Home Medicinal Plants Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil: How Healthy Are They?

Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil: How Healthy Are They?

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 331 views

They facilitate bowel movements and soothe the gastric mucosa: linseed and linseed oil are used therapeutically for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, among other things. Find out more about their effects and the correct application here!

What is the effect of linseed and linseed oil?

The ripe seeds of flax (flax, Linum usitatissimum) mainly contain fatty oil, proteins and roughage . They contain mucus-forming ingredients that have a particularly effective effect on digestion and help with stomach pain. We present the effects to you in more detail.


The mucilage it contains swells in the intestines by binding water , which increases the volume of the stool. This increases the pressure on the intestinal wall. The consequences: The intestinal mobility (peristalsis) and thus the emptying of the stool are stimulated. In addition, flaxseed or the fatty oil it contains make the stool more supple and slippery.

An important prerequisite is that the flaxseed must be crushed before ingestion in order to release the oil.

Thanks to its diverse effects, the plant is recognized for the treatment of various diseases and disorders in the gastrointestinal tract. Flaxseeds are good for:

  • constipation
  • colon damaged by laxatives
  • IBS (irritable colon) with symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Inflammation of bulges in the wall of the large intestine (diverticulitis)
  • skin inflammation

A study of people with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) who ate 30 grams of ground flaxseed daily for six months showed a significant drop in blood pressure. The researchers attribute this to the flaxseed ingredients alpha-linolenic acid and enterolactone (antioxidant). A low blood pressure is positive for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

Some studies also show that the seeds of the flax plant may lower blood lipid levels (such as cholesterol levels) when used internally. And there are other areas where flaxseed might prove healthy. It is being researched to what extent the ingredients could be beneficial in ovarian cancer, diabetes, asthma and inflammatory processes.

Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain lignans. These secondary plant substances belong to the phytohormones and have a similar effect to the sex hormone estrogen – but milder. This is especially important for women. During menopause, the body produces less of it. Therefore, flaxseed can help a little here.

However, women affected by hormone-dependent breast cancer should not consume flaxseed or flaxseed oil. The phytohormones have no effect on men.

Flaxseeds are also a popular home remedy for colon cleansing .

linseed oil

Flaxseed oil is derived from the flaxseed and has similar health benefits. The soothing effect of linseed oil is used for healing purposes – to calm irritated mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract, for example. This helps, among other things, with problems with stomach acid such as heartburn. Digestion also benefits from it. The pure linseed oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.

What diseases is linseed oil good for? There are numerous promises against which complaints flaxseed oil is also supposed to help. This includes:

  • Joint diseases such as arthrosis and rheumatism
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • Lowering HDL cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • osteoporosis

However, there are still no high-quality studies that confirm this. Some animal and human studies have shown that flaxseed oil has a laxative effect on constipation and can also help with diarrhea. But here, too, further research is needed.

Linseed oil is good for the skin. Among other things, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps with acne, inflammation such as neurodermatitis and dry skin. A small study showed that the smoothness of the participants’ skin also improved. However, it is unclear to what extent linseed oil helps against wrinkles in the long term.

Linseed oil is also a popular home remedy for hair loss. Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids in particular are said to be good for the scalp and hair. However, there are no meaningful scientific studies that prove this either.

Flaxseed oil is not a suitable home remedy for vaginal dryness.

Lose weight with flaxseed?

Because flaxseeds stimulate digestion and bowel movements, some people want to use flaxseeds to lose weight. However, you should not hope for too much in this regard. The seeds increase the feeling of satiety and can thus support weight loss. However, the fatty oil it contains provides a lot of calories.

Flaxseed nutritional values ​​for 100 grams:

You can lose weight with flaxseed if you also pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to exercise regularly.

How do you use flaxseed and flaxseed oil correctly?

There are a few things to consider when using flaxseed and flaxseed oil. We’ll tell you exactly what.

application of flaxseed

For the treatment of the gastrointestinal problems mentioned, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric mucosal inflammation (gastritis) or intestinal inflammation, internal use of flaxseed specially cultivated for therapies is recommended: Adolescents from the age of 16 and adults take one to two tablespoons two to three times a day ( 10 to 20 grams) of whole or lightly crushed flaxseeds along with about 150 milliliters of water each. A teaspoon of flaxseed is about four grams.

The following applies to whole flaxseeds: let them swell for a few minutes beforehand.

The daily dose is a maximum of 3 x 15 grams of flaxseed per day, i.e. 45 grams in total. Do not exceed this amount. Flaxseeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which may produce hydrocyanic acid. It is harmful to health and may cause stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.

It is important that you take flaxseed correctly. During therapy with flaxseed, you should definitely drink plenty of fluids throughout the day! In the case of constipation, the laxative effect of flaxseed occurs after about 12 to 24 hours and reaches its maximum after two to three days.

If you drink too little, the flaxseeds remain inside the intestines and, in extreme cases, can lead to intestinal obstruction. Too little liquid can also lead to increased flatulence and/or worsen an existing constipation. Milk is not suitable for hydration here – it cannot cause flaxseed to swell.

For other age groups, the following recommendations apply to the dosage of flaxseed:

  • 1 to 3 years: 2 to 4 grams 2 to 3 times a day
  • 4 to 9 years: 3 to 6 grams 2 to 3 times a day
  • 10 to 15 years: 6 to 10 grams 2 to 3 times a day

flaxseed slime

You can also pre-swell the seeds of the flax plant and only take the flaxseed mucus – but not for constipation, but for gastritis. To do this, soak the daily amount of flaxseed in 250 to 500 milliliters of water overnight.

In the morning, boil the whole thing briefly and then strain, for example through a cheesecloth, to separate the seed pods from the flaxseed mucilage. Put the slime in a thermos flask and drink or spoon a cup of it several times a day.

Envelope with flaxseed

For skin inflammation, a hot poultice (cataplasma) with the seeds of the flax plant is sometimes recommended: 150 grams of freshly ground flaxseed are mixed with a cup of hot water to form a paste and applied to the affected part of the body.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, do not improve or even get worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

linseed oil

There are finished medicinal products such as linseed oil capsules. Do not take these if you suspect them, but discuss this with a doctor.

Otherwise, you can consume flaxseed oil through your diet. It can be used, for example, for a salad dressing or for sauces. You can also add linseed oil to smoothies or shakes. It can also be used to make pesto. Linseed oil also goes well with potatoes with quark.

Some people also drink flaxseed oil. Above all, cold-pressed linseed oil tastes rather bitter and takes some getting used to. Only consume a maximum of two tablespoons of pure linseed oil a day. It doesn’t matter what time of day you consume the flaxseed oil. It is possible both in the morning and in the evening.

Do not heat linseed oil. Otherwise, it loses its health benefits.

What side effects can flax cause?

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil side effects are very rare if you drink enough and follow the recommended dosages. Bloating may occur. Intolerance reactions and allergies are very rare.

What you should consider when using linseed and linseed oil

During the treatment with the seeds or the mucus of Saat-Lein you must ensure that you drink enough liquid – at least 1.5 to two liters a day are necessary.

  • Avoid pre-soaking the flaxseed when treating constipation so that the water absorption and volume increase of the seeds only occurs in the intestine. In this way, a stretching stimulus is applied to the intestinal wall.
  • Discuss the use of flaxseed in babies and young children with a healthcare professional first.
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil can have mild hormonal (estrogen-like) effects, which is why use during pregnancy is often not recommended. There is little knowledge of the safety of use during breastfeeding. To be on the safe side, ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking flax products when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Denture wearers should wash down the seeds carefully with plenty of liquid after ingestion. This prevents them from getting caught in the prosthesis and starting to swell here.
  • Ground flaxseed quickly goes rancid because of the oil that escapes. They last about six months, and much longer if left uncrushed.

In the following cases, you must not use the medicinal plant flax (linseed, linseed slime):

  • Suspected or known intestinal obstruction (possible symptoms are severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting)
  • suspected or known narrowing of the esophagus
  • acute abdominal pain
  • Hormone-dependent tumors (because of the estrogen-like effect of medicinal plants)
  • Use of medications that inhibit the movement (peristalsis) of the bowel
  • Hypersensitivity to flax / linseed

How to get linen products

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are available at grocery stores, drugstores, and health food stores. However, the quality of these seeds is less suitable for therapeutic treatment than that of the specially cultivated flaxseeds from the pharmacy or corresponding finished medicinal products such as flaxseed oil capsules.

For the correct application and dosage, read the respective leaflet or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

What is flax?

Wild flax (Linum angustifolium) is a herbaceous plant from the Linaceae family that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is the parent plant of seed flax (also called flax, Linum usitatissimum). This is a purely cultivated plant that is cultivated in various forms almost all over the world – up to an altitude of 1800 meters.

The annual herb is characterized by its dainty stems, which can reach a height of about one meter. Many delicate, narrow, lanceolate leaves grow on them alternately. In the axils of the upper leaves, sky-blue, five-pointed flowers bloom in summer, arranged in panicles. They develop into capsules with ten compartments, each containing a seed. The mature flaxseeds are flat, shiny brown and smooth.

The scientific name “Linum usitatissimum” already indicates the great benefit of the plant. Because “usitatissimum” is the superlative of the Latin word “usitatus”, which means “usual”. The “extremely common” cultivated plant was used in a variety of ways in earlier times, for example in the textile industry and for canvas (linen fiber), for paints and varnishes (linseed oil) and, of course, medicinally.

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