Health Benefits of

flaxseeds

The flax plant, scientifically known as Linum usitassimum produces seeds that range from golden yellow to reddish-brown hues. Flaxseeds or linseeds are not only used for industrial purposes but also have several health benefits. The largest producer of flaxseeds is Canada while India is the third in line. Flaxseeds are a rich source of micronutrients including minerals (potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron) and vitamins (vitamin  A, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B7, and B9). The following sections will discuss the topical benefits of flaxseeds. [1]

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Flaxseeds for Wound Healing

Flaxseeds are known for balancing the pH of the skin, increasing the tensile strength and skin elasticity, removing blemishes, and accelerating the process of wound healing. Application of flaxseed oil along with other therapeutic ingredients also aid in the augmentation of hydroxyproline or collagen content as well as promote wound contraction that improves wound healing. The anti-oxidant vitamins found in flaxseeds also protect against free radicals and reactive oxygen species, as these substances cause oxidative damage and delay the process of wound healing. [2]

Flaxseeds for Skin Conditions

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an important constituent of flaxseed oil. When absorbed into the body tissues, ALA is converted into three chemicals – omega-3-fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as well as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These substances regulate inflammation and promote wound healing by modulating prostaglandin release. Flaxseed oil enhances the ability of the skin to hold moisture, balances the pH hence the normal flora, and is useful for the treatment of disorders that are associated with dry and malnourished skin. [3]

Flaxseeds for Psoriasis and Atopic Dermatitis

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by scaly and erythematous lesions of the skin. The lipid content of flaxseed oil assist in the retention of skin moisture and provide a soothing effect to reduce irritation of the skin. [4] Atopic dermatitis is also a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by lichenification, redness, and infection of the skin owing to exposure to environmental pollutants. Lack of adequate lipid content compromises the integrity of the skin barrier and makes the skin susceptible to damage. The lipid constituents of flaxseed oil restore the function of the epidermal barrier and cure the skin condition. Flaxseed oil also suppresses the release of inflammatory mediators and improves the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. [5]

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Figure 2 demonstrates the constituents of methanolic extract of flaxseed oil https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5412234/

Flaxseeds for Burn Wounds

Flaxseeds are enriched with phytochemicals that play a crucial role in the healing of burn wounds. Topical application of flaxseed oil over burn wounds reduces the occurrence of burn wound infections. Flavonoids in flaxseed oil improve the integrity of collagen fibers and combat cell damage by promoting the synthesis of DNA. These chemicals also accelerate the formation of myofibroblasts, cells responsible for the contraction and closure of the wound. They also halt the process of skin necrosis and improve the blood flow towards damaged tissue so that the healing tissues can derive necessary nutrients. The lipid content of flaxseed oil reduces transepidermal water loss and accelerates the wound repair process. The amino acids in the oil have antioxidant properties that enable it to protect the wound from further oxidative damage. [6]