Author(s): Azhar Jabeen, Asim Ali Khan, Tabassum Alam, Mohd Maaz, Sheikh Haneef Mohmad
Flax/Katan (Linum usitatissimum Linn.) an annual herb and a founding crop belongs to the family Linaceae. Flaxseeds are smooth, shiny and dark brown in color with mucilaginous, oily and slightly bitter taste. It is a native of Egypt but also cultivated in India, Holland, Russia and Britannia mainly for the purpose of its oil and fiber and is best adapted to fertile, fine textured, clay soils. Flax was valued in Ancient and Early Modern times as both a food and medicine. The medicinal applications of linseed are mentioned in the works of Hippocrates and Dioscorides as well as in medieval books on medicinal herbs in both Asia and Europe. In Unani system of medicine it is used as an anti-inflammatory, phlegm expectorant, chest cleanser, vesicant, analgesic, lithotriptic and calculus removal, aphrodisiac, spermatogenesis, demulscent and laxative, general tonic, galactagogue, emmenagogue etc. The present review the traditional uses, therapeutic actions and pharmacological properties of the linseed in light of current scientific research.