Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flax and Fairy Flax

Flax /Hør =Linum usitatissimum
Fairy Flax/ Vild Hør =  Linum catharticum

Linum austriacum/Flax/Østrigsk hør
Møn 2008
(invasive plant)

Linum catharticum/Fairy Flax/Vild Hør
Svinkløv 2008

Flax is native to the temperate climates of Europe.The flowers are skye-blue and the fruit is a ball-shaped capsule. Flax has been cultivated for about 700 years for its oily seeds and linen has been produced from its fibres. It is now mostly cultivated for the oil and the seeds in Europe, North America and Asia, while the linen production was reduced when cotton came to. Linseed oil is also used in cooking and as a mixture by painters.

Flax was always a treasured plant. The Greeks soaked flax in water and called it linon. They drank it as a softening means for the intestine. Seeds soaked in water is mildly laxative and eases an irritated mucous membrane -and various flax-remedies are still used against constipation in the alimentary canal. It was also used in a compress in order to ease pain and to get rid of an abscess. Flax tea was effective against stomach pains and disorders in the urinary system.

Straying flax in front of the door was considered necessary in order to keep away the Devil and other evil spirits. It people were obsessed with sinful thoughts they had to throw flax behind their shoulder in order to get rid of these thoughts. To sow flax-seeds upon the grave prevented the dead from haunting the house. Flax seed was put into amulets against evil eyes. In ancient Egypt the mummies were swept in a fabric which contained linen beacuse it gave a good sleep.

photo 2008: grethe bachmann

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