Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flax facts

Out of focus flax flower
Six years ago when I first constructed my rock garden, I sprinkled some wild flower mix of seeds. Of several varieties of flowers, only the alyssum, bachelor's buttons, California poppies and flax remain. The young flax are quite pretty covered with pale blue flowers every morning. The old plants, which is mainly what I have now are too big and upset the symmetry of my rock garden. Plus the old plants do not have many blossoms on them. I pulled many of them out the other day.

Flax is quite a useful plant. From the fibers contained within its stems, linen is made. The fiber is pale yellow thus the name flaxen to describe whitish blonde hair. Northwestern France and Belgium are covered with fields of flax to be harvested for the linen industry. From the seed pods, flax seed oil is obtained which is rich in lignins and omega fatty acids found to be beneficial inhibiting the growth of both prostate and breast cancer cells in vitro. There have been some clinical studies with men having lower levels of PSA antigen after consuming a diet high in ground flaxseed. The flaxseed must be ground in order for the body to absorb the oil unless you are a very thorough chewer. The flaxseed must be kept refrigerated as it becomes rancid quickly. I have not been tempted to harvest my own seed pods as I usually cut off old blossoms to encourage new ones and the immature seed pods are toxic.

Although its benefits for breast cancer patients have been mainly found for estrogen positive BC, I figure  it couldn't hurt to have a few tablespoons mixed up with my yogurt daily along with my baby aspirin and vitamin D.

The wedding date looms closer. My dress and our favors arrived yesterday. Refining the menu happens tomorrow with our tasting at the caterer's.

It has cooled off finally. Sadly many of my flowers have succumbed to heat stress. Below are a few that love the heat:
Cleomes. These are all self seeded. I tried to seed some pink ones with no apparent success. I have been transferring these all over the place. My cosmos and day lilies, also heat lovers, are in the background

Morning glories, also all self seeded. Will not let so many survive in the future as they have killed off my carnations

Black eyed Susans. They have spread from the neighbor's garden into ours. Every year more and more pop up.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Have often wondered about Black eyed Susans and now I see a lovely garden bed filled with them.
Sue, my herbalist suggested soaking the flax seeds in water overnight. When consumed, bingo, the seeds break down easily. Only thing is, I cannot remember if you consume the water. Think you simply empty it out.


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