Botanist's Glossary

Flax - Linum usitatissimum

  • Description
    • Flax (Linaceae family) is an annual herbaceous plant with slender stems 30 cm to 1 meter high and sky-blue flowers. It was domesticated in the Middle East at the same time as the first grains. The brown, flat, oval seeds are rich in oil and mucilage and have many different uses. Two types of flax are grown by producers: seed flax and fiber flax.
  • Traditions
    • Flax was the first textile plant to be grown in Europe. Fragments of flax fabrics, dating back to 4000 BC, have been found in Switzerland. Flaxseed (also known as linseed) has excellent softening and anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used as a laxative. A decoction of flaxseed and marshmallow root can be used in baths to soothe itching and leave skin supple and velvety soft.
  • Properties
    • Linseed extracts have softening and hydrating properties. They improve skin comfort.