Name: Sunflower Oil
Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus
Common Method of Extraction: Sunflower oil is extracted by using the cold press or expeller method under low temperature conditions and this method does not need chemical solvents. It can be extracte using the chemical solvents also, like hexane or expeller pressing where the seeds are squeezed directly by crushing them.
Parts Used: Seeds
Largest Producing Countries: Ukraine, Russia, Argentina, America and Turkey
Traditional Use: Sunflower is non-volatile oil commonly used in food as frying oil and in cosmetic formulations as a calming ingredient. It is a mixture of monounsaturated fat, oleic acid and polyunsaturated fat, linoleic acid etc. The oil has rich content of vitamin E and is used for low to extremely high temperature cooking. It is widely used as frying oil and the unrefined sunflower oil is used widely in traditional salads in East European cuisines. It is also used as an ingredient in sunflower butter. The crushed seed which is called seed meal is the left over after extraction. This seed meal is rich in protein and dietary fibre and used as an animal feed, fertilizer or fuel. Sunflower oil contains vitamin E which provides protection against asthma and colon cancer. It is also good for prevention of uterine, lung and skin cancers. It is also good for preventing cataracts. Sunflower oil contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which provide energy and helps maintain an ideal LDL/HDL ration in the body. Sunflower oil also contains lecithin which helps lowering cholesterol levels. Sunflower oil contains proteins, which are important for building and repairing tissues and the production of hormones and enzymes. The body requires high amounts of proteins and the body does not store proteins, they have to be consumed, and sunflower oil fulfils this requirement.
Blends Well With: Sunflower oil blends well with lavender, lemon and petit grain oils.
Of Interest: Sunflower is a native of America and has been used widely for extraction of cooking since ages. Apart from cooking it is used in cosmetic formulations mainly because of tis emollient properties. The nutritious composition of this oil makes it one of the healthiest oils for consumption and for application on the skin and hair. There are two types of sunflower seeds, confection sunflower seeds and non-oil sunflowers seeds. The oil is extracted from the confection sunflower seeds and these seeds are edible. The other seeds are used for feeding animals and not good human consumption. The sunflower seed oil is extracted from the black seeds and the entire flower. Sunflower oil is use to run diesel engines by mixing it with diesel in the tank but due to the high level of unsaturated fats there is very viscosity in cold temperature.
Safety Data: People allergic to ragweed, or to flowers such as daisies, marigolds and chrysanthemums that belong to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family, should consult a doctor before using sunflower oil internally or topically. Allergic reactions may happen which include hives, nausea, itchy mouth and difficulty breathing. People with diabetics should be careful about their sunflower oil intake. The oil can increase fasting insulin and blood sugar as well as fats in the blood after eating. The effect could lead to atherosclerosis in Type 2 diabetics.