Linseed (flax) remedies around the world

Hippocrates recommended Linseed and flax

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates

Traditional remedies

Throughout history and all round the world linseed is used as traditional home remedies and in natural medicine as a treatment to provide relief for many health conditions.

Ancient remedies: digestion & health

The ancient Babylonians used linseed medicinally.

Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.E.) used linseed for the digestion and a cure for constipation.  Hippocrates was the first recorded person in history to recommend improving diet for better health.

Emperor Charlemagne passed laws that the people of France were to consume linseed for their health.

Europe: cough, poultice, colds, nausea, bedsores, tired eyes

Denmark: take linseed with honey for cough, as mucilage for stomach and abdominal pain.

Lithuania: take linseed as a decoction (boiled to extract the mucilage) for cough, dyspepsia and urinary retention.

Poland: ground linseed is used as a cataplasm (poultice).

Austria: linseed is ground and used as a poultice on the chest for colds.

Hungary: linseed is used for cough and nausea.

Latvia: a remedy for bedsores. Make a mattress filled with linseeds which is rather like a waterbed. It is meant to like liquid beneath you fluidly to help reduce pressure.

Europe: a remedy for tired or aching eyes. Make eye-pad pouches from silk and fill with linseed. Lie down and place over eyes and relax.

Pakistan: sores, ulcers, chest infections, sore eyes

In Unani-medicine  linseed is used on external inflammation, sores and ulcers to draw out the inflammation or pus. Linseed mucilage is applied to the affected areas to help hard swellings. This also helps relieve pain. Linseed helps suppuration and brings cysts or abscesses to draw out pus and putrid matter.

Internal inflammations, for example in pleurisy, pneumonia, bronchitis, peritonitis and inflammation including arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be helped  by treating with an ointment made from linseed oil and other herbs and bandaging to increase heat.  An infusion of linseed with liquorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra  is demulcent and expectorant to treat colds, coughs, urinary infections, spermatorrhoea and diarrhoea.

Linseed taken orally considered to be antispasmodic.

Seeds can be used in the eye instead of eye drops because the mucilage from the seed effective soothes eye irritation.

India: gout

Gout: an ayurvedic medicine remedy. Take three teaspoons cold-pressed linseed oil per day.  You can have it in food or drinks, or take it from a teaspoon.

China: constipation, dry skin, wrinkles, hair thinning,

In a Chinese materia medica it indicates using linseed for cases of constipation, dryness and itching of the skin. Also for withering (wrinkles?) and loss of hair.

A remedy for dryness and dry skin during winter

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