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Flax is scientifically known as Linum usitatissimum. It's used as a food, as a medicine, and there is a lot of historic symbolism behind its use and its properties. It belongs to the Linacea plant family and the linum genus. It's main economical use is in the production of linen. Plants such as Flax are on this earth for our benefit. They serve the biosphere, and all life on our majestic planet. They should be treated with the utter-most respect, and their understanding should be sought out by all walks of life.


History


           This plant has been used as a textile in the days of the Republic Of Georgia. They have been found in the "Dzudzuana Cave" dated to the Upper Paleolithic era around 30,000 years ago. It was cultivated in ancient Egypt where the temple walls had Hieroglyph depictions of the flowering tops and mummies were entombed in linen that was made from them. The priest of Egypt wore linen made from it as a symbol of purity. It was of economical value for them as well, used in bartering. This culture embraced the use of many sacred plants especially the Blue Lotus Flower


This isn't the only species that has a very lengthy history of use as medicine, in culinary delights, and in symbolism. Cultures around the world have made many fascinating discoveries surrounding these sacred herbs. They are and have been considered gifts, holy sacraments, and divine tools by many people around the world for centuries. It's been well known by herbalists for a very long time too. Even my grandmother told me about it and how her grand parents served as teachers of the art as well. It's sacred knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Let's look at some interesting facts regarding Flax below.


Culinary


There is around 450 calories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams ( one ounce ) of fiber and 20 grams of protein in approximately one hundred grams of ground seed. Even the sprouts are edible and have a unique spicy flavor. It's not suggested to consume excessive amounts of seeds though because they can cause bowel obstruction in large repetitive quantities. They can be used as a supplement for people who need higher levels of these live giving elements in their diet. Personally, I like to add Flax seed to soup. I don't put much, but it seems to go well with the other ingredients. I usually do this with homemade potatoe soup.


Phytochemist have discovered and isolated three natural phenolic glucosides, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, p-coumaric acid glucoside and ferulic acid glucoside from the seeds of Flax. Courmarin and coumaric acid are naturally re-occurring alkaloids present in many spices such as Tumeric and others. In traditional Austrian medicine they are consumed internally and externally as compresses or oil extracts for disorders related to the respiratory tract, eyes, infections, cold, flu, fever, rheumatism, and gout.


Alternative healers have many methods for using their healing tools. Decoctions are usually made by boiling roots. Topical applications include compresses and oils made to be applied directly to the skin. Tea's are the most common form for using natural remedies. Tinctures are also popular and have the longest shelf life. Tinctures are also known as spirits and can be easily made by adding alcohol to the herb of choice. The alcohol extracts the prized constituents and the result is called a tincture. My Native American friends tell me that Flax and Sassafras are often used in infusions. I'm not sure if this is based on their cultural history, or their actual personal preference. I always listen to them though.


Clinical Research


           While the FDA has no interest in evaluating or approving alternative medicine for human consumption that has not stopped scholarly researchers around the globe from making some rather remarkable discoveries. They have found that the seeds contain high levels of dietary fiber, lignana, micro-nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids and more. They may lower cholesterol levels. Certain studies have found that they may benefit people with certain types of breast and prostate cancers. Duke University suggests that flax-seed may stunt the growth of prostate tumors. They also contain natural antioxidants.


Modern society needs to respect and embrace the study of these plants. If they have been used time and time again throughout history successfully then I do believe we should take a look. We have the knowledge, time, and resources to conduct the research. The research has been done and should be done on a larger scale. I think that herbs like Flax deserve the respect of everyone, not only because of their industrial importance, but their cultural, and potentially medicinal. We should study them, and make the findings known to the world. We should also conduct our herbal marketing ethically.


Symbolism

Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen made from Flax. This was done as a symbol of light and purity, and as a display of wealth. They were even depicted in the story of the Sleeping Beauty tale, such as "Sun, Moon, and Talia" by Giambattista Basile. In this story the princess pricks her finger on a sliver of flax, which is later sucked out by her children conceived as she sleeps. This isn't the only plant that has cultural symbolism behind it. You would be surprised, I often look up plants in a dream dictionary. Dandelion for example, is considered a symbol of the collective conscious by some.


star botanicals
Kratom, Plants, Seeds, Ethnobotanicals, Oneirogens..


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