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The dried ripe seed of Linum usitatissimum (family Linaceae), flax, the fiber of which is used in the manufacture of linen; an infusion was formerly used as a demulcent in catarrhal affections of the respiratory and urogenital tracts, and the ground seeds are used in making poultices.
Synonym(s): flaxseed
[G. linon, flax]


/lin·seed/ (lin´sēd) flaxseed; the dried ripe seed of Linum usitatissimum, the common flax plant, used as a laxative and a topic demulcent and emollient, and a source of α.


The seed of flax, especially when used as the source of linseed oil; flaxseed.


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.


n Latin name:
Linum usitatissimum; part used: seeds; uses: emollient, laxative, anticholesterolemic; topically used as an inflammatory; precautions: persons with bowel obstruction or dehydration. Overdose may cause weakness, seizures, paralysis, and death. Also called
flaxseed, linseed, lint bells, linen flax, and



linseed cake
the residue after the removal of the linseed oil by commercial processes. Contains cyanogenetic glycosides and may cause poisoning.
linseed meal
cake ground into meal.
linseed oil
used at one time as a lubricant laxative for horses in doses of 1 to 2 quarts as a drench. Has the unfortunate effect on unpredictable occasions of causing superpurgation and is generally supplanted by mineral oil.