Flax was first used to obtain fiber for sewing, and today it is the source of natural linen fabric. It has been famous for centuries because of its medical benefits, too. Its slender stems grow up to one meter, and bloom from February until September. The seeds and oil derived from them are used for treatment.
How does it work?
Flaxseeds are the source of essential fatty acids – fat and oils that our body can not create alone and are extremely important for health. One of the fatty acids from flaxseed oil is alpha-linolenic acid, which belongs to omega-3 fatty acids. This acid is also in other oils, such as rapeseed oil, soybean oil, black raisins and walnut oil. However, this fatty acid does not have such a powerful effect as the omega-3 fatty acid from fish oil, which has been known for its effectiveness in the protection from heart diseases and in the treatment of various other illnesses.
Flaxseed oil also contains omega-6 fatty acids (in the form of linoleic acid), which is also found in many other vegetable oils. In addition, it also contains substances that are beneficial to many hormones, and are called lignans. Lignans have a beneficial effect in the treatment of cancer and diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Flaxseed oil contains 800 times more lignans than other types of food.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: essential fatty acids function throughout the body and provide protection to cell membranes. These membranes are the outer boundary of the cell that allows the intake of nutrients and, at the same time, prevent the entry of those harmful, which explains how flaxseed oil can have such far-reaching effects.
This oil lowers cholesterol levels and thus protects against heart diseases. It may be useful in conditions such as angina pectoris and high blood pressure. A recent study at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, which lasted for five years, showed that flaxseed oil might help in preventing second heart attack. Flaxseed oil can prevent the formation of gallstones in the digestive system, or even dissolve them, and is good for hair and nails. In addition, it may improve the delivery of nerve signals, which may be useful in weakened sensations or limb discomfort, as well as in chronic diseases of the brain and nerves such as Alzheimer’s disease and nerve damage in diabetes. Further research on the efficacy of this dietary supplement in the treatment of chronic fatigue is required.
Ground flaxseed are a great source of natural fibers. They increase the volume of the stool, and the oil is lubricating it, which means that flaxseed can ease the problems associated with constipation.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: flaxseed contain plant-based estrogens, so-called phytoestrogens, which mimic the action of female sex hormones (estrogen) and their oil can help the menstrual cycle by establishing a balance of estrogen and progesterone. It helps the uterus function and can help with infertility. It may have a favorable effect on hot flashes during menopause. Also (probably due to anti-inflammatory activity), these nutritional supplements can alleviate menstrual cramps or pain in fibrocystic breasts.
Flaxseed oil can also be beneficial to men. There is a possibility of beneficial effects on male infertility and prostate problems. Some studies have proven antibacterial, antifungal (antimicrobial action) and antiviral effect, which can at least partially explain the efficacy of flaxseeds in problems such as labial herpes and herpes zoster.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: the therapeutic amount is easily taken in the liquid form. Take one spoon of flaxseed oild, a few times a day. The dose corresponding to one spoon of flaxseed oil is contained in 14 capsules of 1000 mg. If you need fibers, mix one or two spoons of grinded flaxseed with a glass of water and drink, up to three times a day. The effect is usually achieved after a few days.
USE GUIDELINES: flaxseed oil should be taken with food. You can mix it with juice, yogurt, cheese or other food or drink.
Possible side effects
It seems that flaxseed oil is very safe. The use of grounded seeds sometimes causes flatulence, but it stops after a few days.
IMPORTANT: some people are allergic to flaxseed. Look for medical help immediately if you experience breathing problems when using these supplements. Always take grounded flaxseed with plenty of water.