phytochemicals Phytochemicals
 
 

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Flaxseed

Flaxseed

Linum usitatissimum

What is flaxseed?

Flaxseed is an erect annual plant growing to about 1 m tall with slender stems. The leaves are hairless, glaucous green and slender. The small attractive flowers are pure pale blue, 1525 mm diameter. The round fruit capsules contain several glossy brown seeds.

Parts used

Dried seeds, flaxseed oil

Phytochemicals

These are typical phytochemicals found in flaxseed: triterpenes, campesterol, stigmasterol, sitosterol, linystatin, neolinustatin, linamarin, lotaustralin, lignans, .

Benefits of flaxseed

Flaxseed was recently acknowledges as a functional food and gained much attention because of its unique nutrient content. Flaxseed is richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and lignans. Flaxseed may lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may posses anti-cancer activity against certain types of breast and prostate cancers. Flaxseeds may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels and may reduce menopausal symptoms. The mucilage causes an increase in stool volume and lubricates the stools.

Traditional use

Flaxseeds are traditionally used to treat chronic constipation and symptoms of irritable colon. Flaxseed flower is used externally to treat inflammations.

Other facts

Flaxseed is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Flaxseed was extensively cultivated in ancient Ethiopia and ancient Egypt. Some cultivars are cultivated for the stem fibres (flax) and other for the seeds. Flaxseed oil is one of the oldest commercial oils and has been used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing.

Other names

Flax, flax seed, linseed


 
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