Grape seed (Vitis vinifera) is not a carrier oil that I have used much but it is often preferred by massage therapists because of its non-greasy application. It doesn’t have a long shelf life, so it is best to use it within a short time frame. Here’s a quick introduction to grapeseed oil.
Botanical Profile of Grape Seed
The grape plant belongs to the Vitaceae botanical family. Its Latin name is made up from the Latin word, vitis, meaning vine and vinifera which means wine bearing. The grape is a deciduous, climbing plant and reaches a length of 70 to 100 feet. According to Maud Grieves, in a Modern Herbal, some grape plants have been reported to live for hundreds of years. The grape plant has green-colored flowers but it is from the seeds of the the fruit that grape seed oil is extracted.
Production and Extraction of Grape Seed Oil
Today, the main producing countries of grape seed oil are Spain, Italy and the U.S. (California), although France was the first country to produce grape seed oil. Grape seed oil is extracted from the left over grape seeds, after the distillation of the grapes for wine. Grape seed oil is not a cold pressed carrier oil, unlike the majority of carrier oils used in aromatherapy practice; it is pressed with heat after the grape seeds have been washed, dried, and crushed.
Chemical Components of Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is high in linoleic acid, in addition to vitamin E, flavonoids and antioxidants. Linoleic acid is excellent for use in skin care use, and therefore aromatherapy massage, because it is said to regenerate and restructure the skin and cell membranes. Grape seed oil has virtually no aroma, making it conducive for combining with other carrier oils, for additional therapeutic benefits, in aromatherapy use.
Cosmetic and Aromatherapy Use of Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is light and non-greasy to use for aromatherapy and massage; it smooths the skin. It is often added to cosmetic creams and lotions for skin care use due to its regenerative and moisturizing properties. In addition, grape seed oil is non-toxic and is not known to cause allergies or sensitization in skin care use.
Cautions for Using Grape Seed Oil in Aromatherapy
Len Price, in his book Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, records that grape seed oil is non-toxic with no known side effects or contra-indications for use in aromatherapy and massage. As always, consult a certified aromatherapist before using unfamiliar carrier oils if you have any concerns for use.
The Study of Carrier Oils in Aromatherapy
To learn more about how carrier oils are used in aromatherapy practice, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!
Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead
Botanical.com web site, Maud Grieves, A Modern Herbal, accessed from: http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/vine–09.html
The author of this article has a 20 year history in the health care and aromatherapy industry. She is UK-certified aromatherapist and a NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist (R). She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She has taken the online Master Gardener short course series with the University of Oregon. Sharon works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she is in the process of creating her own aromatic stillroom on her one acre homestead and aromatic gardens.