Alsi is highly nutritious and improves overall health. It is one of the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids is known by many common names such as Linseed, Common Flax, Mary’s Linen Cloth, Flax Seed, and Lint Bells. Flax seeds contain palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic acids, amino acids, sugars, mucilage (3-10%), fatty oil (30-40%) and glycosides. It is high in protein and helps in building muscles. It is good for heart, brain, skin, nerves, joints, and reproductive system. It is a boon for human beings.
Table of content
It is an annual, erect, willowy plant with few branches and simple, alternate, oblong leaves. It bears blue or blue-violet five-petaled flowers. From the flowers, the flattened, shiny light brown seeds are borne in an eight- to ten-seeded capsule. These seeds are used as food and medicine. These tiny-shiny-smooth seeds are considered Superfood due to their ability to prevent and treat wide variety of diseases.
- Latin Name : Linum usitatissimum
- English : Linseed, Flaxseed
- Ayurvedic : Atasi, Umaa, Masrnaa, Nilapushpi, Kshumaa अतासी, मसीना,उमा, क्षुमा
- Unani : Kattan
- Siddha : Ali, Virai, Sirrali (Seed)
- Assamese : Tisi, Tusi
- Bengali : Masina, Atasi
- English : Linseed
- Gujrati : Alshi, Arasi
- Hindi : Alsi, teesi, tisi तीसी
- Kannada : Agasebeeja, Semeagare, Agasi
- Kashmiri : Alsi
- Malayalam : Agastha, Agasi, Cheru charm
- Marathi : Atshi
- Oriya : Atushi
- Punjabi : Ali
- Tamil : Ali, Virai
- Telugu : Avisa
- Urdu : Alsi, Katan
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Order: Linales
- Family: Linaceae – Flax family
- Genus: Linum L. – flax
- Species: Linum usitatissimum L. – common flax
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Unctuous)
- Virya: Ushna (Heating)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
- Action: Vataghna, Achaksushya
Medicinal Properties of Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties, will help us to better utilize this superfood. Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Analgesic: acting to relieve pain
- Antiatherogenic: preventing or inhibiting formation of abnormal fatty or lipid masses in arterial walls)
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antioxidant: neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antiplatelet: decrease platelet aggregation and inhibit thrombus formation.
- Antitumor / anticancer: preventing or inhibiting the formation or growth of tumors.
- Antitussive: prevent or relieve a cough.
- Cardio tonic: increase the efficiency and improve the contraction of the heart muscle, which leads to improved blood flow to all tissues of the body.
- Demulcent: relieving inflammation or irritation.
- Digestive: digestant
- Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
- Emmenagogue: stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus, some stimulate menstruation.
- Emollient: Soothing and softening effect on the skin or an irritated internal surface.
- Estrogenic: hormones produced primarily by the ovaries that stimulate the development and maintenance of female secondary sex characteristics.
- Expectorant: Promoting or facilitating the secretion or expulsion of phlegm, mucus, or other matter from the respiratory tract.
- Galactagogue: promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk
- Hypocholesterolemic: lowering (hypo-) levels of cholesterol in the blood (-emia)
- Hypoglycemic: Reducing level of the sugar glucose in the blood.
- Laxative: tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
- Lipolytic: breaks lipids, triglycerides
- Peristaltic: involuntary contraction passing along the walls of a hollow muscular structure (as the esophagus or intestine) and forcing the contents onward
Diseases in Which Flax seeds are helpful
- Atherosclerosis (deposition of fatty material on arteries)
- Boil, acne, wart
- Chronic renal diseases (gradual loss of kidney function)
- Cancer prevention
- Constipation, piles, fistula, hemorrhoid
- Cold, cough, Pleurisy, Pneumonia
- Diverticulosis (condition in which small sacs or pockets develop in the wall of the colon)
- Diabetes / Elevated level of blood sugar
- Fever, Malaria
- Gonorrhea (venereal disease involving inflammatory discharge from the urethra or vagina)
- Gout, Rheumatism, Swelling
- Hepatosis (non-inflammatory functional disorder of the liver)
- High Cholesterol
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol-triglycerides level
- Hypercholesterolemia (excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream)
- I.B.S., Ulcerative colitis, acidity
- Lupus nephritis (autoimmune system disease characterized by inflammation of the kidneys)
- Migraine / Headache
- Proteinuria (presence of abnormal quantities of protein in the urine, which may indicate damage to the kidneys)
- Stones (Kidney Stone, Gallstone)
- Stress, tension, laziness, anger, low energy level, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness
- Splenosis (autoimplantation one or more focal deposits of splenic tissue in various compartments of the body)
- Health Benefits of Flax seeds (Alsi)
- It is highly nutritious. It contains omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, protein and fibre.
- It is an excellent source of dietary alpha-linolenic acid for modifying plasma and tissue lipids.
- It contains 20 % good proteins and helps in muscles formation.
- It reduces cholesterol and lipid.
- It is hot in potency and gives relief in coughs, catarrh, and lung and chest problems.
- It is good for heart.
- It protects from coronary heart diseases.
- It increases good cholesterol and reduces triglycerides.
- It prevents formation of blood clots in the blood vessels of heart.
- It is effective in digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, enteritis and constipation.
- It is considered beneficial in urinary disorders.
- It is protects colon and helps in damage to colon by abuse of laxatives.
- It prevents formation of stones in the gall bladder.
- Due to presence of Lignin, which has estrogen like effect, it is effective in disorders of menstruation and menopause syndrome.
- It stimulates milk production in new nursing mother.
- It is good for skin and cures skin dryness.
- It supports better functioning of heart, brain, liver, kidneys, adrenal and thyroid glands.
Flax seeds nutritional value per 100 gm
|Energy||2,234 kJ (534 kcal)||Carbohydrates||28.88 g|
|Sugars||1.55 g||Dietary fiber||27.3 g|
|Fat||42.16 g||Saturated Fat||3.663 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||7.527 g||Polyunsaturated fat||28.730 g|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||1.644 mg (143%)||Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.161 mg (13%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||3.08 mg (21%)||Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.985 mg (20%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.473 mg (36%)||Folate (vit. B9)||0 ?g (0%)|
|Vitamin C||0.6 mg (1%)||Calcium||255 mg (26%)|
|Iron||5.73 mg (44%)||Magnesium||392 mg (110%)|
|Phosphorus||642 mg (92%)||Potassium||813 mg (17%)|
|Zinc||4.34 mg (46%)||Protein||18.29 g|
Flax seeds are best source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians
While other vegetable oils has ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids is 58:1, flax seed oil has 0.3:1 ratio. Supplementing the diet with flaxseed provides a good source of the plant based omega-3 fatty acid.
Flaxseed are excellent source of lignans
Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of lignans providing 75-800 times higher levels than other plant sources. Lignans represent approximately 0.7 to 1.5% of flaxseed. Lignans are phytoestrogens – “phyto” meaning derived from plants, and “estrogen” referring to the hormone produced in the body.
Excellent source of protein
Flax seeds has 18% protein, which makes it very good source of protein in vegetarian foods.
Flax seeds are excellent source of dietary fibre
Flaxseed contains approximately 28% dietary fibre, with a ratio of soluble to insoluble fibre between 20:80 and 40:6031. The insoluble dietary fibre fraction plays an important role in the relief of constipation, a common problem among many individuals who consume low fibre diets, are inactive, or are using certain medications for other conditions but that may promote constipation. Diets high in insoluble fibre result in a healthy bacterial environment in the colon, which may have protective effects against colon cancer.
2 to 3 grams of flaxseed oil, which is equivalent to 2 to 3 soft gels (1000mg), or approximately 2 mL (1?2 tsp.) of oil.
Approximately 15 to 25 mL (1 – 2tbsp.) of milled flaxseed (approximately 30g) may provide adequate supplementation of both ALA and lignans.
Directions to use alsi
Dosage of Alsi
To get the health benefits of Alsi / Flaxseeds, one should regularly eat 10-40 grams of it. The seeds can be chewed or you may just ground them to powder using a grinder. The powder can be taken in dose of 1-2 tablespoon in the morning with water or soup.
If you eat, 2 tablespoons of Flaxseeds, it will provide 133 % of Omega-3 fats, 19 percent of Vitamin B1, copper and Manganese, 15 percent of fiber, 14 percent of Magnesium and Phosphorus and about 6 % of Selenium.
Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects
- Drink plenty of water while taking flax seeds.
- It should not be taken in bowel obstruction.
- It may affect absorption of medicines.
- No known side effects when taken in proper therapeutic dosages.