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How to Make Whole Flaxseed Oil (Mucilage) for Lung Issues

Butterfly embraced herbs and such in 2004 when her husband contracted West Nile Virus and nearly died. Doctors failed; herbs didn't.

Flaxseed oil helped my husband recover from West Nile Virus after many months of other treatments and medications failed.

Flaxseed oil helped my husband recover from West Nile Virus after many months of other treatments and medications failed.

Our Story

In 2005, my husband contracted West Nile virus. So did several of our family friends. But whereas some of them recovered without noticeable muscle tremors, lung problems, or noticeable residual viral infection(s) and weakened immune systems, my husband was completely out of work for 14 months.

His hands shook, his vision blurred, and he could hardly breathe. He fought high levels of pain in his lungs and elsewhere, continuously. Doctors could do almost nothing for him and admitted this. The most helpful thing they did was point him to eucalyptus oil, which we rubbed on his chest. They also provided him with several "helps" which we did research on and discovered were as good as poison . . . a particular nasal spray among them.

Finally, after months of existing on beans and the foodstuffs we had stored up in our home (the way we've always done things, as did our parents before us), and watching my husband's hair turn greyer and his eyes get dull from feelings of total failure as a husband, I decided to take matters into my own hands. He was beginning to show pre-stroke symptoms, as well.

I knew that onion poultices were often used for respiratory ills in years past and I started there. The poultices helped, but my husband still struggled to draw breath within hours of stopping the treatments.

Then a friend told me about homemade boiled flaxseed "oil" (actually mucilage). An acquaintance of hers used it daily for a variety of ailments and had taught her to make it. She had used it for her family to ward off coughs, sinus problems, and joint pain, among other things. I decided that even if the boiled flaxseed oil didn't help my husband, it couldn't hurt him.

Accordingly, I bought a bag of whole golden flax seeds, and boiled a small handful with water, to produce the mucilage. My husband hated the texture (slimy), but drank some anyway—as soon as it was cool enough—and felt good enough to do some work around the house within two days. For the past year, he had barely been able to get around, let alone do anything.

For several days he drank some of the oil, and within a week, his lung capacity had doubled. He still had lung scarring, which he might always have, but he was able to work again and has done so ever since. It is true that eight-hour days are long for him, and he rarely works more than six hours at a stretch, but his work (construction) is physically demanding, and the point is that he can support his family again. The flax oil gave him back his ability to live and work like an honorable man, and he can once again enjoy life.

This small palmful is about the amount of flax seeds you need to make at least a pint of "oil."

This small palmful is about the amount of flax seeds you need to make at least a pint of "oil."

A Recipe for Homemade Boiled Flaxseed "Oil"

You will need:

  • Whole flax seeds, either brown or golden
  • Drinking water
  • A saucepan
  • A jar to keep the oil in, preferably glass


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and add 1-2 tablespoons of whole flax seeds. Decrease heat to medium-low, and boil, uncovered, for 8 minutes, or until the water begins to thicken, appears somewhat glossy and has streaks that resemble egg-white.

Set aside to cool, then pour into a jar, and store in the refrigerator. Use within 10 days as, like with all good oils, it will turn rancid.

Note: Be sure to boil the flax mucilage at a low temperature or it will foam up over the pan and make a mess of your stove!

A Flaxseed Oil and Onion Poultice

In a book called Giants in the Earth, I came across a more complicated flax oil combination used in a poultice for a man with a terrible cough. Because I have not obtained permission to quote from the book, I will describe the elements of this poultice, minus the religious overtones given in the book.

The poultice included:

  • 4 large onions, chopped fine
  • "Vile smelling stuff" from a bottle, poured over the onions, then boiled in a kettle a while

This "vile smellings stuff," from a later description in the book, must have included boiled flaxseed mucilage (called linseed oil in the book), fresh milk, and some flour.

The above mixture was made into thick poultices, to be placed on the chest and back for 12 hours, and kept warm with heated cloths placed over them.

Note: I have never used this particular poultice, but it makes good sense to combine onions and flax mucilage this way.

Types of Linseed and Flaxseed Oils and Mucilages

You should be aware that there are different varieties of oils derived from flax seeds, and that not all of them are edible. The type of linseed oil which is sometimes an ingredient in paint is poisonous to consume, as it undergoes a chemical process which allows it to dry.

Furthermore, the variety of flaxseed oil which is sometimes sold in supermarkets will not necessarily help your lungs, though it can be healthy for you in other ways. The reason is simple, and, while I cannot explain it in scientific terms, I can tell you what it is:

I suspect the oil sold in stores is squashed out of the seeds, instead of being boiled out. The homemade boiled mucilage has the ability to dissolve phlegm and other "gunky" matter, making it easy to clear from the body. The "squashed" oil lacks this ability.

Even so, when you're just starting, take the health of your whole body into consideration. Especially if you have a sensitive stomach or bowels, consider trying only a small amount—say, a teaspoon the first time, then wait a day or two to see how it works for you. Some people have so much built-up mucous that the mucilage goes into overdrive trying to clear it out, and actually makes them feel sick at first. So go easy, and try building up to larger amounts.

Lastly, an elderly acquaintance told me he had used boiled sunflower seeds the same way we were using flax seeds. I did not ask him what variety of seed he had used. I suspect it was a common black oil seed - the type which is grown abundantly in this region, but which is not very palatable to anything besides birds and squirrels.

Flax seeds' wide array of nutrients means they're good for improving your health in many areas!

Flax seeds' wide array of nutrients means they're good for improving your health in many areas!

Another Success Story

Recently my husband gave some homemade boiled flax seed mucilage to a friend who has struggled for years with emphysema. This friend nearly always has a smile, but will tell you straight-out that he'd just as soon be dead as alive. He has no quality of life. Within a week, he reported that he felt the best he had in years. He's bought himself some whole flax seeds and keeps smiling broader than ever.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: How much whole flaxseed oil should a person take at a time and how often?

Answer: That will depend on both how & why you are taking flax mucilage. As a general rule, 1 tablespoon once a day is enough to help. However, if you have allergies (even hay fever), this may push your system into overdrive, and make you try to clear out too fast...which can make you feel sick and uncomfortable. I knew one lady who couldn't take more than 1/4 teaspoon a day for the first several weeks, because it acted too intensely. Conversely, I knew another woman who believed the mucilage helped her fight cancer, and also with heart problems, and she drank about 2 cups a day. Start small and use common sense.

© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen

Leave Your Own Success Story Here, Questions, or Remarks. Here's to Your Health!

Ivor D'Souza on April 21, 2018:

I use ground flax seed powder in my daily porridge. For almost 40 years I have used it to extract pus from wounds and extract pimples. A wet paste of flax seeds on an infected wound works wonders in 2-3 days. The pain goes away and all the pus comes out. Pimples come out without any pain.

Skeetor on April 14, 2018:

Thanks for posting this. I was just looking for flax mucilage to use for spinning some flax. I saw a video that said it was better than using plain water.

I had no idea that it was good for the lungs! I have sinus congestion and allergy things going on with my breathing...I wonder if this will help. I am going to give it a try

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on January 28, 2018:

If the gel is super thick, use a table knife to pinch or cut a glop so it will come away from the rest.

Also, any ingredients in the drink can be adjusted to personal taste. In this case, some is often better than none. :-)

Millie2018 on January 25, 2018:

How do you get the gel out of the jar? Also I tried the drink, to much cayenne for me.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on January 22, 2018:

Thanks, Anja! It makes sense that when we stop putting trash in, things work better.

Anja on January 16, 2018:

Came upon an article by a Dr. Johanna Budwig, who was a student of a Dr. Otto Warburg, both from Germany. They advocated decades ago to use flax seed oil, and Quark [a fresh cheese native to Germany] and all organic vegetables. Check out the article - Dr. Budwig says her diet has cured cancer of various kinds many years before anyone else spoke or wrote about alternative ways to cure cancer. Seems a lot of people have used her knowledge to create alternative cancer treatments. She especially recommended flax seed oil and natural foods/nutrition. Check it out!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on June 02, 2017:

Bene, I have been told this, but have not liked the results as well. To each his own. Perhaps other readers will like to compare methods. As with many things, perhaps atmosphere affects the outcome, and different methods work differently. After all, I am all for preserving nutrients. :-)

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on June 02, 2017:

Vanessa, since I am talking here about mucilage, not actually oil from the seeds, I don't think we can compare. They both have their own benefits.

Bene on June 01, 2017:

If you soak the flax seeds over night you will produce the same mucilage but retain more of the nutrients.

Vanessa Johnson on March 09, 2017:

Which is best homemade flaxseed oil or store bought.

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Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on September 14, 2016:

Jon, the boiling method is more reliable for me, but the soaking method probably leaves more nutrients intact. You may drink the seeds if you wish, or add them to other foods (pancakes, cereals, etc.) if you find them difficult to chew well. Also, I can't say I've kept up on the research concerning flax seeds, but I can tell you I have seen certain types of cancer and tumors overcome through the use of flaxseed mucilage, both in humans and animals (especially cats). The Vitamin E and other nutrients involved are definitely healing and anti-inflammatory.

JON on September 11, 2016:

Hi,As one of the comments i have read,is boiled good or soaked overnight in water?if i drink it does it includ the seed or can i drink it like a taste like oatmeal for me.Is it also anti-inflammatory in the sense that drinking flaxseeds improves respiratory but other chronic illnesses as well?

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on August 10, 2016:

Alexxander, you're welcome! I hope they both helped.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on January 23, 2015:


I am so sorry I cannot give you advice on this. I do not know enough about the research concerning flax oil and joint pain. I do know any good quality, cold-pressed or minimally processed (usually raw) oil can help joints. Consider cold-pressed or expeller-pressed coconut oil, for instance, which has amazing health benefits.

If you are concerned about your joints and do not wish to go thru surgery, also consider the Detox+ mixture sold at:

run by Shoshanna Easling. Their products are high-quality, reasonably priced, and reliable. I take the Detox+ mixture on a daily basis, and have noticed a slow but steady improvement of all the joints in my body, among other benefits.

Radhika on December 25, 2014:

thank u so much for sharing it. I just heard that flax seed oil is good for joint pain and if you consume it on daily basis, you do not need to do knee replacement also. Is that true? B'coz doctor told me to do knee replacement now! And i dnt want to do it! Plz guide me!

Thanx & regards!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on January 30, 2014:


Excellent idea, adding herbs and spices to the gel! I certainly hope your cough stays away now!

jb on January 02, 2014:

I have had a cough for months only to find out all of my banana green smoothies was to blame. I've been making flax seed gel (using this method) for years - never thought to drink it. I added 1/2 tsp. ceylon cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne and 1/2 tsp. ginger and 2 tbsp. of honey to the gel/oil and blended it, then drank it like a tea. It helped with getting the consistency down and these are also mucus busting/lung soothing herbs/ingred. Thanks for posting this! It has helped me tremendously!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on December 23, 2013:

Good plan, Mimi! Fresh is best. If you do make a big batch, tho, just put leftovers in a glass jar with a tight-sealing lid.

mimi on December 22, 2013:

i also do this... actualy its my dad who has always boiled flaxseed and drink it!! we dont keep it for days though... we simply boil it, let it cool, let it become egg whites type a bit and then drink it along with the flaxseeds!!

Alexandria Slot on July 24, 2013:

[quote]8192 characters left.[/quote]

You mentioned it adequately...

You said it nicely.!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on November 29, 2012:

Kanchana, of course you can try adjusting the boiling time. I want my mucilage ("oil") fairly thick, but it won't hurt your product not to boil it as long. In fact, some people prefer just to soak the whole flax seeds in room temperature water, overnight, and then use the mixture. I don't like this method, as it tends to go rancid more quickly, and I find the results unreliable. But you can try it, if you like, or only boil the seeds a few minutes. The idea is to draw the properties of the flax seeds into the water.

Kanchana on November 25, 2012:

Im trying to make flaxseed oil for a science experiment and I have tried doing so but each time it would come out too thick. I need the consistency of oil, do you have any tips? As in if I should adjust the boiling time etc.

Alexxander on September 05, 2012:

Thank you for sharing both the recipe and the story.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on June 07, 2012:

See my reply to "Faith".

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on June 07, 2012:

Yes, it should help. Also try a tea made from sage leaves (kitchen sage, not pasture sage). Just put about a teaspoon of dried leaves in a cup of hot (not boiling) water, let it steep for at least 10 minutes, and sip it slowly. You can often re-use the leaves for more than one cup of tea. Strain them out if you want, before drinking, or you can just leave them in and rink around them.

Myriad55 on April 17, 2012:

The information here is astounding. I have started using the flax seed oil and an pursuing the chia seed combination as well. I would like to know if the flax oil will also help with allergy (seasonal) related sinus issues. My daughter suffers horribly with sinus issues. Awaiting your reply.

Faith on April 16, 2012:

I have decided to try using this to help with various issues. My question is this, if this helps with mucous, would it also help with sinus issues such as seasonal allergies?

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on March 29, 2012:

Sounds right to me. :)

Darko on February 28, 2012:

Please, j need explanation: two cups of water is 400 ml. or less. And that, with 2 tablespoons of flax seeds to be used in ten days? It's about 40 ml per day? That's correct?

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on January 18, 2012:

That's great to know! I don't have any chia seed, but I may have to try it.

Dennis Pace on January 12, 2012:

Great information. Chia seed in water gets even better results. Chia seed is digested without boiling or grinding. Simply put, eating chia and flax seed would cure many health problems.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on December 29, 2011:

Trish, it is a miracle seed, isn't it? I often use the seedy portion of the drink in baked goods - they give cookies and breads a pleasant crunch.

Thank God your stomach problems had a solution, eh?

Trish on December 08, 2011:

I recently had stomach problems that lasted for about 6 weeks. I finally took a boiled flax seed drink to stimulate and thin the bile coming from my gall bladder. Very soothing drink. I also at eh seeds for the fiber. It is a miracle seed.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on December 08, 2011:

Alin, thank you so much for the tip. I have tried doing the gel/mucilage this way, and was not so satisfied with the results. Perhaps atmospheric conditions have something to do with it? [shrug]

Anyway, I agree that boiling is detimental to many nutrients, so if this can be made without destroying any of the goodness, so much the better!

Alin on November 28, 2011:

Hey, just wanted to add that you don't need to boil it. Just add three table spoons of flax seed in one glass of water and let it sit for the night. In the morning you will have the same mucilage/gel/egg whites consistency only x times more nutritive since the active substances haven't been destroyed through the heating.

I've been drinking this every morning for a long time. Somedays I make the equivalent of 4 glasses of gel and drink them all at once. It's great

And if you find that you need it thicker, next time you just add more flax seeds or make it with less water..

Just wanted to share what my experience has been because I really do believe that boiling the seeds destroys a lot of stuff :)

Lots of love everyone

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on June 14, 2011:

Sandrshe, I do leave the seeds in the mucilage ("oil"), and drink it or use it just like it comes out of the saucepan. However, you could just as well strain out the seeds, if you wish.

I use however much I feel I need. Some days, I don't take any (out of neglect, mostly), and other days, I drink several tablespoons. If I have been in dusty or smoky conditions (common, in my line of work), or am dealing with congestion for any reason, I use quite a bit.

Just like I mention in the article, though, take it easy at first, until you know how your body responds. I would recommend starting with a teaspoon or less, until you know for sure that you're not prone to an allergy or other reaction.

You're welcome to try using the mucilage/"oil" for salad dressing, but be aware that it goes rancid very quickly (in as little as two days), and is the consistency of egg whites. You might try cutting it with vinegar, of course. Let me know, if you would, how the salad dressing works for you.

sandrshe on June 12, 2011:

Hi, so you leave the seeds in there and take like that or do you remove the seeds? Also, how much do you use a day?

I plan on using to make salad dressing, but would love to use for medicinal purposes too.


Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on June 03, 2011:

Nameni, you are absolutely correct. Forgive me for my wording error. I was merely calling it what the person who taught me to make it called it, without thinking much about that.

Nameni on June 02, 2011:

Hi, I use this remedy too, but wanted to say, what you have in the pan is not the oil, but the mucilaginous part of the flaxseed; mucilage is a known expectorant, whether from flaxseed, fenugreek, or marshmallow root, or plantain leaves.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on March 25, 2011:


No objection whatever to your linking! I'm super short on time just now, but I'll try to look over your hubs in detail, and link back to whatever seems relavant.


RTalloni on March 23, 2011:

I've read about using flax for congestion but I think this is more detailed. I would like to link it to my flax hubs. Please let me know if you have any objection. Thanks for the info!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on March 02, 2011:

Angie, I usually do take it straight. But if this does not appeal to you, you can mix it with mashed potatoes, put it in shakes, or use it as part of the liquid in baked goods. I've never determined for sure whether it helps the lungs as much once it's gone into quick breads and other baked goods - but I'm sure every little bit helps. Use your imagination - it has a texture very similar to egg whites.

Angie on February 25, 2011:

Do you take the flax oil that you boiled, straight? Or do you mix it with something?

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on January 26, 2011:

John, I think how you should process the seeds depends on the results you are after. For instance, if I were strictly interested in the many nutritional benefits of flax seeds, I would use them whole - unground, unboiled, unmessed with. Another good option would be to sprout them. My reasoning comes from the fact that most plants provide the best nutrition when they are in a living form. Another way of saying this is, if you want to be healthy, eat something every day that, if you planted it, it would grow.

However, since I am largely after the gunk-defying effects of flax for my respiratory system, I boil the oil from out of the flax seeds.

I have tried the cold-expel method, and it works slightly...but not nearly as well as boiling. By the time much oil is expelled, you run the risk of having a rancid product. In my experience, a short period of time (10 hours) just doesn't do it. But nothing says you can't try your own method. Let me know if it works for you.

Lastly, I don't wish to leave the impression that the oil gotten in boiling will be exactly like what you buy in the store. It probably won't. But it will be useful.

John on January 23, 2011:


wow, is this the same process to make Flaxseed oil?

Id love to have homemade flaxseed oil!

I always eat the seeds for their benefits, will soon extract the oil!

about keeping the oil omegas and health benefits, as far as I know, using cold-press to extract the oil, is the way to go to keep safe all the goodies,

and I guess with your method ButterflyWings, we can have warm water, add the crushed seeds in it, and leave it in the refrigerator for 10 hours or so. what do you think ButterflyWings?

well I try tonight :)

Thanks alot for the inspiring!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on October 16, 2010:

Minnetonka Twin, I am thankful that this is a help to you. May you heal well and completely.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on October 15, 2010:

Wow, this is an incredible home remedy and I am so appreciative that you shared it with us. I am a lung cancer survivor of almost seven years. I get pneumonia and other respiratory problems now. I will definitely try this. Thanks again so very much:)

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on April 29, 2010:

Laila, I'm sorry, I cannot answer most of your questions. I have looked some and have failed to find a conclusive nutritional profile for the homemade boiled flax seed oil.

Many things are harmful to take internally...for particular people, at least. Use common sense and get to know your own body and its responses to things. If you know how to muscle test, that might be the best option for finding out whether flax oil or anything else is going to help you, or hinder you. I tend to take a cautious approach to things I don't know about, and can't seem to test for - if God made it and it's found in an obvious food source, it's probably OK in sensible quantities, used in a diet including a wide array of other foods. If man concocted it, I'm leery until I have proof that it's good.

That seems to me like a good idea to blend the seeds into the water at the last. I don't have a blender or anything similar, so usually just crunch the seeds down, or pour out the seedy part into bread or something else where they act like nuts. I'm sure some of the goodness is missed this way, but not all of it.

Laila on April 26, 2010:

Does this boiled oil keep the omega-3 and other benefits of flaxseeds or is it altered by the high temperature? I read here and here that it's harmful to take it internally (even the homemade version)

also do you have any resources concerning the nutritional facts of this beverage?

I do the same like you but after I boil it, I blend the seeds with the water so I get out most of their benefit into the water, then I drain the shells away

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on April 11, 2010:

Sunshine, I too hope most sincerely that this oil helps your husband. My prayers are with you.

Sunshine on April 05, 2010:

I was referred to your site by a friend. This info is wonderful! Thank you for sharing the recipe ButterflyWings. I'm boiling it right now for my husband who has emphysema. I hope this works for him.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on November 16, 2009:

Izzytellsall, I'm glad to be of service, and you're welcome!

izzytellsall on November 14, 2009:

This was really intriguing--I've been using flax lately and had no idea that boiling it could be helpful for lung health. Thank you!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on October 08, 2009:

Miss Markayla, I believe that the boughten supplements have their place, and are doubtless healthy for you, as far as the omega fatty acids and whatnot are concerned. However, if you want the full lung benefits, don't rely on the boughten supplements; they probably won't deliver.

The reason: Their composition is probably different, and they are processed differently than the homemade oil. Expecting them to perform the same would be like calling tortillas and baking powder biscuits the same - they have the same ingredients, but are not used the same, and don't perform the same.

I enjoyed your visit, thanks for stopping by. Here's to your health!

Miss Markayla on October 08, 2009:

I was glad to get to read this, I just started taking flax seed supplements. I know that homemade is always the best, but do you think that the supplements sold in the stores is good too? I read about all of the good benefits that it has, but I know that the vitamins and minerals that you buy in a bottle are not as good as the "real thing." Just wondered your take on this.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from Ovid on September 19, 2009:

You are welcome, Ivorwen.

Keep your family healthy! That's one of the best gifts you can give them.

Ivorwen from Hither and Yonder on September 18, 2009:

I love the effects of boiled flax seed oil -- think I'll make some to go with supper tonight.

Thanks for the wonderful testimonial, ButterflyWings. :)