Natural Order—Linaceae. Linnean System: Class 5.
This is a pretty, as well as a useful, little plant, growing on heaths, moorlands, and sometimes in meadow and pasture fields. Its small, green, oblong leaves grow opposite to one another on a much branched stem. The sepals are acuminate and one-nerved. The plant is an annual, growing to from 2 to 10 inches high; the flowers are white, and bloom from June to September.
Medicinal Properties: Laxative, Cathartic, Demulcent.
This herb is an excellent purgative, far better than Senna in that it relaxes the lower bowels and very seldom gripes. It cleanses the stomach, and, combined with some tonic such as Gentian Root, Calumba Root, or Poplar Bark, forms one of the best family medicines it is possible to obtain for general use.
A very good medicine to cleanse the bowels and tone the digestive organs is made as follows:—
Mountain Flax ... 1 oz.
Buckbean ... 1 oz.
Meadowsweet ... 1 oz.
Lump Ginger, crushed ... ½ oz.
Simmer these ingredients in 2½ pints of water down to one quart, keeping the vessel well covered; and when cool strain. Take a wineglassful three or four times a day.
If used alone, infuse a quarter of an ounce of Mountain Flax in half a pint of boiling water, and when cool strain, and take half a teacupful every morning, fasting; or two or three times a day before meals.
Health from British Wild Herbs was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, N.A.M.H., in 1918.