Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) is a tall, erect, annual plant with star-shaped, turquoise-blue blossoms. It has been cultivated in many regions since the time of the ancients Egyptians. Today, the world leader for flax production is Canada. Ground flaxseed is produced from whole seeds and is one of the richest sources of lignans, providing 75–800 times more than most plant foods. Flaxseed is also a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).1

Health Benefits

Flaxseed consumption may lower total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) levels which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.1-5 Flaxseed consumption may also reduce blood viscosity and platelet aggregation, but increase blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA, implying the beneficial effect of flaxseed on heart health.3,4 Furthermore, flaxseed may aid in stimulating bowel movements and improving blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity.2,3,6


  1. Flaxseed. American Botanical Council. Accessed in July 2015 http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Flaxseed.html
  2. Flaxseed. MedlinePlus. NIH. Accessed in July 2015 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/991.html
  3. Cunnane SC, Hamadeh MJ, Liede AC, Thompson LU, Wolever TM, Jenkins DJ. Nutritional attributes of traditional flaxseed in healthy young adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jan;61(1):62-8. PubMed PMID: 7825540.
  4. Clark WF, Parbtani A, Huff MW, Spanner E, de Salis H, Chin-Yee I, Philbrick DJ, Holub BJ. Flaxseed: a potential treatment for lupus nephritis. Kidney Int. 1995 Aug;48(2):475-80. PubMed PMID: 7564115.
  5. Lucas EA, Wild RD, Hammond LJ, Khalil DA, Juma S, Daggy BP, Stoecker BJ, Arjmandi BH. Flaxseed improves lipid profile without altering biomarkers of bone metabolism in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Apr;87(4):1527-32. PubMed PMID: 11932276.
  6. Bloedon LT, Balikai S, Chittams J, Cunnane SC, Berlin JA, Rader DJ, Szapary PO. Flaxseed and cardiovascular risk factors: results from a double blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Feb;27(1):65-74. PubMed PMID: 18460483.