Common Name

Standardized: flax

Botanical Name

Linum usitatissimum L.
Plant Family: Linaceae


Flax seeds have been used and cultivated since ancient times, and are native to regions of the Middle East and India. The fibers from the flax plant have a rich history of their own, with discovery of their use dating back over 30,000 years. The plant grows to nearly four feet tall with round dry fruits that contain the seeds.

In recent years, flax seed has become popular in the mainstream market. It can be found in a number of forms, including oils, oil capsules, whole seeds, ground seeds, and as an ingredient in breads, cereals, muffins, and breakfast bars. Since 80% of Americans may be deficient in the omega-3 essential fatty acids that flax provides, flax is one of the most important and most widely accepted of the herbal health foods.

Parts Used

Seed, whole or ground into a meal.

Typical Preparations

Oil, whole seeds, ground seeds, capsules, and added liberally to breads, cereals, muffins, and breakfast bars.


The seeds contain fats and nutrients, and have been used as a food source for thousands of years. Flax seeds have proven to be incredibly versatile throughout history, having seen a wide variety of uses. They are often pressed into flax seed oil and are also made into breads, cereals, and muffins.

The Health Benefits of Flaxseed

With such a rich history of use in various cultures throughout the world, flaxseed has captured the curiosity of modern science. Through research, scientists have discovered that the health claims made hundreds of years ago may actually be true, such as:

Boosting Your Heart Health and Controlling Inflammation

Flaxseed is one of the best sources of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that may benefit your health in several ways.6 Several animal studies have shown that ALA may help prevent cholesterol deposits from forming in the blood vessels, reduce inflammation in the arteries and reduce tumor growth.7, 8

Potentially Reducing Your Risk of Cancer

Flaxseed contains lignans, a plant compound that has antioxidant and estrogen properties, which may help reduce your risk of cancer.10 What makes flaxseed great in this aspect is that it contains up to 75 to 800 times more lignans compared to other fruits and vegetables.11

In one study involving 6,000 female participants, researchers suggested that those who consumed flaxseed were 18 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.12, 13 In another study, 15 men who ate 30 grams of flaxseed per day had reduced levels of prostate cancer biomarkers, suggesting a lower risk of prostate cancer.14

Enhancing Overall Digestive Health

One tablespoon of flaxseed contains 3 grams of dietary fiber.15 Furthermore, flaxseed contains both soluble (20 to 40 percent) and insoluble (60 to 80 percent) fiber.

Soluble fiber is crucial as it can help maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as feed the good bacteria in your gut.16, 17 On the other hand, insoluble fiber can help maintain digestive health by binding water to your stools, allowing them to pass through your intestines quicker. This effect can help lower your risk of constipation, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease.18

Optimizing Your Overall Health

Flaxseed contains a diverse mixture of vitamins such as E, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. As for minerals, flaxseed has calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.19 All of these are essential to maintaining various functions in your body and supporting your overall wellbeing.


Specific: Flax seed should be taken with at least 200 ml (6 oz) of water. Orally administered drugs should be taken one hour before use or several hours after, as flax seed may slow the absorption.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

This herb is sold by the ounce

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