‘Tis nearly the season for Thanksgiving here in the United States, which is swiftly followed by Christmas. With that in mind, I am starting another trilogy of posts in the lead up to Thanksgiving, with a focus on oils and blends I consider appropriate for the season. This week I am looking at three of the more unusual nut carrier oils. Next week, I will look at some suitable essential oil blends for diffusing at Thanksgiving, followed by some seasonal aromatherapy products that you may find useful to have for your Thanksgiving guests.
Nut Carrier Oils
The difference between a nut and seed carrier oil was discussed in a previous blog post but, essentially, nut refers to the hard-shelled fruit of a plant. Sometimes you may see the word kernel used in its place.
A lot of carrier oils are extracted from nuts but those which I find seasonal for this time of year include hazelnut, macadamia, and walnut. Not that these oils have any distinct aroma when added to an aromatherapy blend, but I think that the description of the blend makes it sound authentic for the season! In addition, each carrier oil has its own therapeutic properties, adding value to the blend.
Hazelnut Carrier Oil
Hazelnut ( Corylus avellana) goes by the name noisette in France and haselnuss in Germany.1 The hazelnut tree belongs to the Corylaceae botanical family and is a small, deciduous tree which is indigenous to northern Europe. Both male and female flowers grow on the same tree making it a monoecious plant. The hazelnut tree has yellow catkins in the spring.
Hazelnut oil is extracted by cold pressing the nuts. It is yellow-amber in color and it is very similar to sweet almond(Prunis dulcis) oil. Hazelnut oil is used to nourish the skin, stimulate circulation, as a light astringent, for oily skin, and for acne.
Macadamia Carrier Oil
Macadamia (Macadamia ternifolia) belongs to the Proteaceae botanical family and it is indigenous to Australia. Today’s macadamia nuts are developed from a hybrid of the original tree used by Aboriginal people. A tall tree, with cream-white or pale-pink flowers, the macadamia is able to self-pollinate. Macadamia nuts are distinct for their extremely hard outer shell protected by a green outer husk; within these inner walls is the kernel itself.
Macadamia oil is extracted by cold pressing the kernel. It is light yellow in color and extremely high in monosaturated fatty acids (oleic and palmitoleic). Macadamia oil is used for mature skin, as a massage oil, as a lubricant, and it is easily absorbed by the skin. Use macadamia oil in place of mineral oil.
Walnut Carrier Oil
Walnut (Juglans regia) is a member of the Juglandaceae botanical family. The walnut is an ancient plant, possibly pre- Ice Age. It is a common, deciduous tree in countries with temperate climates. The walnut tree is an extremely tall tree. The nut is enclosed within an outer green, fleshy fruit.
Walnut oil is extracted by a complex process. First the walnuts are smashed open with a wooden mallet; the kernel is then ground and pressed to obtain the oil. The oil is a deep, golden-brown color and it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid). Walnut oil is used for eczema, itchy scalp and skin, as an emollient, and to soothe burns.
In Europe, walnut oil is often used in place of olive oil.
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Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead Publishing
Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.