The seeds of the flax plant are extremely high in essential fatty acids (EFAs), containing between 50 to 60% linolenic acid (triple unsaturated omega-3) and between 15 to 25% linoleic acid (double unsaturated omega-6).
There are many good sources for information concerning the benefits of EFAs, much more information than will be discussed here.
Flaxseed Oil comes from Flax (Linum usitatissimum), and is often called Linseed Oil. This plant has been used for making linen as well as linseed oil based paints and varnishes.
Because of the high amounts of unsaturated fats, Flax seed oil should be fresh, and not exposed to heat or light. Flax Oil can be purchased in soft-gel capsules and is also available in bottles. It should taste pleasant, not rancid, if it is fresh.
Fresh, ground flaxseeds are used often as a bulking laxative, and as a soothing agent for the gastrointestinal tract. The high mucilage in the seed is responsible for this activity. The German Commission E has "Approved" Flaxseed for chronic constipation, and irritable or inflamed bowel conditions.
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