NZ Flax Herbal Recipe For Constipation And Cleansing

Natural Remedies

New Zealand Flax:  Phormium Tenax

Note:  NZ Flax is totally different and not related to the type of flax which linseed comes from.

I have just begun studying an old herbal from 1889, ‘The New Zealand Herb Doctor – A Book On The Botanic Eclectic System Of Medicine’, by James F. Neil, MD, USA.

‘It is no use denying the existence of the form of folly which despises things because they are cheap and easily got.’  Thus spake James F. Neil, MD., USA., on page 71 of his book, ‘The New Zealand Herb Doctor’.

James Neil was a graduate of the Eclectic College of Medicine and Surgery, Chicago, and also the Polyclinic Post Graduate College of New York.

James Neil’s powerfully informative book on herbal remedies was first published in Dunedin, NZ,  by Mills, Dick & Co., Printers And Lithographers, The Octagon.

The copy I have is one of 1000, reprinted in 1980 in Christchurch, NZ, by Capper Press.

New Zealand Flax: Phormium Tenax

James Neil writes in 1889 that flax ‘is becoming a valuable article of commerce, and is not now likely to be cut down and destroyed, as it was at one time.’

Over 120 years later, we can safely say that his prediction was true.  There has been a renaissance in Maori weaving, which makes predominant use of flax.  This renaissance of Maori weaving is mostly due to Rangimarie Puketapu-Hetet, who devoted much of her life to teaching and promoting the art of Maori weaving.

And so today, flax is nurtured in many groves of natural plantings around the country.

I have three flax plants in my own garden, which I keep to feed the birds, and for medicinal use.

I also like the idea of keeping flax growing, in the event where natural fibre clothing cannot be bought, that I can spin my own fibre. I  keep a spinning wheel, just in case.

The New Zealand native Tui bird is particularly fond of the nectar contained in the attractive, drooping fronds of rich yellow blossoms, and then, when the blossoms have all gone to seed, there remains a wealth of protein-rich seed for birds of many types to feed on.

If you love birds, then plant some New Zealand flax.

On page 58 of my copy of ‘The New Zealand Family Herb Doctor’ is the section on how to use flax root as a Cathartic, Aperient, Laxative medicine.

How To Make A Mild Laxative Using NZ Flax Root

James Neil’s method of using NZ flax root to make a laxative is more or less as follows:

Select your roots and wash them well.  Chop them finely and cover with water. Simmer for half an hour.

Strain when cold and sweeten if necessary.

Put into a clean dry bottle and store in the refridgerator.

Dose:  One tablespoonful to be taken once or up to three times a day as needed.

Note:  As with all constipation remedies, this herbal remedy should not be used for long periods at a time.  I would not use the remedy for longer than three days, after which, if constipation was still a problem, three days of eating only raw, grated apples should be done.  The raw apple diet is one of the best cleansing, tonic remedies to use, and it is very effective for curing constipation.

James Neil also recommends this same decoction for relief of chilblains.  Use to bathe the unbroken chilblains while the mixture is still warm.

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