Soothing flax seed tea.

flaxtea.JPGThe 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.

Next: flax tea as a beauty aid. (They don’t call it usitatissimum for nothing!)


  1. Rie142 said,

    November 2, 2007 @ 10:22 am

    This tea sounds lovely. I did have a question Do you use the seeds whole or do you crush them first?

  2. crabappleherbs said,

    November 2, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

    Thanks! I use the seeds whole. If you crushed them, you might be able to brew them as a traditional tea (rather than a decoction). But I don’t know if that would get you all the nice mucilage that the decoction does.

  3. Kiva Rose said,

    November 3, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

    Great recipe, I’ve been posting the link to the recipe and there for other people to check out.

  4. crabappleherbs said,

    November 5, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    Thanks Kiva!

  5. The Herbwife’s Kitchen » Old-fashioned flax hair gel. said,

    November 5, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

    […] Remember the flax seed tea? […]

  6. Elizabeth said,

    November 14, 2007 @ 8:06 am

    The recipe for the flax seed tea came right on time.
    I made it yesterday and it works well.
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I will also pass it on.

  7. crabappleherbs said,

    November 14, 2007 @ 10:10 am

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  8. Michelle P said,

    April 2, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    I remembered reading about his tea. My mom is very sick w/ flu so I am making this for her today. She doesn’t like to take any medications so she will be happy for a natural remedy. Thanks for the nice post!
    Michelle P

  9. crabappleherbs said,

    April 3, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

    You’re welcome! I hope your mom feels better.

  10. Marjetta said,

    May 5, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

    Good infor, do you drink the seeds also? thanks

  11. crabappleherbs said,

    May 6, 2008 @ 10:19 am

    Hi Marjetta. I usually strain out the seeds — you could try eating them, though, if you wanted to. You could bake with them, too.

  12. I. said,

    April 12, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

    I like this tea so much, i have it 2/3x’s per day…is this too much?

  13. crabappleherbs said,

    April 14, 2009 @ 9:39 am

    No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drinking lots of flax tea if it feels right. Flax is a food, after all รขโ‚ฌโ€ a food that people have been eating for a very long time now.

  14. brenda martin said,

    June 7, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

    Can I use ground flax seeds to make the tea? Thanks.

  15. joann hund said,

    July 23, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

    Can you use roasted flax seeds to make the tea or must they be raw?

  16. Tina Rodriguez said,

    December 22, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    I take prescrived medication for diabetis as well as for high blood pressure, will this tea make a diference on my prescriptions

  17. Katie said,

    September 29, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    My Dad was just telling me about some of the cures his mother (who was born in 1901) used to make for them. One of the most unpleasant he remembers is getting his sore throat painted with a Q-tip dipped in Iodine. Lots of gagging. The other remedy she used for upper respiratory problems was flax seed. She would put some cut-up lemons and whole flax seeds in a pot of water and boil it until it was a mucous consistancy. After drinking the concoction she wrapped them in blankets and let them sweat in bed all night. I’m not sure if the flax seed caused the sweating or the excessive blankets.

  18. Jamie said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

    This is a wonderful tea for gallbladder attacks, which I just had!


  19. Kirstie said,

    November 18, 2010 @ 11:26 am

    I agree with Jamie – I had a gallbladder attack a couple of weeks ago and it started to subside as soon as I started drinking the tea. It was also just very soothing.

  20. Andrea said,

    February 26, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Do I drink down the seeds with the water???

  21. Andrea said,

    February 26, 2011 @ 8:04 am

    why not drink the seeds; will they accumulate in the intestianl pockets and cause inflammation???

  22. flaxseedguy said,

    March 8, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    Do you still get all the benefits from the tea that you would normally get from flax? It seems like you may lose some by drinking this tea, but I’m sure you can still get a lot! Thanks for your tips.

  23. mimi said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    I would love to know how t make flax tea or coffee ??? please let me know

  24. K. Lambert said,

    March 23, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    Good stuff my Dr. gave me this recipe for flax tea due to gall bladder /stomach problems was in sever pain for over a month & I said I would try anything BUT the pain pills so he sent this & after a couple of cups last night was the first night I felt relief- the stabbing sharp pain is now a dull one – thank you & my Dr for this!! (he forgot to tell me how much I could drink & sometimes if you don’t know what your doing with these herbs you can get sick or sicker! God Bless FLAX!! K. C. Lambert

  25. Gina said,

    July 27, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    Thank you so much for this great recipe! I just bought a big package (about 1 pound) of flaxseed. My DH is Type II diabetic & I heard it helps diabetes. Do you know anything about this? I will definitely make this tea anyway, as I have hypo- thyroid & esophageal reflux, & hopefully it will soothe & help these conditions. Your site seems to be what I’ve been searching for as a good source for herbal medicine info & recipes, & I plan to visit often. Blessings, Gina

  26. Karlie said,

    October 25, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

    I made this last night for the first time last night while I was having a gallbladder attack and the pain decreased right away for me. I HIGHLY recommend everyone to try this recipe. I will definitely make this again when i have another pain attack at night. Also, after reading other people’s post, I might start incorporate this drink as part of my daily diet because of the fiber it provides.

  27. Sara said,

    October 27, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

    So flax is a lover in the morning and a lover at night! Thanks for your blog– it made me cry in the way only the best things can. Those seeds are expressing themselves in the boiling water as I type.

    With heart,

  28. Judy said,

    November 23, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    Can you make a bunch of the flax seed tea and keep to warm when needed.

  29. Judy said,

    November 23, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    Sorry I mean warm it up when needed.

  30. sue said,

    November 23, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    Will let you know tomorrow..I have been suffering with inflammation, mucus and coughing of a cold which when paired with asthma has been giving me a time for 4 days..I just read this post, made my tea, and am hoping for the best.If flax seed decoction does what you say, I should really be in top shape tomorrow.

  31. Zaheera said,

    April 22, 2012 @ 7:26 pm


    According to herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy flax seeds need to be soaked overnight and the first water drained to remove a gastro irritant in the outer shell of the seed before using in any recipes, including cooked cereal.

    However, for tea crushed/ground flax seeds steeped in hot water is good, normally two teaspoons to a cup of water, drinking 1/2 cup at a time and twice daily to soothe the lining of the oesophagus, stomach and intestines.

    Thanks for the post. This really is a great site.

  32. Wanda Wilson said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 7:33 am

    I used to suffer from regular bouts of bladder infection. I had to take medication that made me a little sick. So, one of my ballet teachers (I owned a school) came by to visit me once when I was ill and she brought with her a large container of distilled water and a bag of flax seed. She said, lets put a stop to this. She recommended that I sit back and relax while she made me a cup of flax seed tea and that I should continue to have 3 or 4 cups of tea each day using pure water, for as long as I had discomfort. Almost immediately, I saw a result of pain subsiding and the irritation of the bladder started to get better. Gradually, I started having less and less problems in this area. I was seeing a Urologist at that time and had been diagnosed as someone with a small opening in that area that leads from the bladder(I can’t spell the term). He said he saw no problem using the remedy. I remember this well because of the beautiful experienced ballet dancer who used home remedy such as this to continue to dance and she had overcome crippling arthritis by removing all the known bad things from her diet. I came on this site to read the recipes for flax seed tea because I just bought a fresh bag of flex seed. I have removed coffee from my morning schedule and thought I might replace the traditional morning drink with flaxseed tea. I suffer from indigestion/GERD. So I thought I would help several things with this tea.

  33. June Chappell said,

    June 28, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    Can flax seeds be used in regular food; like bacon and eggs or mashed potatos? Where would I go to find these different recipes for use with Flax seed? Thank you very much


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  35. connie said,

    December 13, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

    Terrific idea! I ground up my flaxseeds and used the Kerig to make my tea. Taste as if I popped a handful of seeds in my mouth.

  36. Amy said,

    December 28, 2012 @ 12:03 am

    My husband suffers from bleeding ulcers and gall problems. (He’s only 25!) We were told that flaxseed tea is an amazing stomach soother. My husband feels 110% better after drinking the brew! He hates taking pharmaceuticals, and wants to try natural remedies and holistic approaches to his healing.

    He also adores Flax milk, but unfortunately, it’s hard to find around my area.

    Thanks for the wonderful information!

  37. Jasmine said,

    March 20, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

    Thank so much for the flax seed tea recipe. I have been suffering from bouts of acid reflux/GERD and was recommended flax tea as a natural remedy. I could not get the recipe until I visited your website. My flax seeds are brewing merrily and I am looking forward to drinking the tea.

  38. Scotty Dinos said,

    June 9, 2013 @ 12:55 am

    In men, a bladder infection may be a symptom of an underlying disorder and is generally a cause for concern. It may indicate the presence of an obstruction that is interfering with the urinary tract. Some studies have shown that uncircumcised boys are at risk of contracting a bladder infection during their first five years of life possibly because bacteria may collect under the foreskin.,”.”

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  41. Antonino Ramos said,

    July 16, 2013 @ 3:32 am

    Can I boiled organic flax seed without grinding it? Because I have chestpain my physician said my heart is normal only little high is my blood sugar… thanks

  42. Antonino Ramos said,

    July 16, 2013 @ 3:35 am

    Can I boiled organic flax seed without grinding it?

  43. rose bennett said,

    July 31, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    Do you have to soak seeds overnite

  44. Catielle Duck said,

    September 10, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

    I have been making flaxseed tea for years. I boil a tablespoon of whole seeds (in a teaball) in 2 1/2 cups water for 5 min. and then let it steep for 10 min. I love it. But now I would like to know how to make the tea with ground flaxseeds. I found one website that said I use 1 tsp in one cup of boiling water and let steep overnight. That just sounds wrong. Can you tell me specifically how to make the tea and if you are supposed to strain it or drink the ground flaxseeds. The answer to this question is very difficult to find. Thanks so much.

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  47. flag said,

    May 29, 2014 @ 5:13 pm

    I have made flax tea for gallbladder pain and it works like a charm.
    I agree with the poster regarding soaking seeds overnight to remove the phytic acid that
    coats the seed. It is an ant inutrient.
    Now my question —
    Flax seed oil is sensitive to temperature and becomes oxidized which is also
    very unhealthy.
    So that said- does anyone know if the flax oil ends up in the mucilage created by
    making the ‘tea’ ?
    I bought sprouted ground flax off ammazon (sprouting removes that pesky phytic acid I mentioned) I keep it in the fridge to avoid degradation of the oil.
    I am wondering if just soaking that overnight and straining would give me the mucilage with all the health benefits of the flax?

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  53. anti-con said,

    March 20, 2015 @ 11:52 am

    I’m drinking a cup of your flax seed conduction right now. It’s the best recipe I’ve seen on-line. The other recipes are basically making it too thick, like a porridge. Your recipe is a great substitute for tea. I love it, and thanks for the great article.
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