- LATIN NAME
Sativa is from the Latin word for cultivated. The plant is also known as weedseed and 'gold of pleasure'.
- THE PLANT AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
Camelina was once a common weed found in cultivated crops, but it is now grown for its own sake in the South East of England. Records of the plant cultivation date back as far as the Iron Age as the oil was used as a source of fuel as well as a skin moisturiser. It is generally an annual crop, being sown in early spring and harvested in late autumn: most of the domestic crop has been grown to produce seed for bird food.
- THE OIL
The oil has properties similar to those of sperm whale oil, for which it is increasingly being used as a replacement. It has good levels of bonded essential fatty acids and an unusually high amount of bonded eicosenoic acid (C20:1).
METHOD OF EXTRACTION
The seed contains between 35 and 40% oil and 30% protein but it is only 1-2 mm in length and 1 mm in width. This small size means it is difficult to extract the oil without the use of solvents.
|TYPE||BASED ON||CONTENT - %|
|Saturated fatty acid units|
|Typical saturated fatty acid unit content||11|
|Monounsaturated fatty acid units:|
|C18:1||oleic acid||15 (13-26)|
|C20:1||ecosenoic acid||15 (10-18)|
|Typical monounsaturated fatty acid unit content||28|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acid units|
|C18:2||linoleic acid||18 (16-24)|
|C18:3||alpha linolenic acid||39 (33-40)|
|Typical polyunsaturated fatty acid unit content||61|
- FOLK - LORE AND TRADITIONAL PLANT USES
In Asia the seeds have long been used as a food source and in medical preparations for respiratory and metabolic disorders.
- THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES - INTERNAL USE
Once the triacylglycerols have broken down, the longer chain fatty acids can be used by the body in the synthesis of cells.
- THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES - EXTERNAL USE
See cosmetic use.
- COSMETIC USE
It is known that the seed and its components help to condition the plumage of canaries, giving glossy sheen, and this led to research which showed that the oil had good skin softening properties ( Product Information Sheet).
- The oil can be used in formulae for skin creams and moisturisers as it is emollient, has good spreading properties and provides lubricity in both hair and skin preparations. It provides a protective coating to hair follicles (it is used by L'Oreal in hair products).
- Camelina has a profile of bonded fatty acids which is similar to the oils present in marine fauna as the shark and sperm whale ( Press Release 1991). Indeed, it can be used as a replacement for sperm whale oil in lipstick and other solid products. (see also jojoba oil).
- CULINARY USE
The oil may be used in salad dressings with the nutritional advantage of having a low saturate content but a high total of unsaturates.
- CAUTIONARY NOTES
As far as is known, Camelina oil is non-irritant and non-sensitising.
- Reference: Carrier Oils For Aromatherapy & Massage: len Price with Ian Smith & Shirley Price
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