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Flax
Linum usitatissimum - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-088.jpg
Common Flax
Scientific classification
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L. usitatissimum
Binomial name
Linum usitatissimum
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Flax seeds

Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (Linum usitatissimum) is a type of flowering plant.

The fibres of flax are used to make linen. High-quality paper used in banknotes is also made from flax fibres. An oil (linseed oil) can be made from the dried ripe flax seeds. Flax has been used for a long time in such tasks as making bows and candles.

Toxicity

Flax seed and its oil are nontoxic and are safe for human consumption.[1]

However, like many common foods, flax contains small amounts of cyanogenic glycoside.[2] This is nontoxic when eaten in normal amounts. It may be toxic when eaten in large quantities as with staple foods such as cassava.[3] The small percentage of cyanide can be removed by special processing.[4]

References

  1. Cheeseman MA (24 August 2009). "GRAS Petition by Flax Canada, Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000280". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/Noticeinventory/ucm181935.htm. 
  2. Cunnane SC, Ganguli S, Menard C, Liede AC, Hamadeh MJ, Chen ZY, Wolever TM, Jenkins DJ (1993). "High alpha-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): some nutritional properties in humans". Br J Nutr 69 (2): 443–53. doi:10.1079/bjn19930046 . PMID 8098222 . https://archive.org/details/sim_british-journal-of-nutrition_1993-03_69_2/page/443. 
  3. Banea-Mayambu, JP; Tylleskar, T; Gitebo, N; Matadi, N; Gebre-Medhin, M; Rosling, H (1997). "Geographical and seasonal association between linamarin and cyanide exposure from cassava and the upper motor neurone disease konzo in former Zaire". Trop Med Int Health 2 (12): 1143–51. doi:10.1046/j.1365-3156.1997.d01-215.x . PMID 9438470 . 
  4. Singh KK, Mridula D, Rehal J, Barnwal P (2011). "Flaxseed: a potential source of food, feed and fiber". Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 51 (3): 210–22. doi:10.1080/10408390903537241 . PMID 21390942 .