Fields of Sunflowers are such a delight to see, as they climb up to the sky reaching up to six feet in height. While most of us are aware of harvesting these sunny flowers for their edible sunflower seeds, they are also harvested for many purposes, including a vegetable cooking oil and a vegetable cold-pressed carrier oil for use in cosmetics, medicinal and aromatherapy purposes.
Did you know the Sunflower is actually native to the Americas? Sunflowers were traditionally cultivated by the Native American Indians in present day Arizona and New Mexico about 3000 B.C. Some archaeologists suggest that sunflowers may have even been domesticated before corn. Sunflowers were also prized by the South American Indians who ground the seeds in a mortar and pestle to make meal for breads, cakes, and mush. The Spanish explorers took the sunflower to Eastern Europe in the early 1500’s. It became known for its healing properties for wounds, skin diseases, respiratory ailments and circulatory problems when mixed with essential oils and herbs. In the early 19th century, Russian farmers were first to plant this crop commercially, one oil-type for oil production and another variety for direct human consumption. Now it has made its way back to the Americas and is traded all over the world.
Just like their golden flowers, Sunflower oil is a light golden oil that is easily absorbed. It contains high amounts of Vitamin, A, C, D and E, a high linoleic percentage (71%), beneficial amounts of lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids. Sunflower oil is extremely nourishing for all skin types, and is relatively inexpensive compared to other vegetable carrier oils. It is highly recommended for recipes designed to treat dry, weathered, aged, and damaged skin as it resembles natural sebum. Its light feel make it an excellent compliment to many oils and gives creams a smooth consistency, making it a good choice as a base oil. Used in many bath oils as it is readily absorbed into the skin. Sunflower oil is also used for many infused/macerated oils such as Arnica, Calendula and St. John’s Wort. This oil is also beneficial for dry hair.
Below I’ve included a Sunflower Oil Base to make up in larger quantities to utilize for bath and body recipes, giving moisture and soothing properties to the skin. Experiment by adding your own essential oils.
• 1 ½ cups Cold-Pressed Sunflower Oil • ½ cup Sesame Oil •
• 2 Tablespoons Jojoba Oil • 2 Tablespoons Wheat Germ Oil.
(Makes approx. 16 ounces)