A Review Article on Linum Usitatissimum a Life Saving Drug Now a Days

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About Author: Amarjeet Singh1, Dharmendra Kumar2, Jatin Sharma2, Dr. H. S. Lamba3
1. Subharamania Bharti College Of Science& Technology, Board of Technical Education, Delhi
Holambi Khurd, Delhi-82
2. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shobhit University
NH-58 modipuram, Meerut, U.P India
3.H.R.Institute of Pharmacy, U.P. Technical University
Morta,Ghaziabad,U.P.India

Abstract
Flax
 (also known as common flax or linseed, binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum of the family Linaceae. Its origin is uncertain,but it is regarded as indigenous to India.It is cultivated extensively as a source of fibres in Egypt,Algeria,Spain,Italy and Greece while as a source of oil in Turkey, Afghanistan and India.In Russia, it is cultivated for both oil and fibre.Flax seeds come in two basic varieties: (1) brown; and (2) yellow or golden. Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal amounts of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Linseed  contains numerous beneficial components includingalpha-linolenic acid (ALA), cyanogenic glycosides (linamarin, linustatin, neolinustin), unsaturated fatty acids (linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid), soluble flaxseed fiber mucilage (D-xylose, L-galactose, L-rhamnose, d-galacturonic acid), lignans (secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG)), monoglycerides, triglycerides, free sterols, sterol esters, hydrocarbons (protein), phenylpropane derivatives.

All these components have number of medicinal properties like antilipemic effects, Lowering the cholesterol, protecting against heart disease and controling high blood pressure,controling constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticular disorders and gallstones, treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and rosacea. More over it minimises nerve damage that causes numbness and tingling as well as other disorders, treats menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, female infertility and endometriosis,fights prostate problems, male infertility and impotence, slows antiarrhythmic effects, anticoagulant and antiplatelet effects, antidiabetic effects, antineoplastic effects, antioxidant effects, arterial compliance,cognitive effects, inflammation andweight loss effects. Because of its link to good health, it improves immune system and vision.Linseeds contain 6.5 percent moisture, 20.3 percent protein, 37.1 percent fat, 2.4 percent minerals, 4.8 percent fiber and 28.9 percent carbohydrate sof edible portion. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Its calorific value is 530. Because of these properties it is being considered as a life saving drug.

Reference ID: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1129

Introduction
Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) is one of the important species cultivated as an oil seed crop in some area of the world. Flax seed is used for oil production and also in food industries because of its nutritional merits, essential poly unsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid and rich supply of soluble dietary fiber. Flaxseed oil is used as an industrial drying  oil due to its high linolenic acid content.

Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the fertile crescent. It is known as Agasi/Akshi in Kannada, (Jawas/Javas) or (Alashi) in Marathi and (Tisi) in Hindi, in Telugu it is called (ousahalu). Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Ethiopia and ancient Egypt. In a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia, dyed flax fibers have been found that date to 30,000 BC.

One hundred grams of ground flax seed supplies about 450 kilocalories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.

Because of its link to good health, flaxseed is fast becoming a new food in many diets. Bakers and commercial food companies use flaxseed as a unique ingredient in everything from yeast breads, to bagels and cookie mixes. Not only do muffins and breads baked with flax taste great, but studies also find that these foods provide health benefits. Flaxseed adds a pleasant flavor to many basic foods, but its unique blend of goodness also packs a strong nutritious punch.

Flaxseed is rich in dietary fiber and alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fat which may protect against heart disease and cancer. Flaxseed also provides a plentiful supply of lignans - cancer blocking components, which animal studies show reduce the formation of tumors. Recent scientific reports point out that flaxseed can have a positive influence on everything from blood cholesterol levels to laxation, from cancer to diseases of the heart, and immune systems such as arthritis and lupus.  Although about 42% of flaxseed is oil, very little of that fat is saturated. More than 70% of the fat in flaxseed is of the healthy polyunsaturated type. In fact, a unique feature of the polyunsaturated fats in flaxseed is the high ratio of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fat) to linoleic (an omega-6 fat). Nutritionists consider alpha-linolenic and linoleic fatty acids as essential because the body cannot manufacture them from any other substances. That means you must eat them as part of your diet.  Another positive aspect of flaxseed is that it contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber rather than large amounts of one type of fiber. Studies show that the soluble fiber in flaxseed can lower your blood cholesterol levels while the insoluble fiber, like that in wheat bran, is helpful for regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Add flaxseed to your baked goods for a pleasant nutty taste. Flaxseed not only adds flavor, but also extra texture and good nutrition to your breads and other home-baked goodies. You can also use flaxseed as a substitute for some or all of the oil or shortening called for in a recipe. Cooks recommend a 3 to 1 substitution ratio. For example, 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed added to a recipe can replace 1 tablespoon of the butter, margarine or cooking oil. When flaxseed is used instead of oil, baked goods tend to brown more rapidly. Flaxseed mixed with water can also replace an egg in selected recipes like pancakes, muffins and cookies. Each egg in the recipe would be equivalent to 1 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Test a recipe first to determine if it meets your expectations.

MORPHOLOGICAL CHARACTER:
Flax is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20–40 mm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15–25 mm diameter, with five petals; they can also be bright red. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5–9 mm diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple pip, 4–7 mm long.

Flax seeds come in two basic varieties: (1) brown; and (2) yellow or golden. Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal amounts of short-chainomega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called solin (trade name Linola), which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omeg.a-3 FAs. Although brown flax can be consumed asreadily as yellow, and has been for thousands of years.

Brown flax seed Golden flax seed
Flax fibers are amongst the oldest fiber crops in the world. The use of flax for the production of linen goes back at least to ancient Egyptian times. Dyed flax fibers found in a cave in Dzudzuana (prehistoric Georgia) have been dated to 30,000 years ago. Flax fiber is extracted from the bast or skin of the stem of the flax plant. Flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible; bundles of fiber have the appearance of blonde hair, hence the description "flaxen". It is stronger than cotton fiber but less elastic. The best grades are used for linen fabrics such as damasks, lace and sheeting. Coarser grades are used for the manufacturing of twine and rope.

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