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Walnut Oil - Juglans regia

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Walnut Oil - Juglans regia

Latin Name: Juglans regia

Etymology
Walnut is also known as the royal walnut and the Persian walnut. Regia conveys the meaning of royal, and Juglans means godlike (from jovis - of Jupiter). We speak of Adam's apple, which is probably a mistranslation from the Greek, where it is referred to as Adam's walnut. The prefix wal- is from the Anglo Saxon wealth meaning foreign, and knut means nut.

The Plant and its environment
It has been established from fossil walnuts found in northern Europe that the walnut tree is a pre-ice Age plant. It is native to the Himalayas, China, eastern Europe and places in between, but now grown in all temperate countries for its timber (the lightest wood to be grown in Europe) and its edible nuts. America is the largest walnut producer but the is quite a large nut and oil industry in France.

The deciduous trees have a greyish brown bark and can grow to a height of 50 metres (97 feet) though they tend to be trimmed very occasionally to a more manageable height for nut collection. The globe-like green fleshy fruits (drupers) containing the nut appear singly or in small groups of two or three. The chief constituent present in the fresh plant (found in the leaf and the stain) is juglone which has antibacterial and fungicidal qualities. It is interesting to note that the leaf contains a small quantity of essential oil (Bruneton 1995)

The Oil
A deep golden brown oil is obtained from the kernel; containers should be stored in a cool place away from the light when the oil will keep for a maximum of twelve months. The refined oil, unlike the cold-pressed oil, is light in colour, has a bland taste and a low odour: it has superior keeping qualities to that of the organic oil.

Method of Extraction
On a small scale, the walnuts are first cracked with a wooden mallet to remove the shell, then the kernel is ground and pressed to yield about 50% oil. The kernels are roasted first when producing the oil for culinary purposes, to increase the flavour.

Principal Constituents

Type Based On  Content - %
 Saturated fatty acids units    
C16:0 palmitic acid  7-8 
C18:0  stearic acid  2-3 
Typical  saturated fatty acid unit content   10 
Monounsaturated fatty acid units    
C16:1 palmitoleic acid 0-02
C18:1 oleic acid 18 (16-36)
Typical monounsaturated acid unit content   18
Polyunsaturated fatty acid units:    
C18:2 linoleic acid 60 (40-70)
C18:3 linolenic acid  11-14
Typical polyunsaturated fatty acid unit content   73

 Reference:  Carrier Oils For Aromatherapy & Massage:: Len price with ian Smith & Shirley Price

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