Linum usitatissimum

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Related to Linum usitatissimum: flax, Flax seed

flax seed

(flaks-seed) ,

Linum usitatissimum

(trade name),


(trade name),


(trade name)


Therapeutic: laxatives
Constipation.Hypercholesterolemia.Menopausal symptoms.Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) nephritis.


Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid which lowers serum cholesterol and reduces platelet aggregation. Ten grams of flaxseed contains 4 grams of dietary fiber which also helps lower cholesterol and increases fecal elimination of bile acids. Flaxseed is an indirect food source of lignans which alter estrogen metabolism to produce less active estrogen metabolites. Flaxseed improves renal function by decreasing blood viscosity, reducing serum cholesterol and reducing inflammatory response.

Therapeutic effects

Reduced serum cholesterol.
Improved renal function.
Increased bowel movements.


Absorption: Unknown
Distribution: Unknown
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown
Half-life: Unknown

Time/action profile



Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity;Gastrointestinal obstruction.
Use Cautiously in: Pregnancy and lactation;Bleeding disorders;Diabetes;Hormone sensitive cancers/conditions.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects


  • hypoglycemia


  • diarrhea
  • bloating
  • flatulence
  • nausea


  • increased bleeding time


  • allergic reactions


Increased risk of bleeding with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents May have additive blood sugar lowering effects with hypoglycemic agents Increased risk of bleeding with herbs that have anticoagulant/antiplatelet properties including clovegarlicgingergingkoginseng and others.Note: Flaxseed oil contains the alpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed, not the fiber or lignan components. It may share the purported lipid-lowering properties of flaxseed but not the proposed laxative or anti-estrogenic properties.
Oral (Adults) Hypercholesterolemia—40–50 grams/day. SLE nephritis—15 grams twice daily. Mild menopausal symptoms—40 grams/day.


Oil: Whole or ground seeds:

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess for abdominal distention, presence of bowel sounds, and usual pattern of bowel function.
  • Assess color, consistency, and amount of stool produced.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Monitor serum glucose, triglycerides, alkaline phosphatase, lipid panel, RBC count, coagulation panel, inflammatory markers, hormone panel, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) before and periodically during therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Constipation (Indications)


  • Oral: Administer with food or mix in food.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to follow directions provided with product.
  • Encourage patients to use other forms of bowel regulation, such as increasing bulk in the diet, increasing fluid intake (6–8 full glasses/day), and increasing mobility. Normal bowel habits are variable and may vary from 3 times/day to 3 times/wk.
  • Advise patient that this medication should be used in conjunction with diet restrictions (fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, alcohol), exercise, and cessation of smoking.
  • Advise patient not to use laxatives when abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or fever is present.
  • Instruct female patients to notify health care professional promptly if pregnancy is planned or suspected.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • A soft, formed bowel movement.
  • Decrease in serum cholesterol levels.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners


Herbal medicine
An annual, the oil and seeds of which contain a cyanogenic glycoside, fixed oils (e.g., linoleic and linolenic acids), mucilage and protein; it has been used internally as a laxative and antitussive, and topically to treat burns.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Fiber cell development and fiber yield of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) affected by the seasonal temperature pattern.
Effect of irrigation and nitrogen on yield and quality of linseed (Linum usitatissimum L.).
An open-label study onthe effect of flax seed powder (Linum usitatissimum) supplementation in the management of diabetes mellitus.
Bulanovs, "Penetration of nanoparticles in flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) calli and regenerants," Journal of Biotechnology, vol.
Total RNAs were isolated from SW872, SW982, HS 39.T, HS 5.T, HL-60, M14WM, MCF-7, and HT29 cell lines treated with Illicium verum, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Rhamnus Frangula, and Linum usitatissimum extracts.
Yuan et al., "Identification and characterization of miRNAs and targets in flax (Linum usitatissimum) under saline, alkaline, and saline-alkaline stresses," BMC Plant Biology, vol.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum L.) extract as well as (+)-secoisolariciresinol diglucoside and its mammalian derivatives are potent inhibitors of a-amylase activity.
Demirel, "Determination of corr elation and path analysis among yield components and seed yields in oil flax varieties (Linum usitatissimum L.)," Journal of Biological Sciences, vol.