Have you ever taken linseed oil as a nutritional supplement, worn linen clothing, used linseed oil when painting with oil paints, or had real linoleum floors in your house?
If so, you've been using products of the flax plant, Linum usitatissiumum, one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans. The fibrous plant stalks have been spun into linen fabric for millennia. The fibers are naturally straight and much stronger than cotton fibers. In North American and Europe flax was the primary source for cloth and paper until the nineteenth century when cotton became predominate.
Many products made from the flax plant are due to the high oil content of the seeds. Flax seeds are small, smooth seeds that ripen in small balloon-like capsules called bolls in the fall. Once harvested the oil is pressed out and processed depending on the product being made. As a vegetable oil food-grade linseed (or flaxseed) oil is high in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (this is a different omega-3 fatty acid than those found in fish oil). Whole flaxseeds are also ground up into meal for human consumption and to make livestock feed healthier.
We use flaxseeds as filler in our flaxseed heat wraps because of their high oil content and smooth shape.
Flaxseed oil is contained within the seed even when heated and cooled for many years. When flaxseeds are heated in the microwave they retain heat for much longer than other grains, like rice, that do not have such a high oil content. Heat released from our flaxseed pillows is gentle and smooth. The small, smooth shape of flaxseeds allows them to glide fluidly within our flaxseed pillows.