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One of the oldest crops, the flax plant- member of genus Linum, was cultivated as early as in 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. While it was originally used as a fibre for clothing, it enjoyed widespread use in ancient Greek cuisine and in Roman medicines. Medically, it was often used as a laxative as well as for controlling coughs and even relieving pain.
Rightly so its a latin name that translates to “very useful”, as every part of the Flax plant is utilized commercially, either directly or after processing it. The total flax plant is approximately 25% seed and 75% stem and leaves.
While the stem yields good quality fibre for clothing, the seeds can be consumed raw or one can use the oil made from it. It can be incorporated in baked foods, milk, juices, cereals, snacks and energy bars.
These tear-shaped seeds that have a hard shell which usually is smooth and shiny come in two varieties :
1) Reddish brown (2) Yellow or Golden.
The yellow variety has a very different oil profile and is low in omega-3 fatty acids.
In India, these seeds are also known by the different names like “alsi” in Hindi, “jawas” in Marathi, “akshi” in Kannada, “cheruchana vithu” in Malayalam, “ali vidai” in Tamil and “pesi” Oriya.
Benefits of Flax Seed
Flax seeds have both nutritional characteristics and health benefits.
People all over the world have been in awe, with all the information that science and research has provided in terms of medicinal and nutritional benefits of Flax seeds.