Flax seed, also known as linseed or common flax, is a part of the genus Linum. Being that there are many members in the Linum genus, the differing plants can be either annual or perennial. Flaxseed is native to Middle Eastern regions and regions of India as well. Flax is used as the emblem for Northern Ireland and the national flower of Belarus is common flax. There is evidence of flax seed use dating back 30,000 years found in a cave in the country of Georgia, located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. In ancient Egypt, temples had paintings of flowering flax and mummies were entombed in linens made from flax. Did you know that on the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom badge flax represents Northern Ireland?
Cultivated flax plants can grow up to about 3 feet 11 inches in size. The stems and leaves are slender, with the leaves only growing about an inch long and about a tenth of an inch wide. The flowers have five petals and are a pale blue color. There is also a little fruit contained inside the flower. There are two main basic varieties of flaxseed, brown or a yellow gold color.
Flax seed has many different uses in many different industries including soaping and bath and body products. In ancient Egypt, flax was considered a symbol of purity, so priests only wore linens made of flax. Romans also used Egyptian linens made from flax for sails for their ships. In Sleeping Beauty, early tellings of the story say that the princess pricks her finger on a sliver of flax, not on a spindle. A strange little change to the story we’re all used to!
Flax Seed Growing Conditions
There are two basic varieties of flax seeds. The brown seed or the yellow gold seed. It can tolerate growth in almost any climate and many ranges of well drained soils. However, it does grow best in cool weather, so it is best to be grown in the spring. It can grow and survive anywhere in all cooler regions of the world. In temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit, flax usually can survive.
Flax seeds usually begin to grow and develop about 2 to 3 weeks after being planted, but the flower will not develop until about 2 months after planting. The flower itself is normally a bright pale blue color. Fungal diseases are a problem for flaxseeds, so they need to be watched for any discoloration. There is also a worm, the flax bollworm, that can cause problems to flax. Before the flax is ready to harvest, the worms can live inside the flower petals and will eat the flax seeds.
In the US, flax is generally grown in Minnesota and North Dakota, although it can be grown almost anywhere. As long as the climate is cool, It can be planted as late as May, or as early as January depending on the location. However, the area should be weeded regularly since flax seeds usually do not win in the competition with weeds until they are at least a few inches tall.
Flax Seed Uses in Industries
Since ancient times in Northern India, flax seeds have been eaten roasted and powdered in boiled rice mixed with salt and a little bit of water. Flax seeds do have a slightly spicy flavor and some commercial bakeries use flax seed as an ingredient in their breads. Young calves are fed a jelly made from boiled seeds. Flax seed contains a fatty acid called the omega-3 fatty acid. Almost 80% of Americans are deficient in this fatty acid, so it is a highly used and very important ingredient in many herbal health foods.
Bath and Body
Flax seed is used in many different industries and products including soaping, bath and body products, foods, and linen making. It is used as a natural decoration for soaps and for eye pillows recipes that are used to help relieve the stress and pain of migraines.
Common products that can include flax seed are creams, lotions, soaps, ointments, scrubs, conditioners and shampoos as well as the eye pillow recipes.
There are many skin care benefits to using flax seed. It can help reduce or lessen rashes, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and dermatitis. The omega-3 fatty acids that are contained in flax seed also can help increase the speed of healing for cuts and wounds and help to keep the skin moisturized, smooth and hydrated.
For hair care, using a flax gel will help make hair easier to manage and provide it with essential nutrients, check out our Curl Pop Hair Gel Recipe. Flax seed can also help with the prevention of hair loss.
Many medicinal benefits can come from the use of flax seed. It can be used to treat coughs, urinary infections, as a poultice it can be used to treat the shingles, psoriasis and boils, and is also an effective laxative. In the traditional Austrian medicine practice, flax seed is used to treat disorders of the respiratory tract, the flu, eye problems, many infections, colds, fevers, gout and rheumatism.
There are many skin care benefits to using flax seed as well. Antioxidants found in flax seed can help to protect the skin against skin cancer and heart disease. It also helps to repair skin damage caused from ultra-violet rays, and helps to keep the skin from drying out.
Not only does flax seed protect from skin cancer, it also helps to fight breast cancer. The lignans contained in flax seed help to starve breast tumors, thereby fighting the cancer.
Using a poultice on the chest that combines flax seed with mustard, can help to treat bronchitis and pleurisy. The poultice can also be used for burns.
For women, using ground flax seed many help with symptoms of menopause. It works almost as a hormone therapy for lessening hot flashes and night sweats. However, flax seed like many other herbs, is not recommended for women that are pregnant or nursing.
Flax seed oil is used as an ingredient for some wood finishing products.
On coins that were minted in 1986, 1991, and 2014, flax was used as the symbol to represent Northern Ireland.
In products like linoleum and printing inks, linseed oil is used as drying oil for varnish and paints.
Nature’s Garden sells flax seed for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great flax seed is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.