Flax Seed Oil
Veterinarian Reviewed on June 5, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Flax Seed Oil
Flax Seed Oil is derived from the seeds of the flax plant. The flax plant usually grows to be about 3 ft tall and produces blue flowers. Although unusual, red flowers have also been known to grow on the flax plant. The plant produces a fruit in the form of a capsule and it is within this capsule that seeds from the flax plant are found. After the capsule has dried, the seeds are collected and are on their way to being processed to create flax seed oil. The flax plant is grown in Canada and certain parts of the United States and requires a special type of soil in order to grow. Soil that is clay like or sandy dry is not suitable for this plant. The flax plant requires loose soil that is rich with organic matter in order to successfully grow. The flax plant has many uses today and is grown on 12 million acres worldwide.
The flax plant played an important role in the harvest of early Americans and was brought over with the first colonies. The fibers in the plant were used to create clothes and were a big part of the economy. Flax seed is known to have been used as a laxative throughout history. It has been around for a long time and has even been found engraved on the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. In ancient Greece, flax seed oil was used to relieve stomach pains and as a cough remedy. It is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia.
The Use of Flax Seed Oil Today
Today flax seed oil is mostly used as a dietary supplement. Flax seed oil is rich with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-9 essential fatty acids, lecithin, fiber, protein, Zinc and potassium. It is often used as a substitute for fish oil. Flax seed oil has a nutty taste and does not give off the strong odor fish oil tends to. The oil is beneficial to those suffering from high blood pressure as it helps to prevent high blood pressure and works to maintain a normal blood pressure. Studies have shown a drop in the rate of women suffering from hot flashes during menopause for those that consumed flax seed oil daily. Heart disease, cancer and depression are a few conditions in which flax seed oil can be of benefit. It can help to prevent clots in the arteries and aids in healing cuts or bruises. The omega-3 fatty acids help to relieve inflammation in the body and assist in easing the onset of pain brought on by migraine headaches and arthritis. Flax seed oil is commonly used in salads as a substitute for regular oil. It can also be added to yogurt and cereal.
Care must be taken not to confuse flax seed oil with linseed oil. Both derive from the same seeds, but what distinguishes them from one another is the process through which they go through. Linseed oil is chemically treated making it unsafe for consumption and is most often used as a wood finish. It is found in paints as it has the ability to act as a paint binder.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan