In Part 1 of this blog entry on flax seeds as a superfood, I explained some of the ways that flax seeds can be beneficial to health. In Part 2, I will give some examples of how you can use flax seeds as medicine. In part 3, I'll provide ideas on how you can incorporate these incredible seeds into your diet.
Flax Seeds as Medicine
In my opinion, this is really where flax seeds stand out among other omega-3 fat-rich seeds. I grew up using flax seed as a natural medicine for relief of bronchial congestion. It worked like a charm every time, so my mom never had to give us any pharmaceutical drugs to relieve even the most wicked of infections (thanks, mom!).
We call it "il pacco di lino", which literally translates from Italian as "the flax pack". Here's how to make it.
Flax Seed Chest Pack
What you'll need:
organic whole flax seeds (brown or golden)
3/4 to 1 cup filtered water
1 clean linen cloth (at least 30 cm x 30 cm, but larger is better)
1 small sauce pan
1 clean towel (organic cotton is best)
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine filtered water and whole (not ground or sprouted) flax seeds.
2. Slowly bring the contents to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to make sure the flax mucilage fibre doesn't stick to the pot.
3. As soon as all the seeds are warm and the mucilage is thick, remove the saucepan from the heat. Let it cool slightly.
4. Pour all contents into the centre of a clean linen cloth. Use one that is at least 30 cm x 30 cm (but ideally larger) so you can fold it multiple times. Fold the sides over the mass of seeds and mucilage, adding multiple layers of cloth over the seeds. Keep at least one side of the pack that has few layers so that the mucilage can seep through the weave and onto our skin.
5. Lie down on your back under blankets and then place the linen pack directly on the skin of your chest. If the seeds and linen packet are too hot, avoid scalding your skin. Place the linen packet on an organic cotton cloth or thin organic cotton towel and then place it on your skin. Make sure that the skin of your chest feels the heat but isn't burned. Cover your chest, with linen cloth applied, with the blankets.
6. As the flax pack begins to cool, remove the layers of cloth that separate the packet and your skin. Eventually, the linen cloth should be placed directly on your skin so the heat and mucilage permeate your chest.
7. Repeat as many times as necessary. Usually, you can warm the flax seeds at least 3 or 4 times before discarding them. For added immune stimulating, and infection fighting power, add 1 or 2 drops of an antiseptic essential oil such as eucalyptus, lavender, clove, chamomile or cinnamon. The aromatherapy will do wonders for relieving the congestion in your lungs and sinuses while also soothing the tension in your head. Essential oils are also anti-microbial; therefore they add more pathogen-fighting power to this flax seed chest pack treatment.
Flax seed chest packs are excellent for relieving wet, mucousy lung congestion and also helps moisten lungs made sore from a dry, hacking cough. You can use them at the first sign of infection and they're also effective for deeply seated, stubborn pulmonary pathologies. You'll just have to repeat the procedure more than once if you're very ill.
Flax seed chest packs work by literally drawing out the infection, inflammatory cytokines, and cell waste from the lungs, and some studies suggest that certain compounds in the seeds could have immunologically supporting compounds as well. There are good reasons that flax seeds have been used medicinally across South Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, and Europe for millenia.
Flax seed chest packs alone may not relieve extremely severe infections, so remember to also support your healing by staying well hydrated and well rested, eating whole nourishing foods, and avoiding all processed foods and refined sugars. Also use other immune-boosting remedies such as those Dr. Karol, MD suggests in this blog.
It's the vitarock seed week! I'll be writing a series on seeds: chia the first day and flax (part 1) yesterday, followed by flax (part 2) today, and then flax (part 3! indeed!), hemp, and pumpkin seeds!