Herbs for Health by Diane Aldworth

CARRIER OILS

In the past two articles we have discussed oils that can be used without dilution on the skin, but most essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil
Carrier oils, are extracted from either nuts or seeds and do not usually have a fragrance – for instance, people sometimes look for “almond oil” that smells of almonds. If you have almond oil, smelling of almonds, you either have a highly toxic oil (bitter almond oil) or it is sweet almond oil with a synthetic fragrance. Carrier oils possess their own therapeutic properties and they also enhance the absorption of the essential oils through the skin. Most carrier oils are rich in fatty acids as well as other nutrients.
Base Oils:
• Almond Prunus dulcis contains Vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6. It provides nourishment and protection for the skin.
• Grapeseed Vitis vinifera is a popular massage base as it seems anti-allergenic, & absorbs easily into the skin.
• Hemp (Cannabis sativa) contains a large amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. It helps stimulate cell growth, is excellent for dry skin and is absorbed quickly.
Specialized Oils:
These oils have properties which elevate them to being called ‘specialized’.
• Borage Borago officinalis (Starflower oil) and Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis. The secret of these two specialist carriers is their high Gamma Linoleic Acid content. Both oils are excellent for dry, mature skin and to repair tissue damage. Use 5 – 10 % of your blend.
• Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis is the closest thing in nature to our own sebum. It is marvelous on wrinkled skin, and great for dry, aging skin, as well as for split hair ends.
• Rosehip Rosa rubiginosa can counter sun damage, dry skin, and premature ageing. It improves the colour of surgical and accidental scars, and avoids the formation of keloid type scars.
• Wheat germ Triticum spp. When used on the skin it is effective in reducing damage due to its high levels of antioxidants. It can repair skin cells that have been damaged by the sun, pollution or an unhealthy diet. It also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and can soothe sunburn.

With any of these oils as a base, you can add essential oils and create many healing blends.
Until next time
Diane