Alsi/Flaxseed/Linseed Medical Properties, Uses and Benefits
Alsi is also known as Linseed or Flaxseed contains essential oils and has medicinal importance. It has been used in Ayurveda by our Acharya’s for many ages to treat numerous diseases both internally and externally. Alsi has two varieties i.e. golden yellow and brown. The oil present in its seeds is rich in short-chain fatty acids and is useful in enhancing the overall nutrition of the body. These seeds are consumed after proper roasting and can either be taken with water or salad to treat various diseases.
Latin name- Linum usitatissimum
Names in different languages of Alsi/Flaxseed
- English Name- Flaxseed, Linseed, or Flax
- Hindi Name- Teesi, Alsi, Alasi, Tisi
- Punjabi Name- Ali
- Bengali Name- Atasi, Masina
- Kashmiri Name- Alsi
- Oriya Name- Atushi
- Urdu Name- Katan, Alsi
- Tamil Name- Virai, Aalisidirai, Ali
- Kannada Name- Agasi, Agasebeeja, Semeagare
- Marathi Name- Atshi
- Siddha Name- Virai, Ali, Sirrali
- Telugu Name- Alsi
- Unani Name- Kattan
- Assamese Name- Tusi, Tisi
- Gujarati Name- Arasi, Alshi
- Malayalam Name- Cheru charm, Agasi, Agastha
Names in the Sanskrit language:
Neela pushpin, Neela- It has blue colored flowers
Rudrapatni, Suvarchala, Kusuma, Kshuma, Uma, Kshaumi, Venu, Masruna, Kshama, and Parvati
Categorization according to classical books:
- Bhavaprakasha Nighantu- Mishra Prakarana abd Dhanya Varga
- Kaiyadeva Nighantu- Dhanya Varga
- 3. Dhanvanti Nighantu- Suvarnadi Varga
This shloka means that synonyms of alsi are atsi, neelpushpi, parvati, uma and kshuma. It is of sweet and bitter taste, undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion, is heavy, hot, and good for eyes, balances Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha.
(Reference- Bhavaprakash Nighantu: Page no. 640 and Shloka no. 66-67)
Peninsular type- It is found in south India
Gangetic type- It is found in north India
These both varieties are mentioned by Prof. P.V Sharma
Alsi is a winter crop that grows up to the Himalayas at the height of about 6000 feet above sea level. It has various varieties which differ in shape, color, and size according to the areas in which it is cultivated. It has yellow, white, black and red varieties. Its seeds are used to extract famous Linseed or Flaxseed oil. The stem contains fiber and the plant has blue flowers, so it is called ‘Neela’.
Alsi Medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste)- Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities)- Guru (Heavy), Picchila (Slimy), and Snigdha (Sticky)
Veerya (Potency)- Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka (Undergoes taste conversion after digestion)- Katu (Pungent)
Effect on tridosha- Increases Pitta and Kapha dosha, balances Vata dosha
Main chemical composition:
Sitosterol, Campesterol, 5-Dehydroavenasterol, Cycloartenol
In flaxseed oil-
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, the body converts AlA into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both compounds are found in fish and are useful in treating heart disorders, they also boost immunity, and treat various infertility issues. Flaxseed oil is an alternative source of vegetables at least to some extent. People who do not like fish oil supplements can use this oil as a substitute.
Various actions on the body:
Most of the studies have shown that Alsi or flaxseeds or linseeds work as a great antioxidant, anticancer, emollient, antiplatelet, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, diuretic, lipolytic, hypocholesterolemic, cardiotonic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypoglycemic, galactagogue, and laxative compound.
Benefits of Alsi/Flaxseed according to Ayurveda:
Vataghni- Helps in treating Vata dosha disorders like paralysis, bloating, constipation, etc.
Shukraghni- Reduces semen or sperm
Raktapitta Prakopana- Not useful in bleeding disorders like heavy periods, nasal bleeding, etc
Pittakapha prakopani- Increases pitta and Kapha dosha
Druk Ghni- It is not ideal or good for the eyes
Researchers have stated that flaxseed oil helps to prevent breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Its alpha-linoleic acid reduces the chances of prostate cancer. Omega 3s present in it prevents the replication of cancerous cells, especially colon cancer. Its lignans are working as antibacterial and blocks enzymes that are responsible for hormone metabolism and inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
Minimizes nerve damage:
Flaxseeds help in the proper transmission of nerve impulses and treat conditions related to Vata imbalance like numbness and tingling sensation. Being a nervine tonic, it provides strength to the nerves and shows good results in Parkinson’s disease.
Flaxseeds are rich in fiber that helps to keep you full for a longer time. This helps to curb the appetite and help to burn fat. Foods with rich fiber aid in healthy metabolism and proper weight loss.
Maintains bowel health:
Flaxseed works as an anti-inflammatory which helps to treat inflammation in diseases like constipation, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Being a detoxifier, it expels out the harmful toxins and is very effective in treating diverticular disease and hemorrhoids.
Linseeds are rich in minerals, vitamins, and EFAs. The regular use of its oil over the scalp helps to prevent hair fall, dandruff, flakiness and promotes the growth of hair. Hair problems due to scalp psoriasis and eczema is a very big problem nowadays and flaxseeds show anti-inflammatory action and revitalize the skin. It is also good for nails.
Flaxseeds contain Alpha linoleic acid that works as a cardio-protective and when you add flaxseeds to your diet, it helps to lower the chances of blood pressure and heart diseases. It regulates the heartbeat and promotes heart health by strengthening the heart muscles. Its antihypertensive action maintains the blood pressure level.
Lowers cholesterol level:
Due to the presence of an abundant level of omega 3s in flaxseed oil, it helps to lower the LDL cholesterol levels and hence reduces the chances of heart diseases. These seeds reduce the blood pressure and stop or reduce the inflammatory reactions that cause poor blood circulation and the formation of hard plaques in the arteries.
Seed, flower, and oil
Powder- 3 to 6 grams
Oil- 5 to 15 ml (in a divided dose per day)
From this article, it is concluded that linseeds are very helpful in treating diseases related to the heart, hair, skin, nails, intestine, etc. But its excessive use may cause loose stools or diarrhea. So use it with caution or in a moderate dose. Pregnant women should avoid the use of flaxseed oil as it increases the chances of premature birth after the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. It also increases the chances of bleeding disorders. Patients who are suffering from hypoglycemia should also avoid linseeds.
Note: Our purpose is to serve useful information related to Alsi or flaxseeds ’s benefits, dosage, and other properties. It is advised to the patients not to consume Alsi or flaxseedson the basis of this information. Before taking Alsi or flaxseeds as a medicine it is better to have an expert opinion because dosage and treatment vary from patient to patient depending on their symptoms and medical history.
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