Flaxseed is good for constipation

and, medical editor and biologist

The seeds of the Flax plant with their fatty oil are used therapeutically for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, among other things. Find out more about the effects of linseed and linseed oil here!

What healing power is in flax?

The ripe seeds of the seed flax (flax, Linum usitatissimum) mainly contain fatty oil, proteins and fiber (including mucus-forming multiple sugars):

The mucous substances swell in the intestine by binding water, which increases the volume of the stool. This increases the pressure on the intestinal wall, which stimulates bowel mobility (peristalsis) and thus defecation. In addition, flaxseed or the fatty oil it contains make the stool smoother and smoother. To do this, the flax seeds must be ground before ingestion to release the oil. The soothing effect of linseed oil is also used for healing purposes, namely to calm irritated mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract.

Thanks to this diverse flaxseed effect, the plant has been recognized for the treatment of various diseases and ailments in the gastrointestinal tract:

  • constipation
  • Colon damaged by laxatives
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (Colon irritabile) with symptoms such as abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea and / or constipation
  • Inflammation of protrusions on the wall of the large intestine (diverticulitis)
  • Skin inflammation

Some studies also show that the seeds of the flax plant, when used internally, may lower blood lipid levels (such as cholesterol levels). And there are other areas where flaxseed could prove to be healthy. Research is being carried out into the extent to which the ingredients of flaxseed could be effective against ovarian cancer, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, asthma and inflammatory processes.

Lose weight with flaxseed?

Because flaxseed stimulates digestion and bowel movements, some people want to lose weight with the help of flaxseed. One should not hope too much in this regard, however. The seeds increase the feeling of satiety and can thus support weight loss. However, the fatty oil it contains provides many calories (flaxseed nutritional values ​​for 100 grams: 488 kilocalories; 36.5 grams of fat; 7.71 grams of carbohydrates; 22.27 grams of protein).

How is the flax used?

Flaxseed as a home remedy

For the treatment of the above-mentioned gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane (gastritis), the internal use of the seeds of the flax plant is recommended: For this purpose, adolescents from 16 years and adults take one to two tablespoons (10 to 3 times a day) two to three times a day 20 grams) flaxseeds whole or lightly crushed together with about 150 milliliters of water each time. The daily dose is 45 grams of flaxseed. Important: During the therapy with flaxseed during the day it is essential to drink plenty of fluids! In the case of constipation, the laxative effect of the flaxseed occurs after about 12 to 24 hours and reaches its maximum after two to three days.

For other age groups, the following recommendations apply to the dosage of flaxseed:

  • one to three years: 2 to 3 times a day 2 to 4 grams
  • four to nine years: 3 to 6 grams 2 to 3 times a day
  • ten to 15 years: 6 to 10 grams 2 to 3 times a day

A teaspoon of flaxseed is about four grams.

You can also presell the seeds of the flax plant and only the Flaxseed slime take (not with constipation, but with gastritis): To do this, soak the daily amount of flaxseed in 250 to 500 milliliters of water overnight. In the morning boil the whole thing briefly and then strain it, for example through a cheesecloth, to separate the seed pods from the flaxseed mucus. Put the mucus in a thermos and drink or spoon a cup of it several times a day.

Sometimes a skin inflammation is used hot poultice (Kataplasma) recommended with the seeds of the flax plant: To do this, 150 grams of freshly ground flax seeds are mixed with a cup of hot water to a pulp and applied to the affected area of ​​the body.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time and do not get better or even worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

What side effects can flax cause?

If the dosage recommendations and adequate fluid intake are observed, as a rule, apart from possible flatulence, no side effects from the seeds of flax and its preparations are to be expected.

What you should consider when using flax

During the treatment with the seeds or the mucus of seed flax, care must be taken to ensure sufficient fluid intake (at least 1.5 to two liters). Otherwise, bloating and / or existing constipation may worsen. Milk is not suitable for hydration here - it cannot make flaxseed swell.

Avoid pre-swelling the flaxseed when treating constipation, so that water absorption and the increase in volume of the seeds only take place in the intestine. A stretch stimulus is specifically exerted on the intestinal wall.

You must not use the medicinal plant linseed (linseed, linseed slime) in the following cases:

  • Suspected or known intestinal obstruction (possible symptoms are severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting)
  • suspected or known narrowing of the esophagus
  • acute abdominal pain
  • hormone-dependent tumors (due to the estrogen-like effect of the medicinal plant)
  • Use of drugs that inhibit the movements (peristalsis) of the intestine
  • Hypersensitivity to flax / linseed

Discuss the use of flaxseed in children with a doctor first.

Flax seeds can delay the absorption of medicines from the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, take the seeds half an hour to a full hour before or after taking the medication.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil can have mild hormonal (estrogen-like) effects, which is why their use during pregnancy is often not recommended. There is little information on the safety of use during breastfeeding. As a precaution, ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking flax / flaxseed oil / flaxseed during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Denture wearers should carefully rinse the seeds down with plenty of liquid after ingestion. This prevents them from getting stuck in the prosthesis and starting to swell here.

Always store flaxseed whole, as the fatty oil that escapes when you grind it quickly becomes rancid.

This is how you get flax and its products

The seeds of the flax plant are available in grocery stores, drug stores and health food stores. However, the quality of these seeds is less suitable for therapeutic treatment than that of the specially grown flax seeds from the pharmacy or corresponding ready-made medicinal products such as flax oil capsules. For the correct use and dosage, read the respective package insert or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Interesting facts about the flax

The wild flax (Linum angustifolium) is an herbaceous plant from the Linaceae family that is at home in the Mediterranean region. It is the parent plant of the seed flax (also called flax, Linum usitatissimum). It is a purely cultivated plant that is grown in various forms of culture almost all over the world, up to altitudes of 1,800 meters.

The annual herb is characterized by its delicate stems, which can reach a height of about one meter. Many delicate, narrow, lanceolate leaves grow on them alternately. In the leaf axils of the upper leaves, sky-blue, five-pointed flowers bloom in panicles. They develop into capsule fruits with ten compartments, in each of which a seed ripens. The ripe flax seeds are flat, shiny brown, and smooth.

The scientific name "Linum usitatissimum" already indicates the great benefits of the plant. Because "usitatissimum" is the superlative of the Latin word "usitatus", which means "common". The "extremely common" cultivated plant was already used in various ways in earlier times, for example in the textile industry and for canvases (linseed fiber) as well as for paints and varnishes (linseed oil). In addition, linseed oil is healthy and is used as an edible oil. Last but not least, the small seeds are dated Flax and the oil it contains is used medicinally as described above.

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