Linseed (Linum usitatissimum)
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Linseed, also known as flaxseed, is a food and fibre crop grown in cooler regions. It is one of the oldest fibre crops: spun, dyed and knotted wild flax fibres found in a cave in Georgia have been dated to 30,000 years ago. It was extensively cultivated in ancient China and Egypt, pictures on temple walls and tombs in Thebes depict flowering flax plants. Flax fibre, which is used to make linen, is soft, lustrous and flexible, bundles of fibre have the appearance of blonde hair, hence the description "flaxen".
Linseed comes in two varieties, brown or golden (yellow), and produces linseed oil, one of the oldest commercial oils. Soaked linseeds can be used both internally (to calm irritated bowels) and externally (as poultice or compresses for infections, gout, eyes, flu, fever or rheumatism).
Linseed has a high content of mucilage and fights free radicals; it has a firming and hydrating effect and improves the elasticity of the skin.