Cotton may be king, but the humble fax
plant has helped keep people fed, clothed, and healthy for centuries. In
fact, flax was probably one of the first crops cultivated by man, perhaps as
long as as 8000 BC. Even the Bible makes note of the many uses of this
versatile plant. The flax plant was used for the thatching of roofs, and
fibers from the stem of the plant provided flax for weaving cloth, either
fine linen for clothing or coarse cloth for tents. the seeds of the plant
were eaten or pressed to make linseed oil for cooking.
According to other historical records, linseed oil has been used
internally, as a laxative, and externally, to soften and soothe skin.
Linseed oil is found today as an ingredient in paints, varnishes, and
The medicinal qualities of flax throughout the years have ranged from
treating colds to helping remove foreign objects from the eye.
Modern medical research has
confirmed some of the traditional benefits of flax and has found many
others. For example :
• Lowers cholesterol
• Provides heart-healthy
omega-3 fatty acids
• Protects against certain
• Increase the amount of
fiber in your diet
• Stimulates your immune
4 ways flaxseed fights aging
Heads off heart disease. Are you careful to keep the oil
changed in your car because you know that smoothly flowing oil will make
your car last much longer ? You should try to keep your blood flowing
smoothly, too, so your body can function like a well-oiled machine. The
smoother and easier your blood flows, the less work your heart has to do.
Your blood tends to get thicker and stickier with age, just like the oil in
your car. While you can't run to the nearest quick-change shop and get a
fresh supply of blood, adding a little flaxseed to your diet may be the next
Flaxseed or linseed is the best vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-s help keep your blood from becoming sticky, lowering your risk of
heart attack and stroke.
Controls cholesterol. Your daily bread can help keep
damaging cholesterol under control. One study found that when people with
high cholesterol ate six slices of flaxseed bread a day, their cholesterol
levels dropped significantly, compared with those who ate six slices of
wheat bread. Whenever you break bread, maybe you should make sure it has
some cholesterol-clobbering, heart-protecting flaxseed inside.
Puts cancer to rest. Can a simple plant fight the most deadly of
diseases -- cancer ? Studies show that flax is one plant that may help put
the squeeze on this killer disease. Lignans, a type of phytochemical or
natural disease fighter that comes from plants, have been shown to prevent
or slow the growth of several types of cancer. When researchers studied
foods in an attempt to identify those that contained substances that make up
lignan, they found that flaxseed contained 75 to 800 times more of
those substances than other foods.
One study found that rats fed flaxseed and then exposed to cancer-causing
substances cut their risks of developing colon cancer by more than half.
Flaxseed may be especially effective at guarding against hormone-relate
cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Gives kidneys a kick. Flaxseed may give failing kidneys a boost.
Researchers conducted a study to see if people with systemic lupus
erythematosus, a disease of the immune system, might be able to benefit from
adding flaxseed to their diet. Lupus causes connective tissue to become
inflamed, eventually causing damage to internal organs, particularly the
kidneys. Sometimes the kidneys begin to fail, resulting in the need for
dialysis or a kidney transplant. The study participants stirred between 15
and 45 grams of flaxseed into their breakfast cereals, orange juice, and
other beverages. Researchers found that the flaxseed improved kidney
function and reduced the scarring of the kidney tissue that accompanies the