What are Carrier Oils and How Do You Use Them?
Carrier oils are used as a base for various natural products, diluting them so you can apply them to your skin without developing side effects. They’re used with essential oils distilled from the leaves, bark and roots of medicinal herbs and plants. Oil from popular herbs like lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus are far too strong in their original form to be used without diluting them.
Types of Carrier Oils
Typically, if you can ingest something you can use it on your skin. That makes edible oils the perfect option for use with medicinal herb oils. Almond oil, coconut, avocado or olive oil are the first that come to mind, and these are derived from the nuts or seeds of the plants they are named for.
The best oils to use as carriers are those obtained by a process called cold pressing because heat is believed to damage the fragile nutritional benefits of the oil. The plants or seeds are crushed to release the oils without using any form of heat, and the oil strained to separate it from the particles.
Carrier Oil Characteristics
Most carrier oils have no odor, while others have a gentle, slightly nutty scent. These typically don’t evaporate, either, which makes your herbal essences last longer. They also act as a kind of preservative, which helps maintain the properties of the essences.
Popular Carrier Oils
Most carrier oils are chosen because they have individual properties that make them ideal for specific purposes:
- Coconut oil. It’s not a myth that this substance has been used for skin care for centuries, and recently has been discovered to contain antimicrobial properties due to high lauric acid content.
- Black cumin seed oil has anti-inflammatory qualities, and because it is absorbed easily into the skin it’s ideal for any oils used for skin conditions such as fungus or bacterial infections.
- Jojoba oil is a heavy, waxy substance ideal for massage, and although it has its own distinct scent it mixes well with scented essential oils.
- Evening primrose oil is a light-weight, sweet smelling substance that has been used in skincare for centuries. This oil has a high concentration of fatty acids, which causes it to become rancid easily. It’s best combined with a heavier, longer-lasting carrier oil like coconut.
- Rose hip oil, which has its own antioxidation and anti-inflammation properties. This makes it ideal as a carrier oil for any herbs to treat skin conditions.
- Grapeseed oil. Distilled from the seeds of grapes as a by-product of winemaking, this is a great cooking oil with high quantities of unsaturated fats and Vitamin E. These qualities make it ideal for infusing with herbs such as rosemary, to use it for culinary purposes. Other edible oils you can use for this include almond, olive, safflower, sunflower, palm, peanut, walnut and sesame oil.
There are multiple additional oils that are used less commonly, including apricot kernel, castor, flaxseed, macadamia nut, amaranth, raspberry seed oil, and others. If you want to know about using any particular oil with your medicinal herbs, its properties, benefits, and uses, please contact us with your questions.