Updated: May 7
Raise your hand if you don't like perks with benefits! If that's you, you'll not want to read below about all the perks that come with sunflowers and sunflower oil!
Sunflower oil, the basics
Sunflower oil is a non-volatile oil pressed from seeds of sunflower - Helianthus Annuus. The sunflower originated in North America where it was cultivated by the American Indians as long ago as 3,000 BC. The world's tallest sunflower was grown in Germany and was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014, at a height of 9.17 m. The largest sunflower plantations are found in Russia, India, the USA and Mexico. The oil is commonly used in cooking, but it is also used in cosmetic formulation as an excellent emollient. The oil contains high quantities of vitamin E - a powerful antioxidant.
Sunflower is such a wonderful annual plant, it really brightens up any garden or even a window sill (some varieties only grow up to 30 cm). Its scientific name comes from Greek words - 'helios' (sun) and 'anthos' (flower). I think the name is very appropriate, indeed as it follows the sunshine! This skill is called heliotropism, which means that sunflowers turn their flowers to follow the movement of the sun across the sky east to west, and then return at night to face the east, ready again for the morning sun. Heliotropism happens during the earlier stages before the flower grows heavy with seeds.
Sunflower with its tasty seeds its a winner in my 'snacks competition'. I can munch on sunflower seeds any day! My favourite way to enjoy sunflower seeds is just picking them directly from the mature flower head. When I was little I used to make intricate 'town' designs on sunflower heads by picking certain seeds and creating streets and houses. Actually, I still do that because it is so much fun, trust me!
Sunflower Oil properties
Such a beautiful plant surely has to have beneficial properties! Besides brightening any garden it gives us sunflower oil which is light with softening, nourishing, regenerating qualities and is suitable for all skin types. It is rich in vitamin E and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6 belong to the family of essential fatty acids. These are essential to human health but the human body cannot synthesise them on its own.
Sunflower oil is an excellent cosmetic ingredient. It is known to help with the healing of epidermal damage, including wounds and acne. It has anti-inflammatory properties and replenishes the skin barrier and helps reduce transepidermal water loss.
Sunflower oil is commonly used as the base oil for herbal macerations such as Calendula because it is such a versatile oil and has minimal odour. It can also be used on its own or in combination with other botanical or essential oils.
Another important feature of sunflower oil is its unsaponifiable matter - all the ingredients that are not fatty acids. It is a rich source of lecithin, the content of which may be as high as 1 %. Squalene is also found in sunflower oil. Because sunflower seeds are not usually dehulled prior to cold pressing, a significant amount of waxes is also present giving it extra protective properties.
Sunflower plants are not only beautiful, but they also provide food for humans and animals, are a source of highly beneficial oil, they know how to follow the sun and their seeds form intricate and hypnotising patterns that are not random at all! Read about sunflowers' mathematical skills here.
Bunch Skincare products with Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is such a versatile ingredient easily blended with other cosmetic compounds. You can find it in all Bunch Skincare products providing powerful antioxidant benefits as part of Vitamin E oil or bringing you calming and soothing properties of Calendula maceration in, you guessed it, After Sun Organic Face and Body Oils. Maybe I should change products names to After Sun Sunflower?
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