Linseed (also known as flaxseed) come from the region that spans from the eastern Mediterranean to China. This seed is a rich source of omega fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3), but to access most of the oils in linseed it is better to break the whole seeds first. It is always better the break them up as and when you need them, because over time the oils will deteriorate.
Linseeds are also a good source of water soluble fibre. The broken seeds are the best form if you are taking them for fibre purposes.