should be ingested several hours before or after other medications

Flax is considered anodyne, astringent, cyanogenctic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, suppurative and vulnerary, Linum finds its way into folk remedies for boils, bronchitis, burns, cancer, carbuncles, cold, conjunctivitis, corns, coughs, diarrhea, gonorrhea, gout, inflammation, intoxication, labor, rheumatism, scalds, sclerosis, sores, spasms, swellings, tumor. Since linen has a long anticancer folk history, it is interesting to see that Linum contains the anticancer agents 3'-demethylpodophyllotoxin, podophyllotoxin and b-sitosterol. Seeds are considered emollient, demulcent, pectoral, diuretic, and astringent. Crushed seeds make a good poultice, either alone or with mustard; lobelia seed added in the poultice for boils. Sometimes seed are roasted and used in a poultice. Sometimes employed as an addition to cough medicines. Linseed tea used for colds, coughs, irritation of the urinary tract (when honey and lemon juice may be added). Internally, oil given as a laxative. Linseed oil mixed with an equal quantity of lime water, known as carron oil, is applied to burns and scalds. Oil mixed with honey is used as a cosmetic for removing spots from the face. In veterinary medicine, oil is used as a purgative for sheep and horses, and a jelly formed by boiling seeds is often given to calves. Hartwell notes that flax is a folk remedy for such cancerous conditions as apostemes, cancer of the breast, and mouth; condylomata, indurations of the breast, cervix, limbs, liver, spleen, stomach, testicles, uterus, and viscera; sycosis; tumors of the abdomen, fauces, feet, glands, intestines, neck, parotids, testicles, uterus, and uvula; warts, and whitlows

Flaxseeds is known as San, Alsi in Hindi, Gujarati, and Punjabi, Ali vidai in Tamil. Flaxseed is also known as Linseed, Atasi, and Jawas in Marathi, Tishi in Bengali, Pesi in Oriya, Agasi in Kannada, Avise ginzalu in Telugu, and Cheruchana vithu in Malayalam. Tamil Name: Alshi, Alsi

Common and popular names of Alsi (Linum usitatissimum) around the world.
Languages/Regions/Countries Names
1) Arabic Bazar-ul-katan, Bazr-ut-kattan, Kattan
2) Bengal Masina, Mosina, Musni, Tisi
3) Brazil Linho
4) Chinese Hou Ma
5) Danish Hoer
6) Dutch Vlas
7) Egypt Kittan
8) Finland Lin, Pellavan
9) English Common Flax, Flax, Linseed, Lint, Lyne
10) Formosa Hu-ma
11) French Lin,Lin chaud, Lin commun, Lin cultive
12) German Flachs, Lein, Haarlisen
13) Greek Linon
14) Gujarati Alshi, Alsi
15) Hebrew Bad
16) Hindi Alsi, Tisi
17) Kurdish Gosh
18) Italian Linon
19) Morweiah Lin
20) Persian Basarak Katun
21) Polish Len
22) Portuguese Lin haca, Linho
23) Russian Len, Lyon
24) Sanskrit Atasi, Chanka, Deri, Huimwati, Nilapushpi, Madagandha, Parvathi, Masruna
25) Spanish Linon
26) Tamil Alshi, Alsi
27) Telugu Atasi, Ullusulu
28) Turki Ziggar
29) Urdu Alasi
30) Uriya Pesu 

Recipes - source

There are a few things one needs to bear in mind while using flax seeds . (Flax oil, as such, is not easily available in India).

  • Avoid eating flax seeds whole. They have the nasty habit of leaving your body in the same condition they came in ....
  • Its best to lightly roast the seeds, either in a kadhai till they start crackling (similar to til or sesame seeds). Raw Flax seeds, contain a substance called cyanate, which can be harmful to the body in larger quantities.
  • Ideally , one should grind the roasted flax seeds, This is easily done in a grinder. The recommended amount per day, is about 1-2 tablespoons.
  • People who suffer from constipation, may find these a useful change. Conversely, those whose intestines go into peristalsis at the slightest excitement, may find that they need to take a lesser daily quantity. (In case you are wonderingwhat I am saying, it means that overindulgence in these may cause increased trips to the toilet).
  • A decent combination, just learnt from the lady who helps me at home : FLAX SEED chutney !

    --Grind together 250 gms roasted flax seeds, a big palmful of dried red chillies, and 1-2 whole garlic (the whole thing). Add salt to taste. Enjoy on toast, curd rice, boiled veggies, dal-rice , what else....... (On second thoughts, this is like manna from heaven for cardiac types....flax, garlic, frying, )

    ---For those who are anti-garlic, a ground mixture of dried kadhipatta leaves, flax seeds and dried red chillies is also very tasty.

    --- Make a delcious mixture of juice of a few lemons, salt, red chilly powder, fenugreek powder(methi), haldi (turmeric), and add in ground flax seeds chutney, or just plain ground seeds. This makes a delicious sandwhich spread.


I found out what flax was in Marathi (my mother tongue) and then had an enlightening discussion with the lady who sometimes comes to help me with my daily housework. She saw the flax seeds that I had brought and told me that right from her childhood in the plains of Maharashtra, it was always routine for houses to have earthen pots in which this flax seeds chutney was stored, for eating along with jowar bhakri . It was like people in the west store their fruit preserves and stuff.

Turns out that flax seed has been used for a very long time here in India.



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