Exposure to toxins from the environment can have deleterious effects on our skin. Although there has been increasing interest in natural skin oils in recent times, our ancestors already knew about the inherent healing qualities of natural oils. They ingested it by using it for cooking and applied it topically. As a result, they managed to reap the benefits of these oils. Five healing oils used by women residing in West-Africa include :
1). Palm Oil:
Despite the fact that palm oil is rich in nutrients such as beta-carotene, it is coveted for toctrienols – members of the vitamin e family. According to Dr. Betty Kamen, PhD , toctrienols are stronger antioxidants than tocopherols and have been proven to be more effective in preventing aging and damage from free radicals. Used topically, palm oil protects the skin and slows aging. It also has deep moisturizing properties, cancer fighting properties and contributes to the growth of strong, healthy hair.
2. Coconut Oil:
This oil has a high melting point of about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit which makes it an excellent oil for cooking. At room temperature, it is solid. Thanks in no small part to antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid nutritional values, coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Among the benefits ascribed to the ingestion of coconut oil include its’ immune boosting and weight loss capabilities. Also, because it is rich in fatty acids, coconut oil provides moisturizing relief to dry, flaky skin. It is predominantly used as a carrier oil in skin care. In addition, coconut oil, when regularly applied to the hair, prevents protein loss of hair strands.
3. Baobab Oil:
Baobab oil is mildly aromatic and has a viscous consistency. It is obtained from the seeds of the Adansonia tree. Baobab oil obtained through the cold press method is highly recommended since it ensures that most of its nutritional properties are conserved. Unlike oils such as coconut oil, baobab is not recommended for ingestion. This is because, it has some properties that are not not safe for human consumption. However, it provides numerous benefits when applied to the skin and hair. Baobab oil contains fats(saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats), fatty acids (malvalic acid, sterculic acid, dihydrosterculic acid), vitamins and minerals. It is recommended for skin massages, as a dry skin remedy, healing stretch marks, hair care and nail care .
4. Shea Butter Oil:
Shea butter , also referred to as karite among francophone countries in West-Africa, is rich in nutrients. It is safe to ingest and is often used in the preparation of sauces like bambara beans sauce. In order to convert shea butter to liquid/oil, simply leave it out in the sun for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, the desired amount can be scooped into a glass bowl and immersed in a pan of hot water. This will convert it from its’ solid state to a liquid state and ensure that its nutritional properties are conserved. Shea butter oil has several uses and serves as a key ingredient by artisans in their soap making processes. It is also used as a moisturizer for dry skin among others. For more information on its benefits, visit Shea Butter – Benefits .
5. Sesame Oil:
Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds. As a nutritional powerhouse, it and can be ingested and applied topically. This oil is light and highly absorbent – a quality that ensures minimum staining of sheets when used in massages. Some notable vitamins and minerals contained in sesame oil are manganese, copper, calcium, thiamin and vitamin b6. Due to its’ densely nutritive components, sesame oil is known to protect against radiation-induced DNA damage, promote healthy skin, detoxify the body, promote bone health, lower blood pressure among others.
Incorporating these oils in your daily routine along with a healthy diet and exercise will result in optimum health.
- Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds. Retrieved July 27th, 2017 http://naturalsociety.com/12-health-benefits-of-sesame-seeds-sesame-oil/
- Is Palm Oil One of the Healthy Oils to Consume ? Retrieved July 27th, 2017 http://www.livestrong.com/article/428369-is-palm-oil-one-of-the-healthy-oils-to-consume/
- Health Benefits of Coconut Oil. Retrieved July 27th, 2017 https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html
- Baobab, Adansonia Digitata L. By M. Sidibe, J. T. Williams, A. Hughes, N. Haq, R. W. Smith
Article was first published on Nopoku - May 20th, 2017