Carrot seed oil is far removed from the ubiquitous orange vegetable and should not be mistaken for the cheaper macerated carrot oil. This humble essential oil is packed with natural healing properties, which have been used since the times of ancient Greeks and Indians. Learn more about carrot seed oil and how to get the most out of this plant oil.
What Is Carrot Seed Oil?
Carrot seed oil is derived from the dried seeds of the wild carrot plant (Daucus carota) of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family. Its plant source is an annual or biennial plant with hairy leaves and umbels of white lacy flowers and purple centers. Also popularly called wild Queen Anne's lace, its native origins can be traced back to Egypt, France and India.1 Carrot seed oil has a viscous consistency, a yellowish-brown color2 and a distinct woody, earthy and root-like fragrance.
Uses of Carrot Seed Oil
In traditional Chinese medicine, carrot seed oil has been proven to treat dysentery and to expel worms. But apart from these uses, it is also frequently:
• Added into spicy foods and sauces in many Asian cuisines3
• Mixed with other oils to infuse a woody note in Oriental and aldehydic perfumes
• Used as a massage oil or bath oil to ease muscle pain
• Used as a lotion to naturally and effectively tan and moisturize the skin
Composition of Carrot Seed Oil
The main chemical constituents of carrot seed oil include a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, y-terpinene, limonene, b-bisabolene, geranyl acetate and carotol.4 It blends well with a wide range of essential oils, whether it's botanical, citrus or spicy oils. These include bergamot, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, cedarwood and geranium oils.
The oil of the carrot seed primarily contains the well-known pigment carotene, but does not contain vitamins A and E or pro-vitamin A, which are found in the root.5
Benefits of Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil is perhaps one of the most underappreciated essential oils. But it is known to have antiseptic, carminative, cytophylactic, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue and vermifuge (antiparasitic) properties.6 Here are just some of the other well-known health benefits of carrot seed oil:7
✓ Aids in healing abscesses, boils, and other skin disorders
✓ Nourishes, tightens, and rejuvenates skin
✓ Alleviates pain due to menstruation
✓ Helps stimulate appetite
✓ Helps treat ulcers
✓ Improves liver and gall bladder disorder, particularly hepatitis, colitis and enteritis
✓ Assists in stimulating the lymph system
✓ Helps women in breast milk production after childbirth
✓ Helps ease hiccups, colic and flatulence8
✓ Relieves kidney stones and jaundice
Carrot seed oil is also widely used in vapor therapy or aromatherapy as a brilliant stress and anxiety buster and an efficient enhancer of respiratory and digestive functions. Read my article on aromatherapy and learn which essential oils work best for several health concerns you or someone you love could be suffering from.
How to Make Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil is extracted from the dried seeds through steam distillation, which is most commonly used due to its ability to excellently preserve valuable nutrients. The carrot seeds produce the most essential oil, but other parts of the plant can be used as well. In some cases, the dried seeds are crushed before going through steam distillation.
During this procedure, the botanical material is steamed to stimulate the release of its aromatic molecules. Careful temperature control is crucial — it should be hot enough to make the carrot seed essential oil come out from the plant material, but not too hot to the point of burning the material.
How Does Carrot Seed Oil Work?
To avail yourself of carrot seed oil's positive skin benefits, you can use it topically by applying a few drops of the essential oil on the affected area. Don't forget to mix your carrot seed oil with a with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil for protection from its potential photosensitization and the other effects of its undiluted strength.
Others suggest diluting three to four drops of carrot seed oil in water and taking it orally at least three times a day to take advantage of its healing properties for respiratory and digestive issues. You should seek your doctor's advice before orally taking carrot seed oil or, in this case, any type of essential oil. This is to prevent undesirable health results.
Is Carrot Seed Oil Safe?
According to "Leung's Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients," carrot seed oil is nontoxic. However, like other essential oils, never ingest carrot seed oil during pregnancy. Carrot seed oil can cause bleeding when taken by pregnant women. This caveat also applies to individuals with a history of epilepsy. If you or someone you know has epilepsy, do not use essential oils in general (especially in aromatherapy), as they can trigger overstimulation, which may lead to more serious adverse reactions.
Side Effects of Carrot Seed Oil
While carrot seed oil itself is said to have few side effects when used properly, its parent plant, the wild carrot, was found to increase risks of sun sensitivity due to its high furanocoumarin content, which has photosensitizing effects. It has also been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions and occupational dermatitis.9
Do not apply carrot seed oil on your skin without mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil or hempseed oil. I also recommend staying indoors or covering parts of your body at least 72 hours after applying it on your skin. Ideally, you should perform a skin test first. Put a drop of carrot seed oil on a small portion of your skin and wait 24 hours. If any sign of skin irritation occurs, discontinue its use immediately.
Carrot seed oil overdose may cause vomiting and convulsions. I suggest you consult a natural holistic practitioner before incorporating carrot seed oil into your treatment protocol to avoid potential side effects.