What is Apricot Kernel Oil?
Apricot kernel oil is derived from the apricot fruit. The fruit itself is delicious, and it has been found that the kernel is useful for making a light oil. This oil is a wonderful massage oil.
This is because it is very light and softens the skin. The kernels have many healthy properties. They are the current subject of research for various purposes.
Apricot kernel oil bears a real similarity to almond oil and has many similar applications. It has a nutty taste that makes it great for cooking and baking.
Apricot kernel oil is derived from the seeds of apricots. Apricots are native to Armenia. However, it is thought that they may have their origins in China.
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It is a popular crop in the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The biggest producer of the fruit is Turkey. The seeds are very rich in oil. It is thought that the seeds have been used for oil since early times.
The oil was used in traditional Chinese medicine for remedying tumors and ulcers. After a while, its use spread considerably. The fruit itself is wonderful for many ailments. It is used for constipation, due to its rich fiber content.
There are two types of the oil:
- Cosmetic only - This type is solely used topically.
- Edible - This type is used in cooking and baking.
The oil can be derived from kernels either by solvent extraction or cold pressed method. Cold pressed has the advantage that the chemical compounds in the oil do not become altered. You should pursue organic, high-quality oil that is cold pressed.
The oil has several therapeutic properties:
The oil is usually light yellow. Sometimes, it can get a little darker, depending on the type of fruit used and the extraction process.
The oil has a nutty aroma. Its taste is nutty too. Some people use it for marzipan.
Apricot Kernel Oil for the Skin
The oil is beneficial for people with sensitive skin. It is not irritating, and it is soothing as well. It is a light oil and softens and smoothes the skin. It absorbs deeply into the skin. It is also easy to apply.
The oil is great for revitalizing dry skin. You can use it after bathing to seal the moisture into the skin. Since it is light, it does not leave an oily residue on your skin. Its moisturizing properties last for a very long time.
The oil is one of the best carrier oils for the purpose of massage. It absorbs well into the skin and is useful for the delivery of essential oils and other herbal agents. It is also a good oil for the infusion of herbs.
Apricot Kernel Oil for the Hair
The oil is a preferred one for hair care around the globe. It is a good agent for detangling your hair. These are the benefits that it will give your hair:
Apricot Kernel Oil as an Under Eye Cream
The oil is useful for healing under eye skin. It helps to get rid of dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles.
Apricot Kernel Oil as a Face Oil
The oil is a great face oil. Its light finish makes it so. It aids in improving skin tone, nourishing the skin, and reducing the look of the signs of aging.
If you have acne, then you should avoid using the oil. This is because it has a tendency to clog the pores. This point is somewhat disputed, however, as we shall see later.
When used in your cooking, the oil is healthier than many other oils. This can benefit your heart and cardiovascular system.
Apricot Kernel Oil Benefits and Research
In addition to the cosmetic benefits mentioned above, there are certain health benefits to the oil. They are the following:
It May Help Prevent Cancer
Since it is rich in antioxidants, the oil can reduce oxidative stress in the skin. This is good for those who suffer from premature aging or wrinkles.
The antioxidants that it contains can aid in tightening and toning the skin. This can both reduce the appearance of age spots and stave off cellular mutation. Cellular mutation can result in skin cancer.
It can Help Fight Acne
Getting rid of acne is hard, but controlling the symptoms is a good first step. When you use the oil on an acne flare-up, it can control the inflammation and prevent the buildup of sebum in the glands.
This is effective against both the symptoms and the underlying issue.
It Improves Respiratory Health
Some homeopaths recommend the oil for relieving respiratory distress. You can do this by consuming small quantities of it, or you can put some in an aromatic diffuser to aid in relieving inflammation in the respiratory tract.
It Can Reduce Inflammation
If you have chronic pain and inflammation from arthritis or gout, then applying the oil to the problem area can rapidly soothe pain and reduce swelling and redness.
Research About Apricot Oil
Apricot Seeds and Cancer
Apricot seeds contain a toxic chemical called amygdalin. It is also called Laetrile. There are companies that market it as something called vitamin B17. Your body converts the substance to cyanide. Cyanide is a poison.
It is believed by some that the kernels that are contained in the seeds can fight cancer cells. Some scientists think that the cyanide will only harm the cancerous tumor. Research indicates that this may not always be true.
The name laetrile is patented. It is used to describe a refined form of the chemical amygdalin. The substance is found in the pits of various fruits. Apricot seeds are one source.
Laetrile has been used for the treatment of cancer for many years now. Although people use Laetrile to try to fight their cancer, it is still a matter of debate as to its usefulness for this purpose.
The research surrounding Laetrile has been rather mixed. Some studies show positive results and others show no such results.
A 1982 study indicated that there was no benefit to Laetrile. Several patients also displayed symptoms of cyanide toxicity.
A 2006 study by the Department of Physiology at Kyung Hee University in South Korea showed some positive results with respect to prostate cancer.
There are many studies involving animals and cell cultures that have shown mixed results. The medical community as a whole has not reached any consensus on the efficacy of the drug on cancer.
There are other health benefits that seem to come from amygdalin:
Apricot seeds have certain properties that slow the spread of illness throughout the body. It does this by eliminating harmful cells. This process is not well understood.
A study published in the International Journal of Radiation and Biology showed that amygdalin stimulated the immune system by aiding the white blood cells in attacking harmful cells.
One theory of how amygdalin works is that it may heighten the production of pancreatic enzymes that destroy harmful properties in the body.
Even though some research that tested apricot seeds as anticancer compounds was negative, that research reported that patients said that they had a decrease in pain.
In Chinese pharmacology, apricot seeds are used to treat the pain associated with arthritis. The fiber in the seeds is able to pull acids and other toxins out of the body
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Apricot seeds may result in lower blood pressure because of the formation of thiocyanate. A long while ago, it was actually used to treat hypertension.
It is unknown whether this is effective as a real treatment, or it is only a temporary effect. Research indicates that, when amygdalin is metabolized, it results in a process that leads to the natural lowering of blood pressure.
Even though the substances in apricot seeds may aid in lowering blood pressure, research suggests that it is not completely safe.
Apricot Kernel Oil Nutrition Profile
Apricot kernel oil is rather nutritious. It is a heart-healthy oil because it contains mostly unsaturated fats.
Fatty Acid Profile
The most significant part of the nutritive value of any oil is its fatty acid profile. This refers to the fats that it has in it. The oil is rich in oleic acid and linoleic acid.
100 gm of the oil contains:
Saturated fatty acids - 6.3 gm
Monounsaturated fatty acids - 60 gm
Polyunsaturated fatty acids - 29.3 gm
The oil is rich in omega-9 fatty acid. This is responsible for the oil's emollient features. The oil is also rich in omega-6. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid is important in your body.
Outside of healthy fats, the oil is also packed with vitamin E. 100 gm of the oil gives you around 20% of RDI of vitamin E.
Outside of the nutrients, there are some chemical features of the oil. One of these properties is its oxygen radical absorbance capacity.
This is a measure of how many oxygen free radicals a substance can mop up. This tells you its antioxidant power.
Is apricot kernel oil toxic?
The toxic part of apricot kernels is cyanide. One kernel contains about .5 milligrams of cyanide. Cyanide is a gas that is poisonous.
Consuming small amounts of apricot kernel is not going to cause any harmful effects. The best idea is to consult your doctor before adding the oil to your diet.
Please note that the lower your body weight is, the greater the risk. So, there is a greater risk of poisoning in children.
Buying and Storage
Before you buy the oil, you should ensure that it conforms to safety standards with respect to amygdalin and other such substances. The healthiest type of oil is that which is cold-pressed and organic.
The oil is very sensitive to light and heat and can spoil quickly. You can tell if it is spoiled by the taste of the oil. You should store the oil in a coil environment, away from light.
The shelf life of the oil is anywhere from six months to a year. The shelf life increases if it is refrigerated. This oil is rather expensive. You will pay about five dollars for four ounces.
Is there a difference between apricot kernel oil and apricot oil?
These two names are two expressions for the same thing.
Uses of Apricot Kernel Oil
Besides its use as a healing agent and skin care remedy, the oil has many other uses. It is commonly used in salad dressings and has some industrial uses:
Apricot Kernel Oil for Soap
The oil is used as a component of soaps. You can use it in home-made soap recipes, as it has a light finish to it. It is useful for the base oil of soaps.
You can use it in combination with coconut oil and palm oil. The oil has a nice nutty aroma. It is also a great carrier oil for essential oils.
Production of Biodiesel
The oil is being researched for its ability to generate biodiesel. The results have been promising so far. The oil from wild apricots is especially good for this use.
Final Thoughts About Apricot Oil
Both apricot kernel oil have many uses for your health and beauty. Both of them can be used externally and internally. However, there are certain safety precautions that you must take with apricot kernel oil due to its potential toxicity.
There is a lot of research that supports the usefulness of these two oils for both health and beauty. However, with respect to its ability to fight cancer, there is no consensus with respect to the efficacy of Laetrile.