Ozark Encyclopedia – F – Flax

Flax Seed – Linum usitatissimum

Parts used: seed

Traditional uses: “Emollient, demulcent, pectoral. The crushed seeds or linseed meal make a very useful poultice, either alone or with mustard. In ulceration and superficial or deep-seated inflammation a linseed poultice allays irritation and pain and promotes suppuration…Linseed is largely employed as an addition to cough medicines. As a domestic remedy for colds, coughs and irritation of the urinary organs, linseed tea is most valuable. A little honey and lemon juice makes it very agreeable and more efficacious. This demulcent infusion contains a large quantity of mucilage, and is made from 1 OZ. of the ground or entire seeds to 1 pint of boiling water. It is taken in wineglassful doses, which may be repeated ad libitum.” ~Grieve MH

As a laxative – “Flaxseed is also highly recommended for chronic constipation.” ~Vance Randolph OMF 97

For boils and risings – “Fer risin’s and boils. I’d use a flax seed poultice. Bile yer flax seed and mash it into a real thick mush, put it on a square cloth and fold it. Put another bandage over that.” ~Pompey GG

To remove something from the eye – “When my grandmother got a foreign object in her eye, she would take a clean flax seed have some of the family drop it into her eye. It would move to the corner of her eye with the object attached to it.” ~Parler FBA II 2161

“Use fresh flax seed to remove something from your eye, dust or glass.” ~Parler FBA II 2162


Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Pompey, Sherman Lee Granny Gore’s Ozark Folk Medicine (GG)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

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