What Are Carrier Oils? Benefits and Uses

http://www.pjtra.com/t/4-364221-173874-178443
Plant Therapy Carrier Oils

WHAT ARE CARRIER OILS?

Carrier Oils have been used since the time of ancient Greece and Rome when aromatic oils were used in massages, baths, cosmetics, and medicinal applications. In the 1950s, Marguerite Maury, the first person to use individually prescribed combinations of essential oils for the individual’s desired therapeutic benefits, began diluting essential oils in a vegetable Carrier Oil and massaging them into the skin by using a Tibetan technique that applies pressure along the spine.

“Carrier Oil” is a term generally used in the contexts of aromatherapy and cosmetic recipes for natural skin and hair care.  It refers to base oils that dilute essential oils before topical application, as the latter is much too potent to apply directly to the skin.

Despite also being referred to as vegetable oils, not all Carrier Oils are derived from vegetables; many are pressed from seeds, nuts, or kernels. Carrier Oils have also earned the moniker “fixed oils,” due to the fact that they remain fixed on the skin. This means that, unlike essential oils, they do not quickly evaporate from the skin’s surface or have the strong, natural scent of plants, which makes them ideal for controlling essential oil concentration and reducing the strength of an essential oil’s aroma without altering its therapeutic properties.

A Carrier Oil is a vital aspect of an aromatherapy massage or a natural cosmetic such as a bath oil, body oil, cream, lip balm, lotion, or other moisturizer, as it can affect the usefulness of the massage and the color, scent, therapeutic properties, and shelf life of the final product, respectively. By providing the lubrication required for a massage, the light, and non-sticky Carrier Oils effectively allow the hands to glide easily over the skin while penetrating the skin and carrying the essential oils into the body. Carrier Oils can also prevent the potential irritation, sensitization, redness, or burning that can be caused by the undiluted use of Essential Oils, Absolutes, and CO2 Extracts.

COMPOSITION OF CARRIER OILS

Each Carrier Oil is comprised of different components that demonstrate distinct characteristics, such as color, viscosity, and penetration speed while offering variable combinations of therapeutic properties; thus, they have valuable effects even when used on their own. Carrier Oils generally contain components such as fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that improve the look and feel of skin and hair by adding moisture, soothing irritation, and reducing the effects of dryness. The choice of a Carrier Oil is dependent on the desired result.

Though not all the constituents listed below apply to all Carrier Oil varieties, these are the main constituents in most varieties:

MINERALS are known to:

  • Brighten dull complexions
  • Protect against environmental stressors
  • Balance oil production while remaining gentle on sensitive skin
  • Encourage exfoliation
  • Firm and tighten skin for a smoother appearance
  • Maintain skin’s moisture level

VITAMINS are known to:

  • Maintain and repair vital skin tissue
  • Control acne
  • Reduce lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrate skin to promote a healthy glow
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Even out skin tone

STEROLINS are known to:

  • Reduce age spots
  • Repair sun damaged skin
  • Minimize the appearance of scars
  • Moisturize and soften skin and hair

OLEIC ACIDS are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACIDS are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce the chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

VITAMIN E is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant activity, which delays the appearance of the symptoms of aging such as wrinkles
  • Repair and improve the appearance of damaged tissue

LECITHIN is known to:

  • Soften and soothe the skin and hair
  • Keep dry, brittle skin and hair hydrated, thus restoring the moisture and luster
  • Increase circulation and thereby enhance the health and strength of the hair and skin

PHYTOSTEROLS are known to:

  • Boost collagen production
  • Relieve skin of sun damage
  • Promote the growth of newer, firmer skin
  • Boost immunity
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and other unwanted blemishes

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are known to:

  • Produce and maintain the skin’s natural oil barrier
  • Hydrate skin to promote a supple, youthful appearance
  • Nourish cells and eliminate bodily toxins
  • Protect the skin by creating an antimicrobial barrier against harsh environmental elements
  • Moisturize skin to prevent the premature signs of aging
  • Reduce water loss through the skin’s surface
  • Enhance the texture and softness of skin and hair

SELENIUM is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant activity
  • Slow the appearance of wrinkles
  • Facilitate the healing of burns, wounds, and other uncomfortable skin conditions

MEDIUM-CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES are known to:

  • Eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Offer intense moisture
  • Condition the hair and eliminate dandruff
  • Boost hair growth

PALMITOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Delay the appearance of premature aging
  • Moisturize and tighten the skin
  • Promote the growth of shiny hair
  • Enhance the brightness of the complexion
  • Boost the growth of healthy-looking nails
  • Enhance skin elasticity to prevent symptoms of premature aging, such as wrinkles

EXTRACTING CARRIER OILS

Although true Carrier Oils are obtained mostly from nuts and seeds, there are a few exceptions to this –  Coconut Oil, for example, is extracted from its ‘copra,’ which is the white inner flesh, and Jojoba Oil, which is actually a liquid wax, is extracted from a shrub that has leathery leaves. To obtain oils from nuts and seeds, they undergo one of the following processes: Cold Pressing, Expeller Pressing, Oil Maceration, and Solvent Extraction.

cold_pressing


COLD PRESSING is a chemical-free process that involves placing the nuts or seeds in a horizontal press that has an ‘expeller,’ which is a rotating screw. The screw drives the nuts and seeds through a barrel-shaped hollow and compresses them until the high pressure squeezes out the oil, which seeps out through the opening, while the ‘meal,’ or the debris, remains inside the barrel. The oil is then filtered, resulting in the finished product. Due to the absence of solvent residues in Cold Pressing, the outcome is cleaner, purer oils that are higher in natural colors and scents.

Due to the friction that is created, some heat is produced during this process, despite its name; however, this heat causes little damage to the oil. The hardness of the nuts or the seeds being pressed determines the temperature of this produced heat. The harder the nuts or seeds, the higher the required pressure to extract their oils, which results in higher friction and thus higher heat.

Expeller_Pressing_01

EXPELLER PRESSING is a mechanical processing method of extraction that is similar to Cold Pressing in that it involves the use of a hydraulic press that generates heat. It is important to note that all Cold Pressed Oils are Expeller Pressed, but that all Expeller Pressed oils are not unavoidably Cold Pressed. Oils that have undergone only Expeller Pressing have not been processed to maintain low heat levels and this can potentially damage an oil’s delicate nutrients. If the temperature rises above 120 ᵒC (250 ᵒF) it is no longer considered to be Cold Pressed and is rather called Expeller Pressed.

Expeller Pressing is more commonly identified by the abbreviation RDB, which stands for “Refined, Deodorized, and Bleached. Expeller Pressed oils are typically RDB, which stands for “Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized.” This refinement process helps to remove impurities, improve the color or texture, or stabilize the shelf life, making these oils suitable and economical for use as cosmetic bases.

Refining involves introducing the oil to a weak base solution to turn the free fatty acids into soap. It is centrifuged and washed with water until the pure oil remains.

Bleaching involves removing or improving the oil’s color and clarity by passing it through an earth or clay and filtering the oil. Deodorizing removes unpleasant or strong odors by vaporizing the oil and vacuuming its volatile aromatic substances.

Another refinement process is Winterization, which involves cooling a Carrier Oil and filtering it to remove the solid crystallized portions in order to achieve a lighter, clearer oil.

OIL MACERATION is used for botanicals that do not hold a sufficient amount of oil to be obtained through the pressing methods. One of the advantages of this method is that the resulting oils retain the pleasant fragrances of the botanical matter used, and these scents can be imparted to skincare products.

A Macerated Oil is a vegetable oil that is used in the same manner as a solvent or a base oil in order to extract the fat-soluble properties of other botanical materials and become infused with their therapeutic properties. For this reason, a Macerated Oil is sometimes referred to as an Infused Oil. The most commonly used base oils are Olive or Sunflower Oils.

When infusing herbs, dried botanicals are used in order to prevent the risk of microbiological infection from wet botanicals. First, the plant material is bruised and soaked in the base oil for a set extent of time. Sometimes low heat is applied to the base oil to facilitate infusion. The plant material is then filtered to eliminate any traces of plant matter, resulting in the final product that will contain the therapeutic properties of both the vegetable oil and the infused botanical material. The same base oil can sometimes continue to be infused several more times with additional plant material.

Refined oils are ideal for use in natural cosmetics, as oils with dark colors and strong odors can negatively impact a finished cosmetic product.


SOLVENT EXTRACTION is a method that is applied to Carrier Oils in the same way it is applied to essential oils. It involves soaking the botanical material in a solvent such as Ethanol, Petroleum Ether, Hexane, or Methanol. The cell membranes of the plant matter are ruptured and its oils are synthesized with the solvent. The solvent is then filtered out and the resulting oil is bottled. A low concentration of solvent residues can remain in the oil, thus preventing it from being 100% pure.


CARRIER OIL CONTRAINDICATIONS

Peanuts fall into the category of legumes and are, therefore, not considered to be “true” nuts; however, like true nuts, they continue to share in the potential to cause allergic reactions, regardless of their concentration. Because nut oils generally do not contain the proteinaceous part of the plant, which would cause the allergic response, they are usually not allergenic, but it is highly recommended that Peanut and nut-derived oils be avoided by those with nut allergies, as an oil’s purity cannot be guaranteed. Instead, these oils can be substituted with other hypoallergenic oils.


QUALITY OF CARRIER OILS

A high-quality Carrier Oil will be as natural and as unadulterated as possible and it will ideally be Cold Pressed. Organic Carrier Oils are most commonly perceived to be of the highest quality, but even these will eventually go rancid over time. The quality of an oil can be determined by the following factors: Aroma, Method of Extraction, Consistency, and Rate of absorptionNatural Fatty Acids, and Tocopherols, and Shelf Life, among other characteristics.

AROMA Typically, Carrier Oils are either odorless or they have mild, distinctive aromas that are faintly nutty, sweet, and/or characteristic of the nut or seed from which they are derived.

METHOD OF EXTRACTION The ideal Carrier Oil for use in natural products is a Cold Pressed (Raw), Organic, Unrefined, Extra Virgin oil. Carrier Oils that are truly “raw” will not have been heated more than 45 ᵒC (110 ᵒF). Carrier Oils that are unrefined will have been filtered to eliminate dust or small particles without compromising the oil’s nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids. Extra Virgin Carrier Oils will have only been pressed one time.

CONSISTENCY AND ABSORPTION The consistency of various Carrier Oils can be either thick or thin. The choice of either viscosity is a matter of personal preference. The intention behind using the oil will also be a determining factor in preference for consistency. For example, a light oil with fast absorption and an absence of a greasy residue would be a high-quality oil for oily skin or hair, as it would penetrate the skin quickly without clogging pores. On the other hand, a rich, deeply moisturizing oil is of better quality for treating severely dry and damaged skin or hair.

NATURAL FATTY ACIDS AND TOCOPHEROLS Carrier Oils contain beneficial and restorative fatty acids that lend the oils their nourishing and moisturizing properties. These are the constituents that offer regenerative and stimulating properties to promote the look and feel of younger, fresher, and healthier hair and skin. Tocopherols such as natural Vitamin E act as natural preservatives. Some Carrier Oils have a high nutrient content but are too rich to use on their own or their odors are too overpowering. In these situations, they can be diluted in other Carrier Oils (e.g. Richer oils can be combined with lighter, odorless oils). To customize and create the ideal Carrier Oil, several can be blended to also change or combine their therapeutic properties before application.

SHELF LIFE Carrier Oils that are high in unsaturated fatty acid content will generally have a shorter shelf life and can last up to 6 months, whereas oils with a longer shelf life can last 1-2 years. To maintain an oil’s quality and maximize its shelf life, it should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Carrier Oils with natural antioxidant properties, such as those with high Vitamin E or Lauric Acid content, have longer shelf lives, as these constituents either prevent oxidation or slow down the process. Other Carrier Oils can be combined with these anti-oxidant Carrier Oils to have their shelf lives extended.

http://www.pjtra.com/t/4-364221-173874-178443
Plant Therapy Carrier Oils

STORING CARRIER OILS

Many rules for storing essential oils also apply to storing Carrier Oils. Specifically, they should be stored in cool, dark places away from strong and direct light, especially sunlight. Although refrigeration is acceptable for most oils and although it helps preserve freshness there are some oils, such as Avocado, that should not be refrigerated, as this can negatively affect some of the oil’s significant, delicate constituents. After refrigeration, some oils may appear to be solid or cloudy, but their clarity will be restored once they return to room temperature.

Some Carrier Oils become rancid rapidly, but their shelf lives can be extended by adding 1% of Vitamin E (Natural) Oil, which acts as a preservative. This is an especially good idea when using Borage, Evening Primrose, Flaxseed, and Rose Hip Carrier Oils, among others.


TYPES OF CARRIER OILS

Carrier Oils can be categorized by their solidity: Hard and Soft

HARD OILS are solid at room temperature. To use them, they must be melted into a liquid state. Hard oils add firmness to a finished product, and without a sufficient amount of a hard oil, a product such as a soap bar will feel soft or sticky. The most popular hard oils are Palm and Coconut.

SOFT OILS are liquid at room temperature. They add nourishing and moisturizing properties to a finished product. Without a sufficient amount of a soft oil, a product such as a soap bar will be brittle and will begin to crack. The most popular soft oils are Olive, Canola, Rice bran, and Sweet Almond.

When formulating a natural product and substituting one oil for another, most hard oils can replace other hard oils and the same goes for soft oils replacing other soft oils. To choose a substitute oil, consider the texture and the contribution of the oil that is being replaced: What does it contribute to the recipe in terms of firmness, moisture, or even lather? Proceed to select a replacement oil with similar properties and this will ensure that the original recipe retains its potential in the resulting product. On the other hand, if the intention is to soften the original recipe, a hard oil can be replaced with a soft oil.


CARRIER OIL PRICES

Carrier Oil prices depend on the types of plants from which they are derived, whether the plants are endemic or exotic, their botanical names, their therapeutic values, whether they undergo organic processing, the quantity being purchased, and the supplier it is purchased from.


CARRIER OILS USES & BENEFITS

Although seemingly counterintuitive, it is necessary for essential oils to be diluted in order to work effectively, and this is why Carrier Oils are required. Applying essential oils “neat,” that is without dilution, can lead to skin sensitization or allergic reactions caused by the concentration of essential oils, rapid evaporation of the beneficial yet volatile essential oils from the skin’s surface due to the absence of an oil to help them penetrate deeper into the skin, and the inability of essential oils to be spread across a wider area of skin. While there are a few exceptions to the fact that essential oils will harm the body if applied neat, it is best to dilute them with a Carrier Oil before use, otherwise, the resulting bodily harm will make waste of the essential oil, the effort, and the money spent. Aside from enhancing skin’s absorption of essential oils, Carrier Oils offer therapeutic properties through their beneficial components, including nourishing constituents that our bodies cannot produce on their own, such as essential fatty acids.


CARRIER OILS GUIDE

OIL TYPE/MAIN CONSTITUENT BENEFITS CARRIER OILS
THIS TYPE OF OIL…

Nut Oils

IS REPUTED TO (BE)

  • Extremely emollient and soothing for sensitive, dry, inflamed and sore skin
  • Efficient in face mask treatments for acne-prone skin
  • Stimulate circulation
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Maintain skin tightness and elasticity
LOOK FOR

  • Almond
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia
  • Walnut
Seed Oils
  • Condition skin to rejuvenate complexion, especially in mature or prematurely aging skin
  • Repair damage caused by dryness
  • Soothe itching and discomfort caused by burns
  • Reduce appearance of scarring
  • Baobab
  • Black Currant
  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
Fruit Oils
  • Gentle and nourishing
  • Light in texture to moisturize without leaving a greasy residue
  • Reduce the appearance of aging skin
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Cleansing and softening
  • Exhibits anti-oxidant properties
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Grape Seed
  • Peach Kernel
  • Olive
Essential Fatty Acid Oils
  • Hydrate and soothe itchy, dry, inflamed, and acne-prone skin
  • Anti-inflammatory, Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-septic
  • Balance essential fatty acid deficiency and skin’s oil production
  • Balance hormones
  • Demonstrate reparative and astringent properties that facilitate wound healing
  • Argan
  • Babassu
  • Calendula

CARRIER OIL ABSORPTION RATES

ABSORPTION RATE FINISH ON SKIN CARRIER OILS
VERY FAST THESE OILS ARE

    • Considered to be drying, because they are quickly absorbed by skin and do not leave a greasy residue
  • High in polyunsaturated fats
LOOK FOR

  • Hazelnut (CP)
  • Rosehip (Extra Virgin, CP)
FAST
  • These light oils are quickly absorbed by skin but leave a smooth, silky finish. Skin will feel moisturized rather than greasy
  • Apricot Kernel (CP)
  • Camellia Seed (CP)
  • Grape Seed
  • Meadowfoam
  • Safflower
  • Canola
  • Fractionated Coconut
  • Mango Butter
  • Prickly Pear
AVERAGE
  • These oils leave a silky feeling on the skin
  • Hemp Seed (Unrefined, CP)
  • Jojoba (CP)
  • Argan
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Babassu
  • Raspberry Seed
  • Sesame
SLOW
  • These oils could feel gummy or waxy before they warm up to body temperature. They tend to leave skin with a slight oily residue
  • Carrot (Macerated, CP)
  • Pomegranate (Refined, CP)
  • Sea Buckthorn (CO2)
  • Black Currant Seed
  • Tamanu (Madagascar, CP)
  • Avocado (Refined, CP)
  • Castor
  • Shea Butter
  • Oat
  • Flax Seed (CP)
  • Sweet Almond (Sweet Virgin, CP)
  • Kuikui Nut (CP)
  • Olive (Extra Virgin, CP)
  • Sunflower (CP)
VERY SLOW
    • These oils may need to have gentle heat applied to them before use. They tend to feel heavy on the skin and leave a thick, oily, and moisturizing barrier on the skin but are absorbed by the skin eventually
  • Higher in saturated fats and have a longer shelf life than those that dry quickly
  • Evening Primrose (CP)
  • Neem (CP)
  • Palm (Refined, CP)
  • Borage (Unrefined, CP)
  • Coconut (Refined, CP)
  • Macadamia Nut (CP)

*These rates are general and may vary between suppliers, as the speed of absorption depends on the method of extraction.

CARRIER OIL DIFFUSERS

When diffusing essential oils in most nebulizers and electric diffusers, Carrier Oils are not required; however, they can be incorporated into reed diffusers in place of a water and alcohol base to lessen the otherwise potentially overpowering aroma of an essential oil.


WHERE TO BUY CARRIER OILS

Carrier Oils can be purchased just about anywhere – at health food stores, grocery stores, online through the website of a preferred vendor, and directly from essential oil companies. When purchasing, it is a good idea to consider the purpose of using the oil and the oil grade required for the intended purpose. Reputable companies that distribute quality Carrier Oils are highly recommended.

IN ESSENCE…

    • “Carrier Oil” is a term given to base oils that dilute essential oils before topical application, as the latter is much too potent to apply directly to the skin.
    • Despite also being referred to as vegetable oils, not all Carrier Oils are derived from vegetables; many are pressed from seeds, nuts, or kernels.
    • Carrier Oils are also referred to as “fixed oils,” due to the fact that they do not quickly evaporate from the skin’s surface and remain “fixed” on the skin.
    • A Carrier Oil is a vital aspect of an aromatherapy massage or a natural cosmetic, as it can affect the benefits and usefulness of the essential oils and the color, scent, therapeutic properties, and shelf life of the final product, respectively.
  • Each Carrier Oil is comprised of different components that exhibit distinct characteristics, such as color, viscosity, and penetration speed while offering therapeutic properties.

 

 

 

Folate Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

If you’re feeling weak or like you have low energy, folate deficiency might be to blame. Folate is one of the essential B vitamins – B9 to be exact. This water-soluble vitamin is essential for making red blood cells and keeping levels of the amino acid homocysteine low. Lack of sufficient folate is linked to a variety of problems, including anemia, memory loss, bone fractures and hearing loss. Folate is also critical for developing fetuses.

While folate is found in many foods, not everyone gets enough of it in their diets. And even if they do, not everyone can absorb it due to issues like poor digestion (specifically malabsorption disorders). Or they have a genetic problem that makes it harder to convert the dietary folate and supplemental folic acid that they do consume into a form their bodies can use.

Read on to learn more about the signs of folate deficiency, the health benefits of consuming enough folate, common causes of folate deficiency, top folate-containing whole foods and recommended doses of folic acid supplements.

Signs of Folate Deficiency

There are several common folate deficiency symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss
  • Anemia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Memory loss
  • Pale skin

Low Energy

Do you ever feel tired or weak or have unexplained fatigue? Maybe you feel like your get up and go has got up and gone away. Whatever the case, your energy reserves are low, and you’re not sure why. While there are many causes of low energy, it’s possible folate deficiency is to blame. That’s because fatigue is a common problem with anemia — and folate deficiency can cause anemia.

Hearing Loss

A 2010 study found that age-related hearing loss is associated with significantly lower levels of folate in the blood. If you’re over the age of 60 and experiencing hearing loss without a clear medical diagnosis, it could be from a folate deficiency, which is common in older people.

Anemia

Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells in your body. Because red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen and energy to the cells throughout your body, anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Without sufficient red blood cells to carry oxygen through your body, you may feel short of breath — and your heart rate may go up as it tries to get more oxygen to your cells. Your hands and feet may feel cold, and your skin may be paler than normal.

Anemia can have many different causes. Internal bleeding, heavy menstruation, serious illnesses (like cancer) and inherited genetic diseases (such as sickle cell anemia) are all factors. But anemia is more commonly caused by nutritional deficiencies, particularly low iron, low B-12 and low folate.

Shortness of Breath

If you have trouble catching your breath, or if you feel winded after even mild exertion, the cause may be a folate deficiency. That’s because anemia, an aforementioned common problem in people with folate deficiencies, can lead to shortness of breath.

Memory Loss

Cognitive impairment, including poor memory and dementia, is associated with lower levels of folate in the blood, especially in older adults that need special care. A couple of small studies have indicated that folic acid supplementation can lead to improvement in cognitive function for some patients.

Pale Skin

If your skin looks significantly paler than normal — like your blood has gone on vacation — you may have a folate deficiency. That’s because pale skin is a symptom of anemia, and anemia can be caused by folate deficiency.

If you are experiencing symptoms of folate deficiency, make sure you are getting adequate folate in your diet and consider taking a folic acid supplement to get the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for this vitamin. If your symptoms persist, see your doctor.

Folate-800x416

Folate vs. Folic Acid

You may hear people talk about folate and folic acid. So what’s the difference? While folate and folic acid are both forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9, the difference is their source. Folate is the natural form of this vitamin. You get it by eating natural foods, especially nuts, green leafy vegetables (such as kale and spinach), and other fruits and vegetables.

By contrast, folic acid, also known as folacin, is the synthetic form of vitamin B9. Since 1998, the FDA has required food producers to fortify enriched cereals and flours with folic acid. Many brands of nutritional yeast are also fortified with folic acid. Food manufacturers use synthetic folic acid rather than the natural form of this vitamin, folate because folic acid is less expensive and folate is not shelf-stable.

It is not necessary to eat fortified foods or take folic acid supplements to get enough vitamin B9. You can get enough folate through your regular diet alone, provided you eat a healthy, diverse whole-foods diet rich in fruit, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

Folate and Folic Acid Benefits

There are many health benefits to consuming sufficient folate and folic acid. Adequate amounts of this water-soluble B vitamin help your body produce new blood cells and reduce the risk of stroke in people with high blood pressure. Folic acid can also help promote bone health. During pregnancy, getting enough folate through a healthy diet — or enough folic acid through supplements and fortified foods — helps to protect your developing baby’s health and prevent certain birth defects.

Produce New Cells

Adequate folate doesn’t just enable your body to build more red blood cells; it’s also important for producing and maintaining all new cells in the body. That’s because folate is required for DNA replication (to copy DNA for new cells) — and for the DNA within each cell to be used to create new proteins.

Promotes Normal Blood Pressure

In people with high blood pressure, adequate folic acid intake may help prevent strokes. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed more than 20,000 adults with high blood pressure in China over 4.5 years. Those participants who received folic acid supplements, rather than a placebo, were less likely to have a stroke during those 4.5 years.

Keep in mind, China doesn’t require folate fortification of grains the way the U.S. does, so it’s likely that the China-based study saw a more dramatic benefit due to the lower folate levels of people in the study. But these findings may be relevant to people in the U.S. who do not consume a lot of fortified grains, either because their main source of dietary carbohydrates is corn masa (which isn’t fortified) or because they are on a gluten-free diet due to celiac or other health issues.

Helps Healthy Development of Fetus During Pregnancy

Getting enough folic acid in pregnancy is critical to protecting the developing fetus from neural tube defects (NTDs). One type of NTD is spina bifida, where the neural tube of the spine doesn’t close completely. With the more severe forms of spina bifida, part of the infant’s spine is exposed at birth, and the child will experience minor to major disabilities. Other types of NTD affect the developing fetus’s brain and can lead to stillbirth (due to the failure of the brain to develop) or part of the infant’s brain is exposed at birth.

The good news is that women can help protect their developing babies by consuming enough folic acid before and during pregnancy. According to the CDC, since mandatory folic acid fortification of cereals and flours began, the percentage of infants in the U.S. who were born with a neural tube defect has fallen by 35 percent.

While getting enough folic acid is important throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy, it’s especially critical during the early weeks, since NTDs can occur as early as three to four weeks into pregnancy. That’s why the CDC recommends that women of childbearing age consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, even when they’re not pregnant. By the time a woman finds out she’s pregnant and starts taking prenatal supplements, she may already be six weeks pregnant — or more.

At the very least, folic acid supplementation should begin at least one month before conception, to ensure that blood levels are adequate before conception.

Encourages a Healthy Heart

One marker for heart disease risk is the level of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, which can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart.

The body needs sufficient amounts of B vitamins — specifically, B6, B9 (folic acid) and B-12 — to convert homocysteine into methionine, an essential amino acid. While studies of those who already have heart disease showed no benefit from B vitamin supplementation, the Nurses’ Health Study found that woman with no history of heart disease and high levels of dietary B6 and folate had a lower risk of heart disease.

Helps Protect Your Bones

Folate deficiency can lead to higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine levels can increase the rate of bone fractures. Ensuring you get adequate folic acid through diet and supplements can bring down homocysteine levels, potentially protecting your bones.

What Causes Folate Deficiency

The most common cause of folate deficiency in the U.S. is eating too little of the foods that contain folate. But even people who are eating enough folate can still be at risk. Here are some common risk factors:

A Defect of the MTHFR Gene

Those with a common defect of the MTHFR gene have trouble converting both dietary folate and folic acid supplements into a form that can be used by the body. So even with sufficient intake, they are still deficient. People who have a genetic defect with their MTHFR gene should avoid taking folic acid supplements and instead speak with their health-care provider about methylated folate.

Poor Digestion Due to a Malabsorption Disorder

A malabsorption disorder (like celiac disease) that prevents nutrients from being adequately absorbed into the blood from the small intestines can also cause folate deficiency, even in those who consume enough dietary folate or take folic acid supplements.

Alcoholism

Alcoholics are also more at risk of folate deficiency because long-term consumption of high amounts of alcohol can cause malabsorption problems. It can also cause more folate to be excreted in the urine. Plus, the long-term impact of alcohol on the liver makes it harder for the liver to take up and store folate, and roughly half of the body’s folate is typically stored in the liver.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also lead to folate deficiency due to the increased demand for folic acid in women’s bodies during these times.

Medications

Finally, certain medications — including metformin (for diabetes treatment) and birth control pills — can cause folate deficiency.

Top Foods High in Folate

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Lentils
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Nuts
  • Whole Grains

It’s easy to get enough natural folate in your diet by eating a well-balanced, whole foods diets — especially if you eat some high-folate foods every day. It’s probably no surprise that nutrient-dense dark-green leafy vegetables, such as kale, are one of the best natural sources of folate. Just one cup of spinach contains 263 micrograms of folate — or 65 percent of the U.S. RDA. Collard greens come in a close second, with 177 micrograms or 44 percent of the U.S. RDA, for a one cup serving.

Legumes are also a great natural source of folate. Most beans contain between 200 and 300 micrograms of folate (50 percent to 75 percent of the U.S. RDA) per cup. When it comes to folate, though, lentils are the clear leaders — just one cup of lentils contains a whopping 358 micrograms of folate — or 90 percent of the U.S. RDA!

Other good sources of dietary folate include nuts, peas, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, corn, and carrots. It’s not just nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables that are high in folate. Unexpected sources of natural folate include egg yolks and organ meats, such as liver and kidney.

How Much Folic Acid Should You Take?

Life Stage RDA
Infants birth-6 months 65 mcg
Infants 7-12 months 80 mcg
1–3 years 150 mcg
4–8 years 200 mcg
9–13 years 300 mcg
Individuals 14+ 400 mcg
Pregnant women 600 mcg
Breastfeeding women 500 mcg

The U.S. RDA for folic acid is 400 micrograms for adults, 600 micrograms for pregnant women and 500 micrograms for lactating women. While most adults who eat healthy amounts of folate in their diet don’t need a supplement, the CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, to prevent birth defects, particularly spina bifida and anencephaly (where part of skull and brain are missing).

Supplementation is also recommended if you are not consuming a lot of folate-rich foods, if you have a malabsorption disorder that prevents you for adequately absorbing the folate you do eat or if you are taking medication that negatively impacts your folate stores.

Points to Remember

If you’re dealing with unexplained weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, memory loss or age-related hearing loss, it’s possible that folate deficiency is part of the problem. The best way to prevent a folic acid deficiency is to get enough folate in your diet by eating ample amounts of dark leafy greens and beans — and also nuts, citrus fruits and other foods that are high in folate.

But diet alone may not be enough. If you have a defect in your MTHFR gene, you should consider taking methylated folate, which doesn’t require conversion to be used by your body. And if you are a woman of childbearing age, you should strongly consider taking a high-quality folic acid supplement, even if you’re not trying to conceive, to ensure you have adequate levels of folate in your blood to support a healthy pregnancy.

But the benefits of folic acid supplementation go beyond ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Adequate folate can help boost your energy and decrease your risk of having a stroke. It can also help protect your bones, hearing, and memory as you age.

Skin Health: Benefits of Black Cumin Seed Oil

Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is derived from the seeds of the Nigella sativa botanical, better known as the Fennel Flower. It is also commonly known by various other names, including Black Oil, Baraka, Fitch Oil, Kalajira Oil, Kalonji Oil, and Love in a Mist, to name only a few.

For more than 3000 years, Cumin seeds and the oil that they yield have both been used in cosmetic, medicinal, and culinary applications. They were applied as herbal remedies, condiments, and treatments for aches and topical irritations, including bites, sores, inflammation, and rashes. According to historical sources, it is believed that Black Cumin Seed Oil was first used by the Assyrians of ancient Egypt, where it came to be used by renowned royal figures, such as Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who used it in their skincare routines, beautifying baths, and medicinal applications.

In India and the Middle East, Black Cumin seeds – which have a bitter and pungent flavor that can be likened to a blend of black pepper, onions, and oregano – have been dry-roasted and used as a spice and flavor agent in vegetables, pulses, bread, curries, and string cheese. In Ayurveda, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been used in a wide range of applications, mainly for its stimulating, warming, and tonic properties as well as for its uplifting effect on the mood. Traditionally, it was used to address health conditions such as anorexia, sexually-transmitted diseases, and gynecological ailments. It was also believed to be beneficial for stimulating the appetite and metabolism, easing neurological disorders, positively enhancing negative temperaments, and promoting harmony within the body and mind.

According to historical records of Greek physicians in the 1st century, they used Black Cumin Seeds to address toothaches, headaches, nasal congestion, and intestinal worms. Due to the strengthening property of Black Cumin Seed Oil, physicians like Hippocrates prescribed it to patients who experienced general illness and feebleness. Other ancient Greeks used it to stimulate the onset of menstruation and to increase milk production in women. In ‘The Book of Healing,’ author and physician Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna, accredited Black Cumin Seed with healing abilities, commending it for its invigorating, stimulating, and preventative properties. The book speaks of the seeds as agents for boosting energy and alleviating weakness, exhaustion, sadness, and feelings of discouragement. Furthermore, he endorsed the therapeutic application of Black Cumin seeds for addressing and soothing symptoms of common colds, fever, headaches, topical irritations, wounds, skin disorders, toothaches, and intestinal worms and parasites.

BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil are Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, and Linoleic Acid.

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-6) are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
  • Help slow the look of aging by sustaining skin elasticity and softness

Blackcuminseed_co_captionimage

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Black Cumin Seed Oil is reputed to effectively address fungal infections, yeast, and mold with its anti-fungal properties. Its antioxidant activity is known to promote the skin’s elimination of harmful free radicals, thus diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and other blemishes, thereby exhibiting a rejuvenating and revitalizing effect.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, Black Cumin Seed Oil delivers gentle yet profoundly nourishing moisture that is easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling smooth, hydrated, and nourished with a radiant look. Its softening quality makes it beneficial for even the most sensitive skin and its firming and regenerative properties are known to lessen the chance of scars developing from wounds. When applied to hair, Black Cumin Seed Oil is known to exhibit the same supportive effects, thus promoting the growth of stronger and smoother strands.

Used medicinally, Black Cumin Seed Oil works as an antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent that eliminates harmful topical bacteria while preventing their future growth, thus proving to stimulate a strong immune response. With anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, it soothes skin and facilitates its healing process to effectively address conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Its analgesic properties make it ideal for reducing the discomforts of rheumatism.

Black Cumin Seed Oil can also be diffused in a vaporizer and, when diffused, it is reputed to enhance and support the health of the respiratory system. It is believed to have the potency to alleviate symptoms of asthma and bronchitis. Due to its carminative property, which enhances digestion and reduces discomforts such as stomach pain, bloating, and gas, it is believed to ease gastrointestinal disorders.

 Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-Oxidant, Hydrating, Aromatic, Deodorant, Stimulant.
  • MEDICINAL: Analgesic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal, Diuretic, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-viral, Bronchodilator, Hepato-Protective, Hypotensive, Galactagogue, Emmenagogue, Reno-Protective, Immune-Enhancer, Metabolism-Booster, Anti-Histamine, Anti-Coagulant, Thermogenic, Carminative, Appetizing, Digestive, Sudorific, Febrifuge, Stimulant, Expectorant.

BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Black Cumin Seed Oil can be applied directly to the preferred areas of skin to hydrate, to soothe acne, burns, and other unwanted blemishes, and to reduce the appearance of the signs of aging, such as fine lines. Alternatively, 2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil can be added to a regular, pre-made face cream of personal preference. Applying a moisturizer infused with this oil is also known to address fungus and skin infections.

For a moisturizer that offers the added benefits of several other nutrient-rich oils, combine the following ingredients in a dark, clean 105 ml (3.5 oz.) dropper bottle: 30 ml (1 oz.) Jojoba Carrier Oil, 30 ml (1 oz.) Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, 20 ml (0.7 oz.) Borage Carrier Oil, 15 ml (0.5 oz.) Rosehip Carrier Oil, 9 ml (0.3 oz.) Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil, and 6 ml (0.02 oz.) Vitamin E Liquid. Cap the bottle and shake it gently to ensure that all the oils have mixed together thoroughly. Before applying this blend, cleanse the face and pat it dry, leaving it slightly damp to the touch. Next, warm up 6-8 drops of this elixir by rubbing this amount between the palms, then gently massage it into the face and neck using light strokes in an upward motion. Avoid applying the blend around the eye area. Due to the absence of preservatives in this formulation, it should be used within 6 months of the day it is made.

For a nourishing, protective Black Cumin Seed Oil face mask that functions as an exfoliating scrub to buff away dead skin, begin by cleansing the face with a gentle face wash and ensure that all traces of makeup have been removed. Next, mix 1 Tbsp. Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil, 3 Tbsp. Raw Organic Honey, and 3 Tbsp. Finely-ground Apricot Shell exfoliant in a small dish or bowl. Use the fingertips to apply the mask, gently smoothing 1 Tbsp. of the blend (this recipe yields approximately 7 Tbsp.) into the face and neck in a circular motion. After the mask has soaked into the skin for 10 minutes, massage it deeper into the skin while rinsing it off with warm water. Pat the skin dry, then moisturize with 1-2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil. This mask is known to purify the skin, reduce the appearance of blemishes, and smooth the look of wrinkles to promote an even complexion with a healthy glow.

For a stimulating and conditioning hair mask that is reputed to nourish hair and enhance its growth while soothing the scalp, first pour 2 Tbsp. of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil onto the palms of the hands and rub them together to warm the oil. Next, massage the entire scalp with this amount of oil, focusing particularly on the areas that are experiencing the most hair loss. Once the oil has been massaged into the entire scalp, smooth the oil down over the strands all the way to the tips. Leave the hair mask in for 30-60 minutes, after which time it can be rinsed out with a regular shampoo. This mask is known to strengthen and support scalp health, reduce hair loss, eliminate dandruff, prevent dryness, balance the scalp’s oil production, reduce frizz, protect the strands against damage, and prevent hair from losing its pigmentation, thereby slowing the graying process. This regimen can be repeated 2-3 times a week.

Used in medicinal applications, Black Cumin Seed Oil is reputed to be beneficial for a wide range of ailments and conditions, but it is best known for its ability to ease joint pain, muscle aches, bruises, and symptoms of rheumatism. For a simple yet effectively restorative massage that works to repair skin damage and reduce skin discoloration caused by bruises, gently massage 60 ml (2 oz.) of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil into affected areas, focusing particularly on bruising and uneven skin tone. This can be repeated 2-3 times a day until the soreness and inflammation have been eliminated and the color returns to normal. This is also reputed to be beneficial for eczema and acne. Furthermore, it energizes tired muscles, strengthens immunity, reduces stiffness, eases digestive complaints, promotes the expulsion of bodily toxins, and regulates menstruation as well as related complaints.

For a diffuser recipe that is known to provide relief from nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, and other cold symptoms diffuse 2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil. Its comforting scent is known to ease nervous tension and lethargy. To enhance the effects of this steam inhalation regimen, 2 drops of the oil can also be massaged onto the affected areas, such as the neck and chest, to relieve aches, clear the respiratory tract, and soothe irritation.

A GUIDE TO BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

BLACK CUMIN SEED CARRIER OIL – VIRGIN

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: Israel

Believed to:

  • Be light Amber in color
  • Exude an aroma that is characterized as slightly nutty, musty, mildly spicy, and woody
  • Be rich in Copper, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Blend well with citrus and herbaceous scents, especially when mixed into massage formulations

BLACK CUMIN SEED CARRIER OIL – REFINED

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be dark Amber in appearance
  • Exude a mild aroma that is woody, earthy, sweet, and slightly spicy
  • Be rich in Copper, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Be best suited for use in formulations that enhance skin and hair health

BLACK CUMIN SEED ORGANIC CARRIER OIL

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa L.

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: Israel

Believed to:

  • Range in color from pale Amber with a faintly greenish tinge to dark Amber
  • Exude a characteristic musty aroma with a mildly spicy nuance
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Be best suited for use in formulations requiring organic ingredients

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL

Black Cumin Seed Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, diabetes, bleeding disorders, low blood pressure, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Black Cumin Seed Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of this oil to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. No more than 10% of Black Cumin Seed Oil should be used in any blend, and it must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Black Cumin Seed Oil include contact dermatitis, irritation, itching, drowsiness, and fatigue.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this Carrier Oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the Fennel Flower.
    • Traditionally, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been used for its stimulating, warming, and tonic properties as well as for its harmonizing effect on the mood.
    • Used topically, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is reputed to hydrate, soothe, smooth, and nourish the skin, to address fungal infections and blemishes, and to promote the skin’s reparation and regeneration, thus facilitating a smoother, clearer, and brighter complexion. It is known to exhibit the same effects when applied to hair.
    • Used medicinally, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil eliminates harmful topical bacteria, stimulates a strong immune response, facilitates skin’s healing process, and eases muscular aches and joint pain.
  • When diffused, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil enhances and supports the health of the respiratory and digestive systems.

In Essence: Bergamot Oil

    • The fruit of the Bergamot tree is a cross between the Citrus limetta (a species of Citrus that can be referred to as either “Sweet Lemons” or “Sweet Limes”) and the Orange. It is slightly pear-shaped and slightly yellowish in color.
    • There are numerous theories about how the Bergamot fruit received its name, the most popular one being that it is named after the Italian city in which it was originally cultivated and sold.
    • Bergamot Essential Oil was used historically in Italian folk medicine and in Ayurvedic medicine to treat problems related to digestion, skin health, and fever to name a few ailments it could effectively relieve.
    • Adding Bergamot Oil to regular black tea resulted in the creation of the popular Earl Grey Tea.
  • The Bergamot Essential Oil that is currently produced in Calabria, Italy is considered to be of the highest quality in the international trading market.

HISTORY OF BERGAMOT OIL

Citrus bergamia, better known as Bergamot, belongs to the Rutaceae family, which is better identified by the name Citrus. This tree’s fruit is a cross between the lemon and the orange, giving the small, round fruit a slightly pear-shaped, and a yellow coloring. Some think the fruit appears to look like a mini orange. Bergamot is a popular scent in the perfumery industry, and its powerful fragrance makes it an important constituent in many perfumes in which it acts as the top note.

There are theories about how the fruit received the name Bergamot. One theory states that its name is Turkish for “the Lord’s pear,” and the other theory states that the name is derived from the Italian city of Bergamo where it was widely cultivated and first sold. The fruit is also produced in Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and South-East Asia where it has its roots. The Bergamot tree grows well in Europe, despite being a tropical plant.

Historically, Bergamot fruit juice was used by the indigenous people of Italy to treat malaria and to expel intestinal worms, while Bergamot Oil was used in Italian folk medicine as an antiseptic and to reduce fevers. When Bergamot Essential Oil was used as a flavoring in black tea, the tea became known as Earl Grey Tea. In Ayurvedic medicine, Bergamot Oil has been used to soothe acne, skin rashes, sores and sore throats, and bladder infections. It is also used to reduce fever, obesity, depression, eczema, gingivitis, flatulence, loss of appetite, and compulsive behaviors.

The current Bergamot Essential Oil production in Italy’s coastal region of Calabria makes up 80% of the world’s total production and is considered to be of the highest quality in the international trading market. Bergamot is among the most popular essential oils used today for its effectiveness, health benefits, and its wide variety of applications.

BENEFITS OF BERGAMOT OIL

The main chemical constituents of Bergamot Essential Oil are: Limonene, Linalyl Acetate, Linalool, Pinene, Bergaptene, Terpineol, Nerol, Neryl Acetate, β-Bisabolene, Geraniol, Geraniol Acetate, and Myrcene.

Limonene is believed to exhibit the following activity:

  • Antioxidant
  • Stimulant
  • Digestive
  • Detoxicant
  • Appetite suppressant

Linalyl Acetate

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Astringent
  • Analgesic
  • Hypotensor

Linalool

  • Sedative
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-inflammatory

Pinene

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-septic
  • Expectorant
  • Bronchodilator

Terpineol

  • Miticidal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal

Nerol

  • Anti-oxidant
  • Sedative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-depressant

Geraniol

  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-septic
  • Analgesic

Geraniol Acetate

  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-septic
  • Anti-viral
  • Energizing
  • Stimulant
  • Warming
  • Diuretic
  • Aphrodisiac

Myrcene

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-biotic
  • Sedative

Used in aromatherapy applications, Bergamot Essential Oil is known to help reduce anxiety and stress and thereby alleviate symptoms of depression. The oil’s α-Pinene and Limonene constituents make it uplifting, refreshing, and stimulating. Inhaling Bergamot Oil can also maintain metabolism by increasing the hormones and fluids that aid digestion and nutrient absorption. This can reduce constipation by making bowel movements more regular. The relaxing, soothing aroma of Bergamot Essential Oil is sedative and can assist with sleep disorders like insomnia by putting the user into a restful state. The citrus scent of Bergamot Oil makes it a freshening room spray for eliminating unpleasant odors. The anti-spasmodic nature of Bergamot Oil means that those who suffer from respiratory issues such as chronic coughing may find relief from the convulsions of a coughing fit. Its anti-congestive and expectorant properties clear nasal passages and promote easier breathing by loosening phlegm and mucus, thereby eliminating more of the germs and toxins that cause illness.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Bergamot Oil can disinfect the skin by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. When added to bath water or soaps, it relieves cracks on the skin and heels while also protecting skin against infections. Used in hair products, it can enhance hair’s sheen and prevent hair loss. By stimulating hormones that reduce the sensation of pain, it can relieve headaches, muscle aches, and sprains. As a cicatrizant, Bergamot Oil can balance skin’s oil production and reduce the appearance of unwanted marks and scars by evening out the skin tone. By using it in a natural deodorant, Bergamot Oil can eliminate the bacteria that causes body odor.

Used medicinally, Bergamot Essential Oil works as a febrifuge, which helps the body to recover from illness by fighting infections that cause fever. By promoting the secretion of perspiration, it reduces body temperature while cleansing the body of toxins through pores and glands. Bergamot Oil is known to have properties that make it effective for promoting the fast healing of wounds and eczema by protecting them from becoming septic and by preventing new infections from forming.

 Bergamot Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

    • COSMETIC: Stimulant, Deodorant, Tonic, Anti-bacterial, Soothing
    • ODOROUS: Stimulant, Anti-depressant, Deodorant, Anti-spasmodic, Sedative, Febrifuge, Calmative, Soothing, Analgesic, Antibiotic, Antiseptic
  • MEDICINAL: Analgesic, Stimulant, Diuretic, Anti-septic, Anti-depressant, Tonic, Anti-biotic, Anti-spasmodic, Sedative, Disinfectant, Febrifuge, Digestive, Calmative, Antibacterial, Antiviral

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY BERGAMOT OIL

The Citrus bergamia tree, or the Bergamot Tree, is an evergreen tree that was originally grown by planting seeds or cuttings. When the roots began to rot in 1862, almost all the citrus orchards in Calabria were destroyed. Bergamot then began to be cultivated by grafting Bergamot fruits or buds onto Bitter Oranges. Despite the tree being hardy, the fruit itself is the most delicate of all citrus fruits and must be protected against frost, which will damage it.

In Winter, small, white, fragrant star-shaped flowers begin to blossom on the tree. In the summer, the tree produces yellow pear-shaped fruits, which appear to be a cross between a Sweet Lime/Lemon and an Orange and are commonly used in culinary and perfumery applications. The Bergamot fruit turns yellow as it ripens, and its appearance is comparable to that of a small orange.

The tree does not produce any fruit until 3 years have passed after grafting. The tree fully matures after 12 years of age, at which time it can produce hundreds of fruits. After the tree has matured to 15 years of age, it can produce approximately 1 kilo of essential oil. Between the ages of 70-80, the tree’s productivity begins to decline and it becomes unusable.

In Italy, when the Bergamot fruits are harvested, they are hand-picked between the months of November and January when they are almost ripe, then they are cleaned before extraction occurs.

HOW IS BERGAMOT OIL EXTRACTED?

Bergamot Essential Oil is derived from the cold expression of the Bergamot fruit peel when the fruit is nearly ripe. In the past, Bergamot expression, which was also called cold-pressing, was done by hand and involved pressing the fruit peel until the essential oils were squeezed out from the cells inside the peels.

Today, a mechanical device often carries out the same process; the fruit skin is peeled and then exposed to centrifugal force, which separates the essential oils from water and fruit fragments. 100 Bergamot fruits will yield approximately 3 oz. of Bergamot Essential Oil. After cold-expression, the color of Bergamot Oil ranges from light yellow to a dark green. Its scent is a fresh, sweet, and citrusy top note with a spicy undertone and a floral nuance.

USES OF BERGAMOT OIL

The uses for Bergamot Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, sprays, and candle making.

Diluted with a carrier oil and used topically, Bergamot Oil relieves muscle aches and body pains including headaches and discomforts associated with arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties relieve redness, itching, and swelling. Due to its antiseptic and astringent activities, Bergamot Essential Oil makes an excellent addition to cosmetics that are meant to help achieve glowing and evenly toned skin. As a toner, it cleanses pores and strengthens skin tissues. Blending Bergamot Oil into shampoo and body washes and rubbing it into the scalp and body may strengthen hair, stimulate its growth, and relieve itchiness and irritation on the scalp and skin. When combined with the essential oils of Chamomile and Fennel, this blend can be massaged into the abdominal area to relieve indigestion and gas.

In aromatherapy, Bergamot acts as a natural perfume and a non-toxic air freshener that creates a relaxing atmosphere and deodorizes unpleasant scents. When diffused, its carminative properties offer relief to the digestive system. It can be added to natural homemade scented cosmetics, candles, and soaps. It is known to be beneficial for creating a feeling of being refreshed and renewed, for uplifting negative moods to prevent depression, and for relieving lethargy, nervousness, and insomnia. When Bergamot Essential Oil is blended into a moisturizer such as a face cream or lotion, it can soothe and promote the faster healing of cuts, acne, psoriasis, and chicken pox.

Bergamot_CaptionImage

For a natural yet powerful anti-microbial and anti-viral home cleaning agent, Bergamot Essential Oil can be blended with Grapefruit Essential Oil then diluted in water and shaken inside a spray bottle before being put to use as a surface cleaner. This mix will not only disinfect but also deodorize by eliminating odor-causing bacteria.

A GUIDE TO BERGAMOT OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

BERGAMOT VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Bergamot (Calabrian) Essential Oil

Citrus bergamia

Found in:

  • Italy
Believed to:

  • improve circulation
  • maintain metabolic rate
  • boost digestion
  • disinfect skin and surfaces
Bergamot (Natural Blend) Essential Oil

Bergamot

Found in:

  • Italy
Believed to:

  • uplift moods and relieve depression
  • deodorize and freshen rooms
  • promote rest and relaxation
  • reduce anxiety and stress
Bergamot – Bergaptene Free (Calabrian) Essential Oil

Citrus bergamia

Found in:

  • Italy
Believed to:

  • relieve muscle aches and body pains
  • tone and purify the skin
  • relieve redness, itching, and swelling
  • cleanse pores while strengthening skin tissues
Bergamot – Bergaptene Free (Natural Blend) Essential Oil

Bergamot

Found in:

  • Italy
Believed to:

  • deodorize
  • create a feeling of being refreshed and renewed
  • uplift negative moods
  • relieve anxiety, stress, irritability, lethargy, nervousness, and insomnia
Bergamot Organic Essential Oil

Citrus bergamia

Found in:

  • Italy
Believed to:

  • strengthen hair and stimulate its growth
  • promote the faster healing of cuts, acne, psoriasis, and chicken pox
  • be a natural perfume and air freshener
  • purify skin and surfaces

 

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BERGAMOT OIL

Bergamot Essential Oil should never be ingested due to its toxicity. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Bergamot Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women and those taking prescription drugs are especially advised not to use Bergamot Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician. Individuals with a potassium deficiency are also advised not to use this oil, as Bergamot is known to deplete potassium in the body, the consequences of which include muscle cramps and twitching. Bergamot Oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Bergamot Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying a small amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Bergamot Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Once applied topically, sun exposure should be avoided, as Bergamot Oil may sensitize the skin to UV rays. This is especially true of Bergamot Oil containing the phototoxic chemical compound Bergaptene, which can cause skin irritation when skin is exposed to sunlight. Skin irritation includes blisters, scabs, redness, and changes in skin pigmentation. Bergaptene-free Bergamot Essential Oil is relatively non-toxic and non-irritating. To prevent photosensitivity, those using Bergamot Oil for topical application should wait 72 hours before spending prolonged periods outdoors, especially in regions with hot climates.

In Essence: Clary Sage Oil

HISTORY OF CLARY SAGE OIL

Derived from the celebrated medicinal Salvia sclarea herb, which is native to Italy, Southern France, and Syria, Clary Sage Oil receives its name from the Latin word “Clarus,” meaning “clarifying” or “cleansing.” Historically, the seeds of this plant were believed to contribute to the health of the eyes and to improve vision, hence it earned a name meaning “clear eye” or “bright eye.”

Although it is largely used in the flavoring of food, beverages, and in perfumery, Clary Sage Essential Oil came to be used in natural cosmetics for its ability to soothe skin. In medicinal applications, it was known to address female hormone-related complaints, such as nervous tension and negative emotions, hence earning another nickname: “The Woman’s Oil.” Having traditionally been used to flavor Muscatel Wine, the sweetly herbaceous extract also earned the name Muscatel Oil.

BENEFITS OF CLARY SAGE OIL

The main chemical constituents of Clary Sage Bark Essential Oil are: Linalyl Acetate, Linalool, Germacrene-D, alpha-Terpineol, and Sclareol.

LINALYL ACETATE is known to be (a)n):

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Astringent
  • Analgesic
  • Hypotensive

LINALOOL is known to be (a)n):

  • Sedative
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-epileptic
  • Analgesic
  • Sedative

GERMACRENE-D is known to be (a)n):

  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-septic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Stimulant

ALPHA-TERPINEOL is known to be (a)n):

  • Sedative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibiotic
  • Antioxidant
  • Anxiolytic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal

SCLAREOL is known to be (a)n):

  • Antimicrobial
  • Effective in diminishing pain, cramps, night sweats, and hot flashes
  • Beneficial for balancing hormones

clarysage_captionimage

Its nervine and anti-inflammatory properties promote restful sleep and soothe headaches, respectively, and its uplifting qualities enhance the mood to improve self-esteem and mental strength and to stimulate libido in both men and women. Its anti-spasmodic properties help relieve the sometimes-convulsive discomforts associated with improper digestion, stomach aches, muscle cramps, coughs, and cholera. Furthermore, Clary Sage Oil decreases the symptoms of a cough and cold, effectively deodorizes unpleasant body odors, and supports the balance of hormones.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Clary Sage Essential Oil is suited to both oily and dry skin types. It exhibits a cooling property that soothes skin afflicted with inflammation and it calms rashes. Its balancing property stabilizes the production of natural oil and sebum to prevent acne breakouts. Its rich antioxidant content tones tighten and strengthen the skin and muscles while fortifying hair to reduce hair loss.

Used medicinally, Clary Sage Essential Oil works to eliminate or prevent the spread of harmful bacteria that can promote the development of fungal infections. When applied to wounds, bruises, burns, and irritations, it is known to prevent them from becoming septic, thereby facilitating the healing process. Its anti-inflammatory and stimulating properties make it beneficial for use in addressing muscle aches, joint pain, strains, and sprains. It is also valuable for enhancing circulation, which strengthens the digestive system. With carminative properties, Clary Sage Oil can prevent flatulence and facilitate the body’s elimination of gas in order to decrease the discomfort associated with bloating. When used to address physical ailments related to menstruation, Clary Sage Oil is believed to stimulate and regulate the cycle while reducing any pain, such as cramping.

Clary Sage Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

    • COSMETIC: Astringent, Deodorant, Anti-inflammatory.
    • ODOROUS: Anti-depressant, Anti-convulsant, Anti-spasmodic, Aphrodisiac, Deodorant, Digestive, Emmenagogue, Euphoric, Sedative, Warming.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-septic, Astringent, Bactericidal, Carminative, Digestive, Emmenagogue, Hypotensive, Nervine, Stomachic, Anti-inflammatory, Warming, Analgesic.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Clary Sage Essential Oil is derived from the Salvia sclarea herb.
    • Clary Sage Essential Oil has earned the nickname “The Woman’s Oil,” due to its benefits for women’s health, especially in relation to menstruation and menopause.
    •  Used in aromatherapy applications, Clary Sage Essential Oil has sedative abilities that induce feelings of relaxation, clarity, and calmness while alleviating dizziness, anxiety, and irritability. It is also known to stimulate libido in both men and women.
    • Used cosmetically or topically in general, Clary Sage Essential Oil exhibits a cooling property that soothes skin afflicted with inflammation. It calms rashes, balances the production of natural oil and sebum, and strengthens the skin and muscles.
  • Used medicinally, Clary Sage Essential Oil eliminates or prevents the spread of harmful bacteria, facilitates the healing of wounds, and addresses muscle aches, joint pain, strains, and sprains. It enhances circulation and is reputed to stimulate and regulate the menstrual cycle.

USES OF CLARY SAGE OIL

Used in aromatherapy applications, the scent of Clary Sage Essential Oil can ease stress when 2-3 drops are diffused. For a diffuser blend that is enriched with other mood-enhancing essential oils, combine 3 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil, 2 drops Orange Essential Oil, 2 drops Ginger Essential Oil, and 1 drop Bergamot Essential Oil.

Furthermore, Clary Sage Oil is known to contribute a deeper sense of concentration and spirituality, when diffused during prayer, meditation, or other devotional practices. For an enhanced state of awareness and attentiveness, 6 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil can be blended with 2 drops of either Frankincense or Orange essential oils before being added to a diffuser. Alternatively, a roll-on Meditation Perfume Blend can be made by combining 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, 2 drops Melissa Essential Oil, 2 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil, 2 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, and 2 drops Orange Essential Oil in a 5 ml roller bottle. The rest of the bottle can be filled with a Carrier Oil of personal preference. To use this blend, dab a dime-size amount onto the wrist and rub it in, then proceed with the spiritual practice.

For a blend that enhances the mood with the added benefit of easing joint pain, 3-5 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil can be diluted in a carrier oil of personal preference then added to a tub filled with warm water. This aromatic, stress-relieving soak is reputed to promote restful sleep for those suffering from insomnia. Alternatively, 3-4 drops may be diffused in a bedroom for a few minutes before going to sleep.

For an uplifting room spray that will keep negative moods at bay, pour 45 ml (1.5 oz.) Witch Hazel Distillate into a 120 ml (4 oz.) spray bottle. To this, add 15 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil, 10 drops Bergamot Essential Oil, and 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil then add 1.5 oz. distilled water. Twist the spray bottle cap back on and shake the bottle to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Spray this blend into a bedroom or any other indoor environment to enhance the mood and promote relaxation. For a refreshing, deodorizing room spray, combine ½ cup Witch Hazel Distillate, ¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel, ¼ tsp. Baking Soda, and 10 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle well before spraying it into the air.

Used in cosmetic applications, Clary Sage Essential Oil is known to encourage the growth of clearer, smoother, calmer skin. To make a moisturizer with anesthetic effects that addresses redness and inflammation while soothing sore muscles, add 1-3 drops of Clary Sage Oil to a regular face cream or body lotion before massaging it in.

For a natural face wash that is ideal for use on acne-prone or congested skin, combine 20 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil, 1 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil, 3 Tbsp. Raw Honey, 2 capsules of live probiotics, and 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar in a bowl. Using a hand blender, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients, then pour the blend into a bottle and store it in a cool place when not in use. Regular use of this astringent, anti-bacterial face wash is reputed to reduce and prevent acne breakouts.

Used in hair, Clary Sage Essential Oil is known to stimulate the growth of healthier, stronger strands while eliminating dandruff and preventing the production of excessive natural oils and sebum on the scalp. For an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial scalp massage blend that addresses the problem of dandruff, dilute 5-6 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil in 1 Tbsp. of gently heated Coconut Carrier Oil. Before showering, massage this blend into the scalp and allow it to soak for 30 minutes before washing it out with a regular shampoo.

Used in medicinal applications, Clary Sage Essential Oil is known to diminish pain, promote easier breathing, and balance the mood. For a massage blend that relieves cramps and pain, dilute 5 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil with 5 drops of Jojoba Carrier Oil and massage it into the affected areas. For a blend enriched with more pain-relieving oils, dilute a blend of 6 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil, 4 drops Angelica Root CO2 Essential Oil, 4 drops Cardamom Essential Oil, and 4 drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil in 30 ml Marula Carrier Oil. Massage this blend into the abdomen for relief from piercing pains and muscle contractions.

For an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory massage blend that facilitates the healing of wounds and soothes aching joints, dilute 6 drops of Clary Sage Oil in 30 ml (1 oz.) of Coconut Carrier Oil or Jojoba Carrier Oil, and rub the blend into the affected area or apply it to a larger area of skin in an aromatherapy massage.

For a chest rub that soothes symptoms of respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia, simply dilute 2-4 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil in 1 Tbsp. of Almond Carrier Oil. Gently massage this blend into the chest for relief from coughing, wheezing, congestion, and tightness.

A GUIDE TO CLARY SAGE OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

CLARY SAGE ESSENTIAL OIL (FRANCE), CLARY SAGE ESSENTIAL OIL (MOLDOVA), and CLARY SAGE ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL (FRANCE)

Botanical Name: Salvia sclarea L.

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam Distilled from Leaves and/or Flowers

Countries of Origin: France / Moldova

Believed to:

  • Ease stress, nervous tension, and negative moods that are often caused by hormonal imbalances
  • Have a calming effect on body and mind, which promotes relaxation
  • Have a cooling and comforting effect on the body
  • Reduce the discomforts of muscle stiffness, headaches, and back pain
  • Contribute cleansing and protective properties to wounds to facilitate healing
  • Stimulate hair growth and regulate the scalp’s production of oil and sebum while eliminating dandruff
  • Promote skin health by addressing acne, oil production, and inflammation
  • Relieve symptoms of fatigue
  • Help soothe the throat and respiratory system, especially in individuals who suffer from asthma
  • Stimulate and improve both digestion and memory
  • Have an aphrodisiac effect
  • Cleanse, detoxify, and balance the body’s systems
  • Have a warming effect
  • Promote perspiration to facilitate detoxification
  • Address the problem of water retention

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR CLARY SAGE OIL

Clary Sage Oil should never be ingested due to its toxicity. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Clary Sage Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician. Those taking prescription drugs or undergoing major surgery are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Clary Sage Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Clary Sage Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.

A potential side effect of Clary Sage Essential Oil is headaches. If used in conjunction with alcohol or narcotics, it is known to sometimes increase the intoxicating effects, and it may possibly cause insomnia or vivid dreams. Alternatively, its sedative properties may interact with and enhance the effects of sleep-related medication such as Chloral Hydrate and Hexobarbitone. Those with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, low blood pressure, heart disease or other heart-related ailments, peptic ulcers, liver damage, bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, skin disorders, or estrogen-related ailments are especially recommended to be advised. Clary Sage Oil may potentially react with certain medications, such as diabetes medication or anticoagulant medication, and may cause dyspnea.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. It is recommended that direct sunlight is avoided for up to 12 hours after using this essential oil.

In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

10 Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil

  1. Bladder benefits. Incontinence and bladder irritation are a concern for many people, especially women post-childbirth and post-menopause. Pumpkin oil strengthens the muscles that support the bladder (which can help to prevent prolapse and stress incontinence) and also soothe bladder irritation, reducing urge incontinence.
  2. Prostate performance. There is a strong body of evidence that shows that pumpkin seed oil can prevent prostate enlargement — a major health issue for men over 60. Not only that, but it has even been found to reverse enlargement in men who are already experiencing the discomfort of an enlarged prostate.
  3. Hold onto your hair. Male pattern baldness (as well as hair loss in women) is sometimes associated with overly high levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). One of the phytochemicals in pumpkin oil, beta-sitosterol, has been found to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Pumpkin oil also contains delta-7-sterol, which blocks DHT via a different mechanism. The effects of these naturally occurring chemicals have led to speculation and anecdotal evidence for pumpkin oil as a treatment for hair loss.
  4. Heal your digestive tract. The high fatty acid content of pumpkin oil can balance out excess inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, helping to soothe uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms associated with an unhealthy digestive tract. This can have a secondary impact, in that you will absorb more nutrition from your food if your GI tract is functioning properly.
  5. Make your heart happy. Want to reduce your risk of heart disease? Pumpkin seed oil can help you accomplish that goal. According to HealthandEnergyFoods.com: “Pumpkin seed oil has high levels of phytosterols which are believed to help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol) by lowering its absorption when taken with a meal containing cholesterol.”
  6. Build your bones. Vitamins A and K build strong bones and help to prevent fractures and post-menopausal bone loss.
  7. Support your liver. Since pumpkin seed oil is a great source of healthy fats and antioxidants, consuming it can help support liver health. On top of that, using it in place of certain anti-inflammatory drugs can protect your liver from unnecessary damage. William Gamonski at LifeExtension.com explains the studies that back this up: “the indomethacin-supplemented rats experienced increased levels of liver lipid peroxidation, an indicator of liver injury, whereas the pumpkin seed oil group experienced no side effects.”
  8. Protect your peepers. Perfectly Pressed pumpkin seed oil contains high levels of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect your eyes from UV and blue light damage.
  9. Nourish your brain. Pumpkin seed oil is high in essential fats, which are the primary fuel for your brain.
  10. Ease the symptoms of menopause. As Vivian Kelly at WeWomen.ca puts it: “Hot flashes and insomnia may be a thing of the past! Hurrah. Research now shows that postmenopausal women could get some relief with the use of pumpkin seed oil.” The natural phytoestrogens in pumpkin seed oil can help to lower your blood pressure and provide relief from symptoms like hot flashes, headaches and joint pain.

Pumpkin-Seed-OilDid you know that those tasty little kernels are packed with goodness?

Unfortunately, roasting them at high temperatures destroys a lot of the nutrition inside. They’re still a good source of fiber and some vitamins and minerals, but after roasting to crunchy perfection, they’re more of a snack with some healthy qualities, than a healthy food per se.

Many of the nutritious properties of the seeds are found in the oil, though, and if it’s extracted properly the nutrients won’t be damaged or eliminated.

  • Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

Tips For Healthy And Young Looking Skin.

Skin experts say that the best way to keep your skin healthy and looking young is to protect it from the sun and not smoke: and after that, taking care with how you wash, moisturize your skin and shave also help.

According to a British Association of Dermatologists survey carried out in 2008, many Britons are unaware that sun protection can keep the skin looking younger, believing instead that applying a daily moisturizer, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and having facial massages will suffice.

The Sun Awareness campaign officer at the Association, Maria Tabou, told the press at the time that such measures will have “nowhere near the anti-ageing impact of sun protection”.

Not only does exposure to UV increase a person’s risk of skin cancer, it also affects the elastin in the skin, which leads to wrinkles and sun-induced skin ageing such as leatheriness and blotchy pigmentation. Featured below are 5 tips for healthy skin..

Tip #1 for healthy skin: Sun protection

Ensure you protect your skin from the sun to maintain healthy skin

According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, a non-profit organization with an international reputation, most of the changes seen in ageing skin are actually “caused by a lifetime of sun exposure”.

To protect yourself from the sun, they advise the following three methods (with maximum protection coming from using all three).

  1. Avoid the sun during high intensity hours: the sun’s rays do the most damage between 10 am and 4 pm, so limit the time you spend outside during this period.
  2. Wear protective clothing: wear long sleeved shirts, long trousers or pants and a hat with a wide brim. Remember that tight woven fabric (eg denim) offers better protection than loosely woven fabrics like knits.
  3. Use sunscreen: go for a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) higher than 15 and apply generously about 20 minutes before you go out and then every two hours. You will need to apply more frequently if you go in the water or sweat a lot.

Tip #2 for healthy skin: Don’t smoke (and watch the alcohol)

Research shows that smoking alone ages skin. In a study published in the Archives of Dermatology in 2007, researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbour, in the US, described how they examined the upper inner arms of smokers and non-smokers aged from 22 to 91 and found that after taking into account age and other variables, the number of packs of cigarettes that the smokers smoked per day was significantly linked to skin ageing. They looked at the skin on the upper inner arms to minimize the influence of sun exposure.

Indy Rihal from the British Skin Foundation told NHS Choices that smoking reduces the skin’s natural elasticity by promoting the breakdown of collagen and also reducing the amount that is produced.

Collagen, a protein that helps skin strength, gradually degrades with age, leading to wrinkles. Smoking causes this to happen sooner and also causes the tiny blood vessels in the skin to tighten, which reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the skin cells receive, which also reduces elasticity and accelerates ageing.

The Mayo Clinic also suggest that exposure to heat from burning cigarettes damages facial skin and that certain smoking behaviors contribute to wrinkles, because of the repetitive facial expressions that smokers make, such as pursing the lips on inhaling and squinting their eyes to keep the smoke out.

Drinking alcohol can make your body and skin dehydrated, leaving the skin looking old and tired. So if you are drinking alcohol drink plenty of water and stick to sensible amounts. Have a non-alcoholic drink like soda water or watery fruit juice in between the alcoholic ones to help your body re-hydrate.

Tip #3 for healthy skin: Clean your skin regularly and apply moisturizer

A British Skin Foundation survey published in January 2008 found that an astonishing 50 per cent of people who wear make up in the UK are damaging their skin by not removing make up before they go to bed.

The reasons for not cleansing the skin of make up before going to bed were also revealing in that most people were too tired to take it off, suggesting they were not getting good quality sleep which also affects skin health. A significant proportion also said they had had too much to drink or simply couldn’t be bothered.

Cleansing is an important part of skin care because it removes dirt and bacteria; and the key is to do it gently.

Use warm rather than hot water and limit the time you spend in the bath or shower to 15 minutes or less as too much time in hot water strips oils from your skin.

Also, use mild rather than strong soaps and avoid irritating additives such as perfumes and dyes, especially if you have sensitive skin.

When removing make up take care with the delicate skin around the eyes, and if you use waterproof make up you may need an oil-based product to make sure you get it all off.

When you have finished try to pat your skin dry so some moisture stays on it.

Moisturizing is important because it protects the skin from the weather and from drying up and looking dull. It helps your skin maintain its natural moisture levels too, say the Mayo Clinic experts, because it seals in the water already in the skin or slowly release water into the skin.

You may be surprised to know that according to the British Skin Foundation the price of a moisturizer is not a measure of how good it is: cheaper ones can be just as effective.

If you have dry skin avoid alcohol-based products and if you have oily skin avoid oil-based products (use water-based instead).

Some people with oily skin don’t need moisturizer: if your skin feels tight 20 minutes after bathing, then you probably do.

Tip #4 for healthy skin: Get enough quality sleep

Woman sleeping
Focus on quality sleep to keep your skin looking young and healthy

Sleep is essential for healthy skin. Not enough quality sleep will make your skin look tired and older, especially with bags under your eyes. Poor quality sleep can become a vicious cycle because lack of sleep makes you irritable, anxious and depressed, and that makes it harder to get good sleep.

Make sure you have plenty of physical exercise as this reduces stress and creates a healthy tiredness that helps sleep. Yoga and swimming are also good ways to improve sleep.

Aerobic exercise increases the oxygen circulating in your body which helps the skin stay vibrant and healthy.

Here are some more tips for getting a good night’s sleep

  • Try to keep to a regular routine at bedtime.
  • Have a warm bath to relax you.
  • Learn how to put aside the “worry list” that is in your head: write it down, keep a pencil and pad of paper by your bed.
  • Get a relaxation tape: don’t watch TV late at night or in bed as this can stimulate rather than relax you.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal late at night. Try to eat your last food for the day 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day rather than toward bedtime.
  • If you wake in the night get up and do something distracting until you are sleepy again rather than toss and turn and worry in bed.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. It should be a haven of peace and not a den of noise and stimulation.
  • Keep an eye mask and ear plugs handy.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine in the evenings: drink chamomile tea rather than cocoa to induce sleep at bedtime (but not too much or you will be up in the night for the toilet).

Tip #5 for healthy skin: Shave with care

People shave to make their skin smooth and hairless, but this can irritate the skin, especially if it is thin, dry and sensitive.

For a smooth shave the Mayo Clinic experts advise that you shave after a warm bath or shower (or press a warm wet cloth on your skin) to soften the hair, don’t shave dry skin, use a clean, sharp razor, and shave in the direction of hair growth.

Make sure you rinse well afterwards with warm water to remove soap and dead cells.

If your skin is irritated after shaving don’t use an alcohol based lotion even if it feels cool, it will make the irritation worse because it dries the skin out.