This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Synonym. - Flaxseed. The seed of Linum usitatissimum Linne (nat ord. Lineae).
Levant and Southern Europe; cultivated and spontaneous in most temperate countries.
About 4 or 5 mm. long, oblong-ovate, flattened, obliquely pointed at one end, brown, glossy, covered with a transparent, mucilaginous epithelium, which swells considerably in water; the embryo whitish or pale greenish, with two large, oily, plano-convex cotyledons, and a thin perisperm; inodorous; taste mucilaginous, oily and bitter.
1) A viscid, fixed oil, 30 to 35 per cent. in the embryo. (2) Mucilage, 15 per cent. in the epithelium. (3) Proteids, 25 per cent. (4) Amygdalin, a minute quantity.
Synonym. - Oil of Flaxseed. A fixed oil expressed from Linseed without the use of heat.
A yellowish or yellow, oily liquid, having a slight, peculiar odor, and a bland taste. When exposed to the air it gradually thickens, and acquires a strong odor and taste. Sp. gr., 0.930 to 0.940.
Its most characteristic principles are - (1) Linolein. (2) Myristin. (3) Palmitin. (4) Albumin, a large percentage, to which its drying properties are due.)
Dose, 1/2 to 2 fl. oz.; 15. to 60. c.c
A flaxseed poultice 4 to 10 of boiling water with constant stirring and the .basin being kept hot is a very common means of applying warmth and moisture to a part. It is used to relieve pain, and as a mild irritant to accelerate inflammation and the bursting of an abscess, or as a counter-irritant in all sorts of deep-seated inflammations. The poultices should not be too thick, and should be smeared with oil to prevent their sticking to the skin. The vascular dilatation caused by the flaxseed poultice may be increased by adding 1 part of mustard to 16 of flaxseed. Oil of flaxseed is applied to burns. Mixed with an equal quantity of solution of lime it forms Carron Oil (see p. 157.) Flaxseed tea flaxseed, 3; liquorice, 1; boiling water, 100; infuse for two hours is a common domestic demulcent; the large quantity of mucilage it contains forms a coating for the pharynx and mouth, and thus relieves cough due to sore throat. It is said to be slightly diuretic.