Common Flax. Nat. Ord. Linaceae.. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Pentagynia. Hab. Europe, India, &c.
Med. Prop. and Action. The seeds (Lini Semen, Linseed) are demulcent and emollient, and may conveniently he given in infusion, with sugar, lemon, &c, to taste, in doses of fl. oz. ij., several times daily. If drunk largely, it assists the action of other diuretics. The oil expressed from the seeds (Lini Oleum, Linseed Oil) is emollient and laxative in doses of fl. oz. ss. - fl. oz. j.
* See Lancet, Aug. 30, 1862, p. 239. Med. Times, July 13, 1850.
It is rarely given internally, excepting in the form of enema. The farina of the seeds, after the oil has been expressed (Lini Farina), commonly known as Linseed Meal, is extensively employed in the formation of poultices. For this purpose Mr. Abernethy* directs that the basin should be first scalded with a little hot water, a small quantity of finely powdered Linseed Meal is then put into it, and then a little hot water, taking care to incorporate it thoroughly; then add a little more meal and a little more water, and work it together till no lumps remain, and it becomes of the consistence of a pancake. (See Cataplasms.)
Offlc. Prep. Of the Meal (Lini Farina): Cataplasma Lini (Linseed Meal oz. iv.; Olive Oil fl. oz. ss.; Boiling Water fl. oz. x. Mix the Linseed Meal with the Oil, then add the Water, constantly stirring).
Of the Seed (Lini Semen): Infusum Lini (Linseed gr. clx.; Fresh Liquorice-root sliced gr. lx.; Boiling Distilled Water fl. oz. x. Infuse for four hours, and strain). Dose, ad lib.
In Catarrh, Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Visceral Inflammations, Calculus, Ardor UrimAe, Gonorrhoea, and affections of the Genito- Urinary Organs, the infusion (ut supra) is an excellent demulcent, and its value is greatly enhanced by being generally procurable.
1726. In Puerperal Fever, at an advanced stage, when the offending matter from the bowels stimulates to frequent and involuntary stools, Dr. Denman advises enemas of water in which the bruised seeds have been boiled, and which consequently contains a portion of the oil.
1727. To Abscesses, to hasten the process of suppuration, Linseed-meal poultices (ut supra) are very valuable applications.
1728. In Abdominal and Thoracic Inflammations, Linseed-meal poultices made light, soft, and sufficiently large to cover the whole abdomen, back, or side of the chest, are productive of great relief. They are strongly recommended by Sir F. Smith.
Maxwell § found large injections of warm Linseed Oil (Oij. - Oiv.), steadily and slowly thrown up (regurgitation being prevented by pressing the guard of the pipe against the anus), remarkably successful after feculent vomiting had come on, and the usual means had failed. He recommends, in such cases, the patient to be placed on the right side, with the pelvis elevated above the rest of the body, the premature return of the injection being prevented by firmly pressing a ball of linen against the anus. He directs this glyster to be repeated every three or four hours, until relief is obtained; and, when much exhaustion is present, with the addition of Opium. (Copland.)