The boy was sick this past weekend, and I was reminded about the lovely soothing properties of flax seed tea (Linum usitatissimum).
Flax is a classic demulcent. The seeds are rich in mucilage, like marshmallow or slippery elm. But flax isn’t so cooling as marshmallow or threatened in the wild like slippery elm.
Flax seed tea is amazing for soothing irritated mucous membranes. Think raw: sore throat; esophagus irritated from vomiting; “irritable bowel syndrome”; lungs irritated from coughing; kidneys and bladder irritated from passing stones.
Its neutral “temperature” makes flax tea good for all sorts of people, including those with constitutions on the cool side. It tastes especially nice with a pinch of warming cinnamon.
The way I make it, it’s really a decoction rather than a tea. Here’s what I do:
Put flax seeds in a small pot with 1 cup of water per teaspoon of seeds.
Simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half.
Drink hot. (If you let it cool, it will be the texture of raw egg white.)
You can add honey if you like, or warming spices if they’re indicated. But I like the mildly nutty taste of the plain tea.