What Was Flax Used for in Ancient Times?

Flax, also known as Linum usitatissimum, is a plant that has been used by humans for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region and was cultivated by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

Flax has been used for various purposes throughout history, ranging from food to clothing to medicine. Let’s take a closer look at what flax was used for in ancient times.


Flax seeds were commonly used as food in ancient times. They were added to bread or porridge to provide extra nutrients and flavor.

In fact, flax seeds were considered a staple food in some cultures due to their high nutritional value. They are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.


One of the most common uses of flax in ancient times was for clothing. The fibers from the stem of the flax plant are extremely strong and durable, making them ideal for weaving into linen fabric.

Linen made from flax fibers was popular among the wealthy because it was lightweight and breathable. It was also a symbol of status and wealth.


Flax seeds were also used for medicinal purposes in ancient times. They were believed to have healing properties and were used to treat various ailments such as constipation, coughs, and skin irritations. The oil extracted from flax seeds was also used as a natural remedy for inflammation and pain.

Other Uses

Apart from food, clothing, and medicine, flax had many other uses in ancient times. For example:

  • The oil extracted from flax seeds was used as lamp oil.
  • The fibers from the stem of the flax plant were used to make paper.
  • The seeds were used to make hair gel and to create a paste for plastering walls.


Flax has been an important plant in human history for thousands of years. It was used for food, clothing, medicine, and various other purposes.

Today, flax is still widely cultivated and used for similar purposes as it was in ancient times. Its versatility and nutritional value make it a valuable crop that will continue to be cherished by humans for many years to come.