The flax plant originated in Mesopotamia and has been known since the Stone Ages. Its benefits were widely praised by both ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, and eventually early colonists in the 17th century introduced it to Canada, the country that is currently its major producer.
Flaxseeds have an earthy nutty taste, and a hard, smooth, shiny shell. They release more nutrients to us in ground form, and are then a ridiculously high source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat which is an anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecule that helps conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and osteoporosis. Omega 3 fats also produce substances that reduce the formation of blood clots, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks or strokes. They are needed to produce flexible cell membranes to allow necessary nutrient/waste exchanges, a process especially critical to diabetics, and help protect colon cells from toxins and free radicals, reducing the risk of colon cancer. Those on a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids exhibit lower blood pressure as well. Flaxseed is high in manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, folate and vitamin B6, helps combat prostate cancer, its compounds called lignans guard against breast cancer, it relieves symptoms of menopause, and fends off dry eye syndrome (DES).