Linseed & flax on cigarette & chocolate cards

Cigarette card: harvesting flax

Flax and linseed traditionally important crops

Lin, linseed or flax from a French chocolate card
Lin, linseed or flax from a French chocolate card

Due to the importance of the linseed and flax as crops they were popular subjects for 20th century chocolate and cigarette cards throughout Europe. The pictures shown are from French chocolate bars and cigarettes.  It reflects importance of linseed and flax as crops in the first half of the century. The flowers of both crops are the same, both were grown from Linum usitatissium but harvested  at different stages of maturity. Continue reading

The Linseed Lancers: the Royal Army Medical Corps

Scan10010Linseed Lancers, linseed’s medical history

The Linseed Lancers is nickname of Royal Army Medical Corps. It refers to the use of linseed in poultices which was one of their remedies, always available even when they didn’t have anything else to offer.

Linseed poultices

Poultices were used to draw out infection, reduce swelling and pain. Continue reading

Linseed or Flax: what’s the difference?

Both linseed and flax are varieties of Linum usitatissimum

Linseed or flax? They are the same!

But there are some interesting differences!!

Linum usitatissimum

Linum usitatissimum, the plant that gives us both linseed and flax
colour drawing of Linum usitatissimum, the plant that gives us both linseed and flax

The cultivated plant is Linum usitatissimum. “Linseed” and “Flax” when produced as a food or supplement are both exactly the same thing (sometimes!). However the history of the plant, its uses and the marketing of the different names as healthfood in different countries have given rise to much confusion. Continue reading