Monday, April 23, 2018

CO2 Lipids - Fixed Oils

The first of a series of blog articles, putting everything I currently know about the CO2 extracted oils that I love in one place, for easy reference.

Endless gratitude to Madeleine Kerkhof Hayes, author of "Complementary Nursing in End of Life Care" and the just published "CO2 Extracts in Aromatherapy" and Mark Webb, of AromaMedix.Inc. in Australia, author of "Bush Sense" for their generous sharing of their expertise, as well as my friends Peter May, PhD from Flavex and Atanas Krachmarov, from Ecomaat, two gentlemen who prove that one can prosper in this industry with ethics and integrity. Much gratitude to all of you. Also, for information not about CO2 extracts, but about the Lipids themselves, the fixed oils no matter how extracted, many thanks to Susan Parker, whose book The Power of The Seed is an invaluable introduction to the healing powers of the carrier oils themselves.

The products of CO2 extraction available for use in Aromatherapy fall into three general classes:

First, the fixed oils, the lipids, sometimes called carrier oils. These may be used undiluted on the skin but are more apt to be used as an ingredient in a rare and special skincare product, blended with other lipids to form a serum or a cream or a healing ointment.

Second, the Aromatics. These are similar in aroma to steam distilled essential oils, or, sometimes, solvent extracted absolutes.In most cases the aroma of the CO2 extract is considered closer to that of the raw botanical, and in many cases they have different and increased therapeutic effects.

The third category is what, for lack of a more precise terminology, are what I call the herbal extracts. They do not resemble any essential oil that I know of; they often come from plants that do not produce essential oils.  Used at very low dilution they may be substituted for an infused herbal oil, giving more reliable results.  In some cases, until now, there has been no natural extract available for topical use, so they really expand the scope of the aromatic toolbox available to us.

Why would we reach for CO2 extracted fixed oils instead of the more traditional cold pressed oils?

At Nature's Gift, our experience has been, when we have been able to sample both forms of an oil, for example Evening Primrose, Borage Seed, or Pomegranate,  the CO2 extracted oil always has a more pleasing "skin feel' in our very subjective opinion.  The fact that they are produced with extremely low temperatures and high pressure extends the life of the more fragile oils since all commercial processes, even "cold" pressing do create some heat which affects both the texture and the shelf life of the resulting oil.

Another benefit is extended shelf life.  With the most short-lived lipids, let's say Borage Seed, for an example, the producer often adds traces of a safe, natural anti-oxidant, thus increasing the shelf life from a few months to perhaps two years.

All of the oils on this list may be used at full strength in skin care, but in most cases are blended with other oils, to compliment them, thus forming a serum or the base of a healing balm or salve.

Some of our favorites:

Amaranth Seed CO2 Extract

Amaranthus caudatus, organically produced, seeds CO2 extracted, Germany.

We had several requests from European clients to carry Amaranth Seed CO2 and I have since learned it is an European anti-aging secret. The Amaranth plant itself has been cultivated and used since ancient times and was considered sacred by the Incas and Aztecs. While it is not as well known in the United States, it is widely used and praised internationally for skin care.

If you love the effects of our Pomegranate CO2, then Amaranth Seed CO2 is definitely worth exploring! Please note the Amaranth is not nearly as thick as our Pomegranate extract. It is very light and absorbs amazingly quickly.

Rich in polyunsaturated fats, it is an excellent preventative for sagging, aging skin, and mature skin, as well as dry, irritated, itchy skin caused by harsh winter weather. (Perhaps this is why it is SO popular in Russia, with their long, extremely cold winters.) It can be added without heating to any skincare remedy, such as facial or hand lotions, liquid castile soap, or unscented shower gel. (I’m thinking I would like to try it with our unscented Bliss Bath for chapped winter skin.)

Amaranth is light yellow in color, with a slightly fruity/earthy aroma. (Think a VERY faint scent of fresh from the garden beets.) Thought to limit the loss of water from the skin, (Trans-Epidermal Water Loss reduction), rich in omega-6, and naturally occurring squalane, making it an excellent moisturizer.

Also known as “love-lies-bleeding,” plant, it was once used to stem the flow of blood from cuts and the oil itself is said to have wound healing properties, alongside anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory uses.  It can be left on the skin in a lotion or washed off if used as a component in a shower gel or soap. A recommended dilution for use on skin would be somewhere between 3–10%.
Although it shines in skin care, it is reportedly helpful with alleviating stress and lifting emotional heaviness, lightly stimulating the senses. We haven’t explored its emotional benefits just yet but will keep you posted once we do.

Its constituents are close to 20%  Palmitic Acid, about 3% Stearic Acid,  23% Oleic Acid, and over 50% Linoleic acid.   It also has traces of Palmitoleic Acid, Vaccenic Acid, alpha Linolenic acid and close to 1% Arachnidonic Acid.  (Primarily found in Pomegranate Oil.)

Borage Seed CO2
Borago officinalis, extracted from organically grown seeds, Germany.

Borage Blossom
Borage seed fixed oil is considered one of the “luxury oils,” called for in many skincare formulations, along with Evening Primrose CO2, an oil frequently associated with it.
We recently had to discontinue offering Borage seed oil because of its very short shelf life.  (I was embarrassed at a resent class when I had been asked to present samples of the studied fixed oils. We distributed the samples to the students. When the instructor started teaching Borage Seed oil, she opened the sample and looked at me... the sample was "past its prime." Despite storing under nitrogen and in a refrigerator, we ended up throwing away a LOT of Borage Seed Oil. So we stopped making it available.

Enter this amazing CO2 extracted Borage oil. Like cold-pressed Borage Seed Oil is it higher in gamma linolenic acid than any oil we have yet discovered.

Our description of its predecessor: “Borage Oil is the richest source of GLA (gamma linolenic acid-aka-Omega 6). To prevent oxidation of this valuable component the oil should be stored in a cool dark place. It is easily destroyed by heat, light, humidity, and exposure to oxygen. We store ours under a nitrogen blanket."

Externally Borage Seed Oil is helpful for psoriasis, eczema, prematurely aged skin; good for regenerating and stimulating skin cell activity. It is very penetrating. Borage Seed Oil is said to defer wrinkling, so adding between 2 and 10% to any anti-aging treatment seems appropriate.”

According to author and palliative care educator Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes, a blend of Borage Seed CO2 and Evening Primrose CO2 in a base of Organic Jojoba is very effective for itching; including itching from oncological issues, dermatological infections, and a range of other causes. She also says it is a very gentle healing oil good for extra sensitive skin and baby/infant care. (external only)

In texture Borage Seed Oil, CO2 Extracted is one of the heavier fixed oils, but seems to absorb fairly readily into the skin. It is a golden yellow in color. We will be adding this to our beloved Cleopatra’s Secret Serum, and putting small bottles of it in our Eczema/Psoriasis Sampler and our Mature Skin Sampler. I recommend using it as part of a blend of other fixed oils rather than “freestanding.” The producer recommends using it at anywhere between 2 and 10%.

The manufacturer recommends storing under an inert gas. We will be storing the bulk stock under nitrogen and under refrigeration. We would recommend decanting into smaller bottles as you use some of the contents, or topping it off with our Oxygen Barrier.

Its constituents are 10+% Palmitic Acid, 38% Linoleic Acid, 19% gamma Linolenic acid, 5% Stearic Acid, 4% of Gadoleic acid, and 2% Nervonic Acid, with traces of Palmitoleic Acid, Vaccenic Acid, alpha Linolenic acid, Arachidonic acid, and Behenic Acid.

Chia Seed CO2 Extract
Salvia hispanica, organically grown seeds, CO2 total extracted in Germany.

Chia Seeds
I have been receiving requests from clients to offer this new skincare oil, and finally broke down and requested a sample.  Oh. My. Goodness! is very light, pale gold in smells...sweet...Jim thought like candy...I thought like a of Jim’s staff thought “bake shop” someone else said “donuts!”... a sweet, baked goods aroma. Not strong or overwhelming, and it fades from the skin in a few minutes. Now...why use it, why add it to your skincare routine or products?

Chia Seed CO2 Extract is unique among all our carrier oils and extracts since it has the highest concentration of omega-3 linolenic acid available today. Alpha linolenic acid helps skin and hair maintain moisture. In addition to moisturizing, Chia Seed Oil helps skin elasticity and is said to help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Chia Seed Extract’s skin-smoothing characteristics lead to soft, silky, and healthy skin. Chia Seed CO2 Extract can also be used for effective moisturization in hair and scalp formulations. It is also said to prevent drying and scaling.

I think we are going to add some of this luxurious skin smoother to our Cleopatra’s Secret Serum. And I am going to use just a drop of it under my lip gloss. And try adding just a tiny drop to patches of dry, itchy skin. I’m told it is a wonderful cuticle and nail conditioner. Basically, it is said to soften and soothe skin, and prevent “transdermal water loss”...preventing more dryness.

You can use this one, by the drop, all by itself, or add to your favorite body oil or lotion. I have seen recommendations for use from 0.5% to 5%, although I do enjoy a single drop at 100%.

A cream containing 4% Chia Seed Oil was found effective in reducing pruritis (itching) and dryness/scaling in a published study. The authors of the study suggest “additional study is also necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of topical application of chia seed oil as an adjuvant therapy for chronic eczematous dermatitis such as atopic dermatitis with pruritus and xerosis (patches of abnormally dry skin).” We are going to add a small bottle of Chia Seed Oil to our Eczema/Psoriasis Sampler Kit and our Dry Skin Sampler.

Chia Seed's constituents are: Palmitic Acid, 7%, Stearic Acid 3%, Oleic Acid 5%, Linoleic Acid 18%, Alpha Linolenic acid over 64%,  with traces of Palmitoleic Acid, Vaccenic Acid and Arachnidonic Acid.

Coconut CO2

Cocos nucifera, extracted from organically produced cold-pressed coconut oil, Germany.

An aromatic delight! This one is truly just for fun. When I handed Christi the sample to evaluate,
she took one sniff, looked at me and said “Coppertone.” This extract brings back the scent of summer.
Like our Virgin Coconut Oil, this CO2 extract is solid at cool room temperature, but liquifies at body temperature. We considered packaging it in jars, but thought of how those jars would leak in the heat of summer. It is packaged in glass bottles, ready to be popped into a cup of hot water to quickly liquify.
Constituents: The oil contains mainly triglycerides of saturated fatty acids (mainly lauric and myristic) and delta lactones (octa-, deca- and dodecalactone) responsible for the typical coconut flavor and aroma.
Uses? Wherever you want an intense coconut aroma and/or flavour. I see it blended with our Cocoa CO2 to flavour lip balms or body balms. I see it in solid perfumes for a sweet summertime note. (Wondering how it will blend with Osmanthus’ apricot sweetness.)  Enjoy!

Cumin, Black, CO2 (Black Seed Oil)
Nigella sativa, seeds organically grown in India, CO2 Total extracted in Germany. Contains both the very rare essential oil (at 2.5%) and the more readily available fixed oil.  Often called "Black Seed Oil."

Black Cumin Seeds

Robert Tisserand talked about Black Cumin essential oil in his Essential Oil Chemistry and Pharmacology seminar, singling out its component thymoquinone as a powerful anti-oxidant which may play a role both in inhibiting inflammation and aging. I searched for the essential oil fruitlessly.

There are lots of sources of the cold pressed fixed oil, which has its own uses (among them, according to Tisserand, the fixed oil is radioprotective... protecting healthy cells against damage from radioactivity.) A brief PubMed search shows a long list of research studies showing the use of “Black Seed Oil” (aka Black Cumin Seed Oil, Nigella sativa), but the abstracts seldom state whether they are using the cold pressed oil or the essential oil.

Then I realized that the CO2 total extract contains both the fixed oil and the essential oil which we have been seeking. The CO2 extract contains approximately 2.5% of the essential oil, which would be the equivalent of using a 2.5% dilution in a fixed oil, a skinsafe dilution. Black Seed Oil (Black Cumin Seed Oil,) is considered a “cure-all” in many herbal schools.

Applied topically it is believed to ease pain caused by inflammation, and perhaps to have some effects on topical allergic reactions. It is believed to be a powerful anti-allergen. If using to treat contact dermatitis I would suggest patch testing first to make very sure it is well received.
The fixed oil portion is highest in linoleic, oleic, and palmitic fatty acids but also contains some components that are unique to Black Seed Oil. The essential oil portion is high in rare thymoquinone, discussed above, and cymene, also found in Cumin and Thyme essential oils. Contains organic rosemary antioxidant extract to extend shelf life.

Please note, our CofA contains both a listing of the fixed oil components as well as a GC analysis of the volatile essential oil components. We are packaging this CO2 total in our standard essential oil bottles. We suggest the purchase of an Essential Oil Key to easily remove and replace the orifice reducer for your convenience, since this brown extract is fairly thick and will be difficult to pour through an orifice reducer. We also have found that using a Mini-Pipette will allow you to dispense a few drops through the hole of the orifice reducer.

Evening Primrose CO2
Oenothera biennis, CO2 extracted from organic seeds in Germany. 

Evening Primrose Flower
I was recently introduced to this lovely CO2 extracted fixed oil and fell in love.
The negative of both Borage Seed and Evening Primrose cold pressed oils is their extremely short shelf life. The CO2 extraction, on the other hand, is said to have a shelf life of at least two years under proper storage. (The producer stabilizes it with Rosemary CO2 anti-oxidant.)   It contains 75–80 % linoleic acid and 8–13 % gamma-linolenic acid (both omega 6 acids), in addition oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid.
External: psoriasis, eczema, helps to prevent prematurely aged skin, aids wound healing and healing of any sort of scars.
Application of Evening Primrose Oil is said to be helpful in treating dry or scaly skin no matter what the cause. Some have found it helpful as a base oil in treating psoriasis. It is said to be a useful component in a blend to help treat dandruff.
The producer of this CO2 extract recommends it in moisturizing creams against dry skin, antiwrinkle, in cases of impure skin, acne, neurodermatitis, scaly and chapped skin, also in hand cream, lip balms, etc.
Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes recommends this light green CO2 extraction in blends for use with itching, eczema, and scaly skin. She recommends it for use with dry and sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis, reddening of the skin from any cause including stress, seborrheic dermatitis, skincare in case of lymphedema, and for lubricating vaginal dryness.  She also says a blend of it, Borage Seed CO2, and Organic Jojoba oil can be effective for itching.

It is a valuable addition to any anti-aging or anti-wrinkle blend, when used at up to 20% of the entire carrier blend. Jane Buckle, PhD recommends the use of Evening Primrose oil in elder care to aid the elasticity of aging skin.
Internal­: for premenstrual tension, multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems.The product is also applied as nutrition supplement in form of capsules for internal use.

Contraindications: Evening Primrose’s high levels of linoleic acid may irritate some sensitive skin. In which case, blend it with an oil low in linoleic acid, such as Seabuckthorn Pulp oil or Jojoba.

Enough for  now, more to come.  See part 2 here.

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