Essential Oils and Their Uses

5 Essential Oils of African Pride

Castor Oil

Castor oil is a thick, viscous fatty oil that people use to moisturize hair and skin. It also has medicinal and industrial uses. It’s extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis (commonly called castor bean) plant. The seeds contain a toxic compound called ricin, but the heating process used to produce the oil deactivates the ricin and makes it safe to use.

It can be used as a stimulative laxative, and people often take it to relieve constipation or clean out the bowel before medical procedures. When consumed, it’s broken down in the small intestine and converted to ricinoleic acid, which stimulates strong laxative effects.

Research suggests that applying castor oil to the scalp can help treat dandruff and promote hair growth. For an easy home treatment, mix the oil with a little warm water and apply it to your scalp. Leave it in overnight to see the best results. You can purchase castor oil at most health food stores.

Grapeseed Oil

Grape seed oil is a non-greasy and lightweight moisturizer that penetrates quickly. It’s also a great ingredient for facial products because it doesn’t clog pores. This jack-of-all-trades ingredient is also a natural antioxidant that fights free radical damage, helping to reduce sun damage and hyperpigmentation.

This versatile cooking oil has a high smoke point and is ideal for grilling, sauteing, roasting, baking, or making salad dressings and mayonnaise. It can also be used as a massage oil and hair oil.

This light oil has a neutral flavor and a high heat tolerance. It can be made using several methods, including cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. Some companies use chemical solvents to draw the oils out of the seeds, so look for brands that are labeled as being “solvent-free.” It should be stored in a cool place and should last for six months. It can be used in combination with other essential oils or as a base for homemade facial and body oils.

Argan Oil

The oil from the kernels of argan trees native to Morocco is a cosmetic powerhouse, used in everything from skin creams and moisturizers to makeup products and hair styling aids. It is lightweight, non-greasy and is easily absorbed into the skin. It contains high levels of linoleic and oleic acid, which make it an anti-inflammatory. It also has a high antioxidant content, which helps it prevent premature aging.

It may have anti-cancer properties, too. In test-tube studies, it has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and increase levels of trocopherol, a form of vitamin E, in cells.

It’s important to note that more research is needed to confirm these claims in humans. Some animal studies have indicated that argan oil may help to prevent diabetes, as it reduces blood sugar and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-sugar diet. However, more randomized controlled trials are necessary to determine these findings in humans.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a staple in many kitchens. It can be used for high-heat cooking or drizzled on salads and bread. Its phenolic compounds have been shown to exert antioxidant properties and decrease oxidative damage in cells (Patrick and Uzick, 2001). It has anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and antiatherogenic effects. It can be used to decrease oxidative stress associated with cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases. EVOO is also known to increase the absorption of Vitamin E and to improve blood lipid profile. It should be stored in a cool, dark place to avoid degradation. It should be used within 8 to 10 weeks of opening.

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