Sunday, 28 June 2015

Carrier Oils Guide - Aromatherapy ❧

Carrier oils, also known as base oil or vegetable oil, is used in aromatherapy to dilute essential oils and absolutes before being applied, carrying the essential onto the skin. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils don't contain a concentrated aroma. Carrier oils don't evaporate like essential oils, which are more volatile. The carrier oils used should be as natural and unadulterated as possible.

There is a range of different carrier oils, each with various therapeutic properties. Choosing an oil will depend on the area being massaged, the presenting conditions and the clients sensitivity and requirements. For massage, viscosity is a major consideration (for example, grapeseed oil is typically very thin, while olive oil is much thicker). Sunflower, sweet almond and grapeseed oils have viscosities midway between these extremes. Carrier oils can be easily blended to combine their properties of viscosity, acceptability, lubrication, absorption, aroma and so forth.

High quality oils sold for culinary use are often eminently suitable for massage use, and are economical (those obtained by cold pressing are preferred). All carrier oils should be kept cool, and away from strong light, to slow the process of a substance becoming rancid. Rancid oils should be avoided. Refrigerating oils helps preserve their freshness but some oils should not be refrigerated (e.g. avocado). Very cold oils may appear cloudy, but regain their clear state on returning to room temperature.

True carrier oils are generally cold-pressed or macerated vegetable oils taken from the following - (sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil are very popular carrier oils):

SWEET ALMOND OIL - Almonds are a rich source of oil, with values ranging between 36 to 60% of kernel dry mass. One analysis indicates almonds contain 44% oils, of which 62% is monounsaturated oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), 29% is linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid), and 9% is saturated fatty acid.

The fixed oil, is prepared from either sweet or bitter almonds and is a glyceryl oleate, with a slight odor and a nutty taste. It is almost insoluble in alcohol, but readily soluble in chloroform or ether. Sweet almond oil is obtained from the dried kernel of sweet almonds.

The oil is good for application to the skin as an emollient, and has been traditionally used to lubricate the skin during a massage session.

APRICOT OIL - Apricot oil or apricot kernel oil is pressed from the kernels of the apricot. Apricot kernels have an oil content of 40-50%. The oil is similar to almond oil and peach oil, both of which are also extracted from the kernels of the respective fruit. Apricot oil and almond oil, are used similarly in cosmetics to soften skin. The oil is chiefly composed of oleic acid and linoleic acid, both of which are unsaturated fats. The seed cake is also used separately to extract an essential oil, which contains Amygdalin - a colorless crystalline glucoside.

Apricot kernel is good for all skin types. It is very rich and nourishing, particularly in vitamin A, and softening fine lines to restore a healthy glow.

AVOCADO OIL - An edible oil pressed from the fruit of the avocado. As a food oil, it is used as an ingredient and as a cooking oil. It is also used for lubrication and in cosmetics, where it is valued for its supposed regenerative and moisturizing properties. Can be used as a massage oil - soft, soothing and doesn't leave any greasy residue.

Avocado oil functions well as a carrier oil for other flavors. It is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, also enhancing the absorption of carotenoids and other nutrients.

Avocado oil was originally extracted for cosmetic use because of its very high skin penetration and rapid absorption. Traditionally extracted with solvents at high temperatures, the avocado flesh is dried to remove as much water as possible (≈65% water) for cosmetics. For application in skin care products, the oil is usually refined, bleached, and deodorized, resulting in an odorless yellow oil. Like extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed avocado oil is unrefined and so retains the flavor and color characteristics of the fruit flesh.

BORAGE SEED OIL - Borage, an annual herb, also known as a starflower, is commercially cultivated for borage seed oil extracted from its seeds. Borage seed oil has one of the highest amounts of γ-linolenic acid (GLA) of seed oils—higher than blackcurrant seed oil or evening primrose oil, to which it is considered similar.

GLA comprises around 24% of the oil, inhibiting leukotriene synthesis to providing therapy in rheumatologic illness. Borage seed oil has been used to treat skin disorders, reducing inflammation and help to cure eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and neuro-dermatitis, giving relief to dehydrated and ultra-sensitive skin, as well as keeping the skin moist and wrinkle free. It has also been used for rheumatoid arthritis, stress, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alcoholism, pain and swelling (inflammation), and for preventing heart disease and stroke.

Borage oil may be unsafe during pregnancy because preliminary studies suggest borage oil may cause premature labor. Seizures have been reported as a complication of ingestion of borage oil in doses of 1,500 to 3,000 mg daily.

CANOLA OIL (Rapeseed) - Canola is an edible oil produced from a cultivar of rapeseed or field mustard/turnip rape. Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Finally, the Canola oil is refined using water precipitation and acid, "bleaching" with clay, and deodorizing using steam distillation.

Consumption of the oil is common and, unlike rapeseed, does not cause harm in humans and livestock. It is also used as a source of biodiesel. About 43% of a seed is oil; the remainder is a rapeseed meal that is used as animal feed.

Canola oil is a key ingredient in many foods, having a reputation as a healthy oil, creating high demand in markets around the world, making it overall the third-most widely consumed vegetable oil.

The oil has many non-food uses and, like soybean oil, is often used interchangeably with non-renewable petroleum-based oils in products, including industrial lubricants, biofuels, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks depending on the market price. Canola oil is also recommended for use as a fertility-preserving vaginal lubrication.

CASTOR OIL - Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the castor plant, a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and odor when first ingested.

Castor oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacturing of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylon, pharmaceuticals and perfumes.

In the food industry, food grade castor oil is used in food additives—flavorings, candy (e.g., chocolate), as a mold inhibitor, and in packaging.

Castor oil is recognized as generally safe and effective for over-the-counter use as a laxative. Consuming castor oil to treat constipation is not considered safe in pregnancies that are not at full term, since it may cause contractions of the womb.

Castor oil, or a castor oil derivative, is added to many modern drugs, as an antifungal agent; a mitotic inhibitor used in cancer chemotherapy; an immuno-suppressant drug widely used in connection with organ transplant to reduce the activity of the patient's immune system; an HIV protease inhibitor; an immuno-suppressive drug, a topical treatment for skin ulcers, and to maintain the acidity of the vagina.

Dehydration of castor oil gives linoleic acids, which does have drying properties. Virtually odorless and tasteless, it is used therapeutically to help support and soften healthy skin and hair.

EMU OIL - Emu oil is derived from tissue harvested from certain subspecies of the emu, a flightless bird indigenous to Australia.

Unadulterated emu oil can vary widely in color and viscosity anywhere from an off-white creamy texture to a thin yellow liquid, depending on the diet of the emu and the refining method(s) used. It is composed of approximately 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The components are oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid) and roughly 20% linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and 1-2% linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), making it a powerful skin and hair moisturizer..

Emu oil has been promoted as a dietary supplement with the claim it can treat a variety of ailments, including cancer and arthritis. However, little is known about its risks and benefits.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL - A genus of about 145 species of herbaceous flowering plants native to the Americas, commonly called evening primrose, suncups, and sundrops.

Evening primroses were originally assigned to the genus Onagra, meaning "food of onager" (Asiatic wild ass). Its origin is uncertain, but is believed to be derived from the Greek words onos theras, meaning "donkey catcher", or oinos theras, meaning "wine seeker". In addition, the Latin oenothera means "a plant whose juices may cause sleep".

There is very little evidence for any effectiveness of primrose oil to be useful in preventing or treating any other health conditions, such as cancer, eczema, or symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Neither does orally administered primrose oil seem to have any effect in shortening the length of pregnancy or labour.

Evening primrose is used to enhance women's well-being and may be helpful for many symptoms of PMS and menopause, helps manage arthritis, improves hair, nails, and skin.

GRAPE SEED OIL - Grape seed oil (also called grapeseed oil or grape oil) is pressed from the seeds of grapes, and is an abundant by-product of wine making.

Due to its clean, light taste, and high polyunsaturated fat content, grape seed oil may be used as an ingredient in salad dressings, mayonnaise and as a base for oil infusions of garlic, rosemary, or other herbs or spices. It is widely used in baked goods, pancakes, and waffles. It is sprayed on raisins to help them retain their flavor.

Grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for controlling moisture of the skin. Light and thin, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils, and contains a balance of other skin-supporting compounds, including oleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids, which is esteemed for its emollient properties and suitable for all skin types. It is also used as a lubricant for shaving and as a growth and strengthening treatment for hair.

Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturates and low in saturated fat, providing some health benefit, in that it may increase HDL-C or "good cholesterol" levels and reduce LDL levels.

Grape seed oil contains components of an oily (oil, fat, wax) mixture rich in phenols and steroids. The cold-pressed grape seed oil contains very small amounts of antioxidants, and small amounts of vitamin E (safflower oil, cottonseed oil, or rice bran oil contain greater amounts).

JOJOBA OIL - Jojoba oil is produced from the seed of the Jojoba plant, a shrub which is native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. The oil makes up approximately 50% of the jojoba seed by weight.
Unrefined jojoba oil appears as a clear golden liquid at room temperature with a slightly nutty odor. Refined jojoba oil is colorless and odorless. Jojoba oil is relatively shelf-stable when compared with other vegetable oils mainly because it does not contain triglycerides, unlike most other vegetable oils, such as grape seed oil and coconut oil. It has an oxidative stability index of approximately 60, which means that it is more shelf-stable than safflower oil, canola oil or, almond oil but less than castor oil and coconut oil.

Jojoba oil is found as an additive in many cosmetic products. In particular, such products commonly containing jojoba are lotions and moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners. The pure oil itself may be used on skin to moisturize and rejuvenate, hair (to moisturize the hair follicles and may reduce the amount of hair tangles), or cuticles.

Jojoba oil is a fungicide, and can be used for controlling mildew. Like olestra, jojoba oil is edible but non-caloric and non-digestible, meaning the oil will pass through the intestines unchanged.

OLIVE OIL - Olive oil is a fat obtained from the olive fruit, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives and is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps. Olive oil is used throughout the world and is often associated with Mediterranean countries.

There are many different olive varieties or olives, each with a particular flavor, texture, and shelf life that make them more or less suitable for different applications such as direct consumption on bread or in salads, indirect consumption in domestic cooking or catering.

Olive oil has a long history of being used as a home remedy for skincare. Egyptians used it alongside beeswax as a cleanser, moisturizer, and antibacterial agent. In ancient Greece, the substance was used during massage, to prevent sports injuries, relieve muscle fatigue, and eliminate lactic acid build-up.

Squalene, which is in olive oil, may contribute to relief of seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. A mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil inhibits the growth of respiratory infection and fungus (yeast), with the same mixture reducing the discomfort of hemorrhoids and anal fissures in adults.

Olive oil consumption is thought to affect heart health and blood cholesterol levels. It has been suggested that long-term consumption of small quantities of olive oil may be responsible for the low incidence of heart disease associated with a Mediterranean diet.

SESAME OIL - Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisine. The oil from the nutrient-rich seed is popular in alternative medicine, from traditional massages and treatments to the modern day.

There are many variations in the color: cold-pressed sesame oil is pale yellow, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden, and East Asian sesame oils are commonly a dark brown color. This dark color and flavor are derived from roasted/toasted sesame seeds. Cold pressed sesame oil has a different flavor than the toasted oil, since it is produced directly from raw, rather than toasted, seeds.

Sesame oil is reputed to penetrate the skin easily and is used in India for oil massage, is believed to rid the body of heat due to its viscous nature upon rubbing. It is also used for hair and scalp massage. It is also used in many cosmetic applications, as a carrier oil used in the manufacture of Ayurvedic medications.

Sesame oil may be used as a solvent in injected drugs or intravenous drip solutions, and a cosmetics carrier oil. The oil also has synergy with some insecticides. Low grade oil is used locally in soaps, paints, lubricants, and illuminants.

As with numerous seed and nut foods, sesame oil may produce an allergic reaction, although incidence is rare (approximately 0.1%), however reports of sesame allergies are growing in developed countries.

SUNFLOWER OIL - Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil compressed from sunflower seeds. It is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.

Sunflower oil is a monounsaturated / polyunsaturated mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils. The expressed oil is of light amber color with a mild and pleasant flavor; refined oil is pale yellow. The oil contains appreciable quantities of vitamin E, sterols, squalene, and other hydrocarbons.

Sunflower oil is high in the essential vitamin E and low in saturated fat. The two most common types of sunflower oil are linoleic and high oleic. Linoleic sunflower oil is a common cooking oil that has high levels of polyunsaturated fat, with a clean taste and low levels of trans fat. High oleic sunflower oils are classified as having monounsaturated levels of 80% and above.

In traditional practices, sunflower oil has been used in a process called oil pulling in which oil is swished in the mouth to improve oral health.

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