Today we are taking a break from the Under the Radar EO series, to look at Flax Seed Oil, both as an herbal supplement and as a topical treatment. Perhapse this oil has been under your radar.
First cultivated in Europe, flaxseed has been cultivated for more than 7000 years.
A source of fiber for linen fabric since ancient times, the slender flax plant also boasts a long history as a healing herb. A rich source of healing compounds, the plant's brown seeds were regularly used to prepare balms for inflamed skin and healing slurries for constipation. Today, flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are best known for the therapeutic oil that is derived by pressing them. Rich in essential fatty acids, flaxseed oil has earned a solid reputation for treating a range of ailments, from heart disease to lupus, and to relieve a variety of inflammatory disorders and hormone-related problems.
While Flaxseed oil is primarily marketed as a plant-based nutritional supplement for the over-all improvement of the heart’s condition, the strengthening of the immune system, and the development of an individual’s mental health, consumer trials and experimentations have indicated that it can also deliver benefits for the hair and the skin, both when taken orally, and when applied topically to the affected areas. For many years the benefits of flaxseed oil have been concentrated on the physiological and mental functions of the body. While preventing cardiac problems, diabetes or joint problems certainly is a positive reason for utilizing this oil, it appears to have further reaching benefits, ones that have been underutilized.
Flaxseed oil has proved itself as a potent remedy for hair and skin problems.
Although it has yet to be proven by clinical specialists, herbalists and customers agree that these hair and skin benefits are substantial, and that flaxseed oil is a very safe product. Although flax oil supplements are intended as an additional source of the essential nutrients which the body cannot produce or synthesize on its own, they are now also being recommended (more frequently) for the treatment, or improvement of hair and skin problems. In such cases, this oil performs when taken orally, in its liquid form or in softgel capsules. and when applied directly onto the affected area of the skin or scalp. Aside from reducing the likelihood of serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, the omega 3 in the flaxseed oil also contributes to healthy skin and scalp.
Specifically, the oral intake of flaxseed oil, through the essential fatty acids, provides nourishment to the scalp. The Omega 3 also stimulated the production of hormones that are needed to supplement any deficiency in the body (for instance in the case of women who just gave birth). This supplementation then reduces the likelihood that hair loss will occur because of infections or hormonal fluctuations. It helps to maintain healthy hair, and even promotes hair growth from the roots to the tips. Many scalp conditions are remedied just by the supplementation. Of course topical application will also nourish the hair shaft, as well as calm, soothe, and reduce any scalp conditions or outbreaks.
Considered as a natural and organic product, flaxseed oil can be used as a leave-on serum for the hair after it dries. Similar to commercial coconut oil specifically for the hair, flax oil can be applied to maintain long hair, making it shiny and more manageable. As previously stated, this oil provides both internal and external nourishment to the hair strands, which gives the hair a nice sheen and luster.
Dandruff is generally caused by the shedding of dead skin cells on the scalp. Orally, flaxseed oil provides the necessary nourishment to prevent the scalp from being irritated or from developing a serious cases of psoriasis, and there are studies (from skincare specialists) to back this up. Of course, topical application of the oil will also reduce the dryness, redness and flakiness of the scalp as well.
Flaxseed oil can also be a great solution for skin problems. Indeed, it was well used in the pre-historic times as a skin balm. Since that time, flax oil has been well accepted as an herbal medicine, largely because of its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
Skin diseases, such as eczema (redness and itchiness of the skin), rosacea (redness in the face that often leads to acne breakouts) and psoriasis (itchy and scaly patch in the skin that often develops into lesions) can be improved by taking flax oil orally. And/Or, by applying a thin film of flaxseed oil topically, over the skin, for a more tangible avenue of relief from the dryness and itchiness. In fact, flaxseed and its oil has been reported to reduce the signs of aging, both physically and mentally.
The soothing capability of flax oil also makes it a good and an inexpensive treatment for the treatment and healing of sunburned skin. Application of this oil on the burned areas reduces the redness and the inflammation on the skins' surface, as well as reducing the likelihood that that portion of skin will develop superficial lesions.
Since acne breakouts are largely caused by (excessively) clogged pores of the face, it is also reasonable to assume that the essential fatty acids in the flaxseed oil will work on this skin problem by reducing and thinning out the sebum, the oily secretions that clog the pores. While many users have reported clearer skin after continuous intake of this product, some reported no significant improvement. So there is no clear cut indication as to weather flaxseed oil is a good treatment for acne or not, but I suggest that it can do no harm to try it and see how it works for you!
Not only is the oil good for you, but the whole flaxseeds are too. They are a rich source of lignans (phytoestrogens), substances that appear to positively affect hormone-related problems. Lignans may also be useful in preventing certain cancers and combating specific bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including those that cause cold sores and shingles. Specifically, flaxseed may help to; lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease and control high blood pressure, protect against angina (chest pain), prevent against a second heart attack, counter inflammation associated with gout, lupus and fibrocystic breasts, which in turn, lessens the (often) sudden and severe joint pain and swelling associated with gout and lupus, as well as the pain of fibrocystic breasts. It is also reported to control constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disorders and gallstones due to its high content of dietary fiber.
This is an oil and a product that is worth checking out and incorporating into your diet. Its potential benefits are certainly worth checking out for yourself. You should know though, Flaxseed oil should not be heated. To benefit from all its goodness, use it in smoothies and as a topping on salad, or take the capsules.
Pregnant women, men with prostate cancer and women with certain cancers should not take flaxseed without approval from a doctor. While Flaxseed is also called linseed, DO NOT USE the commercially available linseed oil that is found in hardware stores. It is NOT for human consumption. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for regulating drugs, may find the statements/claims in my post to be unsubstantiated, but you must remember that the FDA is notorious for not recognizing the benefits of non-chemical-based, natural products.