Linseed tea is a classic naturopathic drink that I have been making and recommending since I first trained in nutrition. It’s an incredibly soothing and hydrating drink, and as such is sometimes a lot more effective for digestive issues than simply adding linseeds/flax seeds to your breakfast. I typically recommend it for people with IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as people with various inflammatory conditions.
Linseed tea lignans
Linseed tea – or flax tea – is rich in lignans, a component of flax seeds. Lignans have been studied for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and this may be why they seem to be protective against:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cancer (and also the protection of healthy tissue during radiotherapy)
- Alzheimer’s, disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders
Flax lignans additionally have anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and may help improve the balance of the gut microbiome.
And they’re phytoestrogens, which makes them useful for perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.
Inflammation, oxidative stress and imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to pretty much all chronic illnesses and conditions, so a regular intake of lignans could be wise. Making linseed tea not only provides these lignans, but does so in a way that is beautifully hydrating.
Linseed tea recipe
This is a recipe I have slightly adapted over the years from the one I was originally taught, and makes a very satisfying brew. You can double or even triple up the recipe to make larger batches – keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then reheat as required – or have cold on hot summer days.
It doesn’t really taste of anything, but you can add herbal flavouring during the simmering stage if you like – such as cinnamon, mint, chamomile or ginger.
All you need is some golden linseeds/ flax seeds and some water. Using brown linseeds doesn’t work nearly so well.
I like to use 1.5 litres of water for every 2 tablespoons of seeds – I usually make double this:
- Bring to the boil and SWITCH OFF IMMEDIATELY
(you really don’t want to have to clean up the mess if it boils over!)
- Leave it for about 12 hours (e.g. overnight)
- Simmer very gently for 1 hour with the lid on
- Strain, then leave to cool
Now sit back and enjoy your cup of linseed tea.
Di, Y., Jones, J., Mansell, K., Whiting, S., Fowler, S., Thorpe, L., Billinsky, J., Viveky, N., Cheng, P.C., Almousa, A. and Hadjistavropoulos, T., 2017. Influence of flaxseed lignan supplementation to older adults on biochemical and functional outcome measures of inflammation. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 36(8), pp.646-653.
Dobrowolska, K. and Regulska-Ilow, B., 2021. The legitimacy of using dietary supplement diglycoside secoisolariciresinol (SDG) from flaxseed in cancer. ROCZNIKI PAŃSTWOWEGO ZAKŁADU HIGIENY, 72(1), pp.9-20.
Das, M. and Devi, K.P., 2019. A mini review on the protective effect of lignans for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. J. Nutr. Food Lipid Sci, 2019, pp.40-53.
Fadzir, U.A., Darnis, D.S., Mustafa, B.E. and Mokhtar, K.I., 2018. Linum usitatissimum as an antimicrobial agent and a potential natural healer: A review. Archives of Orofacial Science, 13(2).
Badger, R., Aho, K. and Serve, K., 2021. Short‐term exposure to synthetic flaxseed lignan LGM2605 alters gut microbiota in mice. MicrobiologyOpen, 10(2), p.e1185.