Linseed has a long history of medicinal use, its main effects being as a laxative and expectorant that soothes irritated tissues, controls coughing and relieves pain[238]. The seed, or the oil from the seed are normally used[238]. The seed is analgesic, demulcent, emollient, laxative, pectoral and resolvent[4, 9, 21, 46, 165, 218, 240]. The crushed seed makes a very useful poultice in the treatment of ulceration, abscesses and deep-seated inflammations[4, 244]. An infusion of the seed contains a good deal of mucilage and is a valuable domestic remedy for coughs, colds and inflammation of the urinary organs[4]. If the seed is bruised and then eaten straight away, it will swell considerably in the digestive tract and stimulate peristalsis[9] and so is used in the treatment of chronic constipation[238]. The oil in the seed contains 4% L-glutamic acid, which is used to treat mental deficiencies in adults[218]. It also has soothing and lubricating properties, and is used in medicines to soothe tonsillitis, sore throats, coughs, colds, constipation, gravel and stones[4, 244]. When mixed with an equal quantity of lime water it is used to treat burns and scalds[244]. The bark and the leaves are used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[240]. The flowers are cardiotonic and nervine[240]. The plant has a long history of folk use in the treatment of cancer[218]. It has been found to contain various anticancer agents[218]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Linum usitatissimum for constipation, inflammation of the skin (see [302] for critics of commission E).