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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 16, 2021.

What are other common names?

  • Linum crepitans
  • Linum humile
  • Linum usitatissimum
  • Alasi
  • Brown Flaxseed
  • Brown-Seeded Flax
  • Common Flax
  • Flax Hull
  • Flax Lignans
  • Flax Meal
  • Flax Seed
  • Flaxseed
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Golden Flax
  • Linseed
  • Linseed Flax
  • Linseed Oil
  • Lint Bells
  • Lintbells
  • Linum
  • Malsaga
  • Phytoestrogen
  • Ta Ma

What is this product used for?

Flax is used by some people as a source of fiber and as a laxative. Some people may use it to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Do not use this product if you are breast-feeding.

  • Take oral drugs 1 hour before flaxseed or 2 hours after flaxseed.

  • Be sure to take this product with plenty of water.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor that you take this product if you are scheduled for surgery or tests.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to thin your blood. These are drugs like warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, or enoxaparin (Lovenox).

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to dissolve blood clots. These are drugs like alteplase (Activase), reteplase (Retevase), or streptokinase.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to help with swelling or inflammation. These are drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Naprosyn).

  • Do not use this product if you have health problems that are sensitive to hormones. These are problems like breast cancer, prostate cancer, or endometriosis.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Bowel problems

    • Bleeding problems

    • Diabetes

    • Cancer

    • Endometriosis or fibroids

  • Keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar.

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • More stools than normal

  • Bloating

  • Increased gas

  • Heartburn

  • Itching

  • Stuffy nose

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of low blood sugar. These include hunger, dizziness, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, or sweating.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad belly pain

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Very bad hard stools

  • Bruising or bleeding that is not normal

  • Changes in menstrual periods like lots of bleeding, spotting, or bleeding between cycles

Where can I learn more?

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Last Reviewed Date


Consumer information use

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. You should not rely on this information in deciding whether or not to use, or accept your healthcare provider’s advice regarding use of, any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices. This information does not endorse any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about natural products, possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to you. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about your health and treatment options.


Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.