Culpeper’s Herbal: FLAX

Linseed is a Culpeper herbal remedy for constipation.

Flax (linseed) remedies from Culpeper’s Complete Herbal,

Culpeper herbal entry for flax (linseed) detail 1
Culpeper herbal entry for flax (linseed) detail 1

by Nicholas Culpeper, 1653

The entry for flax/linseed in interesting in many ways. Apart from nicely clarifying part of the relationship between flax and linseed; in those days they were growing flax for clothing and the seeds were really a by-product, but usually called linseed – even though they had come from “flax” plants.

Flax in 1653, as good then as it is now

His reference to using linseed for tumours and the use of linseed oil as clysters (enemas) has similarities with the Budwig Protocol.

Culpeper refers to it as useful, it’s Latin name, usiatissimum, means “useful”. Three and a half centuries later and linseed is still being used for treating the same complaints and we thought it was a new idea using linseed oil as a remedy for asthma!

Culpeper herbal entry for flax (linseed) detail 2
Culpeper herbal entry for flax (linseed) detail 2

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, entry for flax/linseed:

FLAX.— (Linum Usiatissimum)

Time.— It flowers in June, the seed only is used.

Government and Virtues.— Mercury owns this useful plant. The seed, which is usually called linseed, is emollient, digesting, and ripening ; of great use against inflammations, tumours, and imposthumes, and is frequently out into formentations and cataplasms, for those purposes.  Cold-drawn linseed oil is of great service in all diseases of the breast and lungs, as pleurisies and peripneuemonia, coughs, and asthma and consumption.   It likewise helps the colic and stone, both taken by mouth, and given in clysters.   The oil, by expression, is the only official preparation.


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