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Common Name: Purging Flax
Linum catharticum is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.25 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine..
Poisonous in large doses[
Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain the Caucasus and Iran.
Grassland, dunes and moors[
], most commonly on calcareous grassland[
Prefers a light well-drained moderately fertile humus-rich soil in a sunny sheltered position[
Purging flax was often used in the past as a gentle laxative, and also for the treatment of muscular rheumatism, liver complaints, jaundice and catarrhal problems[
], though it is seldom used in modern herbalism[
The whole herb is anthelmintic, diuretic, emetic and purgative[
]. It is harvested in the summer as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[
]. When used as a purgative it is generally taken with a carminative such as peppermint[
A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, piles and amenorrhoea[
Seed - sow early spring in situ.