Jojoba oil is the golden to light yellow, and odorless thin substance obtained by cold pressing the seed kernels of the evergreen shrub Simmondsia chinensis.
The oil makes up approximately 50% of the jojoba seed by weight, and simmondsin is one of its principal component.
This oil is different from other common plant oils, since it is composed almost completely (97%) of wax esters of monounsaturated, straight-chain acids and alcohols with high molecular weights (carbon chain lengths from 36 to 46). This makes jojoba oil and its derivative jojoba esters more similar to sebum and whale oil than to traditional vegetable oils.
Jojoba seed oil is outstandingly stable. It never becomes rancid, and can tolerate heating at between 295°C and 380°C over four days without alteration.
It contains proteins, vitamins (especially E), minerals, and a waxy substance that mimics collagen.
Well known to Native Americans for its medicinal purposes, jojoba oil is applied in folk remedies to treat diseases such as sunburn, renal colic, obesity, cancer, chaffed skin, hair loss, headache, cuts, bruises, wounds and sore throat. In addition, it was used for curing the suppression of the urine arising from mucus concretions and for facilitating childbirth.
About Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C. K. Schneid.)
Simmondsia chinensis, known as jojoba, is the only member of the Simmondsiaceae family. It is a woody evergreen perennial shrub that produces small seeds containing waxy liquid.
The plant, which originates from the deserts of USA, is native to Southern Arizona, Sonora and Baja California. However, it is now planted in many other deserts across the world. In Egypt, for example, it is known to be cultivated in the Ismailia desert.
In humid areas, the plant may grow up to a height of 3 meters, whereas in arid areas it remains in a semi-prostrate form as a low mound of 20-50 cm in height.
Jojoba is considered to be drought-resistant, and physiologically active the entire year. It has male and female flowers, the former usually solitary and the latter grouped in dense clusters.
Its fruits are dehiscent capsules containing 1, and more rarely, 2 or 3 large (1.5 to 3cm) acorn-like seeds. S. chinensis seeds, light brown to black in color, are known to produce a colorless and odorless oil (or liquid wax), which has an exclusive chemical structure within the plant world.
Seeds of jojoba contain approximately 50% oil, which is actually a wax made of long chain monoesters of C20 and C22 fatty acids and alcohols with almost no triglycerides.
Jojoba may have several taproots that have been observed at depths of 10 meters. The life span of jojoba is over 100 years, and may exceed 200 years in some cases.
S. chinensis is a unique plant in many ways, and its therapeutic importance was early noted by the Native Americans.
Other common names for jojoba oil include: Jojoba, pig nut, goat nut, goat nut, deer nut, jojowi, buck nut, coffee nut, coffee bush, coffee berry, lemon leaf, quinine plant, quinine nut, wild hazel and gray box bush.
Chemical Composition of Jojoba Oil
Jojoba seed oil is mainly made of fatty acids, as well as esters composed entirely of straight chain alcohols. Both the acid and alcohol portions of jojoba oil have 20 or 22 carbon atoms, and each has one unsaturated bond. Waxes of this type are difficult to synthesize.
Normally, eicosenoic (55.50 %), erucic (20.43 %) and oleic (19.01 %) acids are the most abundant, saturated and unsaturated, fatty acids in Simmondsia chinensis seed oil.
Simmondsins, the major molecules present in jojoba, are known as antifungal, antifeedant, and insecticidal agents. However, the impact of the pure molecule simmondsin has not been described yet, and its effect has not been compared to that of the complete seed extract containing phenolic compounds.
Properties of Jojoba Oil
Jojoba seed oil has many medicinal benefits such as:
- Wound healing
- Skin disorder healing (such as acne and psoriasis)
Uses of Jojoba Seed Oil
Of more than 250,000 identified plant species, Jojoba is the only plant which produces significant quantities of liquid wax esters like the natural restorative esters produced by human sebaceous glands (sebum). Hence, it can be used as natural emollient for all skin types and hair. In cosmetics industry Jojoba oil is used in a number of skin care products, mainly as a moisturizer, also in hair conditioners and as lubricant.
The wax is stable and resistant to both oxidation and rancidity. Therefore, jojoba seed oil is used as a carrier substance for oxidation sensitive substances such as vitamin A.
In addition, Jojoba liquid wax is useful in the stabilization of penicillin products. In fact, it has been shown to be the finest liquid wax for this purpose.
Moreover, Simmondsia chinensis seed oil is used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy and massage therapy.
Besides, it is used as unmodified and modified derivatives to elaborate cosmetics (hair and skin products), pharmaceuticals, dietetic foods, lubricants, polishing products, surfactants, antifoam, resins, coatings, and as a material for production of biodiesel.
Jojoba has been used for acne prone skin to dissolve clogged pores and support the natural pH balance of the skin. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties, making it helpful for eczema, psoriasis, and inflamed skin.
The oil of S. chinensis is great for skin and hair care, specially for dry scalp, dandruff, cuticles and nails, and to attenuate wrinkles by increasing hydration. Also, it can prevent or reduce stretch marks.
Jojoba seed oil is indicated for oily, combination, or acne skin types, although all skin types will benefit. Its comedogenic rating is 2.
Benefits of Jojoba Oil
The flavonoid profile of S. chinensis seeds may place this family among other families that are rich in flavones methyl ethers, and flavonoid content, which make the pericarp a valuable source for antioxidant and hepatoprotective compounds.
A 2016 study, evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of jojoba seed oil in rats fed diet contaminated with aflatoxin (AF).
Results concluded that jojoba seed oil can be incorporated in AF-contaminated feed to protect against hepatotoxicity and DNA damage induced by AF.
In a study published in the Pharmacognosy Journal, in january 2019, a significant antibacterial activity was observed against B. subtilis, S. aureus, P. vulgaris and P. mirabilis.
Besides, a high activity was perceived for jojoba seed oil at minimum inhibitory concentration level of 12.5 mg/ml. Interestingly, S. typhimurium, E. coli and Ps. aeruginosa were found to be highly resistant.
In conclusion, the findings suggest that jojoba oil may have a medicinal potential as natural antibacterial agent.
Research showed that jojoba seed oil supplement resulted in a 40% reduction of blood cholesterol and altered lipoprotein pattern, which may be attributed to the higher omega-3 fatty acid content.
Simmondsia chinensis extract has been reported to be useful as a dietary supplement for use in a weight control regiment in humans, a component of functional food, a food additive, a medical food, or as a therapeutic agent.
In fact, Native Americans used the oil as a diet supplement and as an appetite suppressant when food was not available.
The potential anti-inflammatory activity of jojoba seed oil was evaluated in a number of experimental models.
Results showed that jojoba oil caused reduction of carrageenin-induced rat paw edema, in addition to diminishing prostaglandin E2 level in the inflammatory exudates.
In a test for anti-inflammatory potential utilizing the chick’s embryo chroioallantoic membrane, the oil also caused significant lowering of granulation tissue formation.
Topical application of it reduced ear edema induced by croton oil in rats. In the same animal model, the oil of jojoba also lowered neutrophil infiltration, as indicated by decreased myeloperoxidase activity.
In addition, S. chinensis oil ameliorated histopathological changes affected by croton oil application. In the lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in air pouch in rats,
Besides, it reduced nitric oxide level and tumor necrosis factor-alpha release.
In conclusion, research demonstrates the effectiveness of jojoba oil in combating inflammation in several experimental models. Further investigations are needed to identify the active constituents responsible for the anti-inflammatory property of jojoba oil.
Research studies suggest that S. chinensis oil has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and wound healing properties, and that it can be used as a remedy for skin disorders, sunburn and chapped skin, among others.
In human studies, sulfurized jojoba seed oil was effective in the treatment of acne while the unmodified wax was used for treatment of psoriasis. Furthermore, dermatological research suggests that Jojoba oil may help to reduce inflammation.
The antioxidant effect of Simmondsia chinensis seed oil may be due to the presence of gallic acid, an endogenous plant phenol, abundantly present in tea, grapes, berries, fruits and also wine .
Kim et al. reported the potent free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties of gallic acid.
The presence of rutin in S. chinensis oil, on the other hand, may also prevent fructose-induced oxidative stress and production of ROS by scavenging hydrogen peroxide. However, the direct antioxidant effect of rutin can not explain the long-lasting effect on human health, given its relatively short half-life.
Hyperglycemia occurs during diabetes and insulin resistance. It causes oxidative stress by increasing reactive oxygen species levels, leading to cellular damage. Polyphenols play a central role in defense against oxidative stress.
An interesting study in 2018, investigated the antioxidant properties of simmondsin, a pure molecule present in jojoba seeds, and of the aqueous extract of jojoba seeds on fructose-induced oxidative stress in RINm5f beta cells.
The results showed beneficial effect of jojoba seed extracts on hyperglycemia-Induced oxidative stress.
However, additional studies on the effect of S. chinensis seeds on the prevention of diabetes and its complications are necessary.
Warnings and Contraindication When Using Jojoba Seed Oil
Jojoba seed oil is a non-toxic, non-comedogenic (does not clog pores), and hypoallergenic substance, and has been widely used for decades in cosmetics with no reported adverse effects.
The oil of jojoba contain cyanide chemicals and other harmful chemicals which makes it non edible, and unsafe after long term of oral consumption. However, in the event that jojoba seed oil is accidentally ingested, most of it is eliminated in the feces, with little getting distributed in the body.
No side effects are expected with the topical use of jojoba oil in recommended amounts, although allergic reactions are a rare possibility.
Since S. chinensis oil does not oxidize or become rancid, it is added to other oils to extend their shelf life.
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Where to buy Jojoba Oil?
Although jojoba seed oil is not hard to find, it is always best to choose a reputable seller. This assures us that the product contains all the therapeutic properties we are looking for.
Normally, good quality oils, can be found in specialized natural herb stores. If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:
Jojoba Seed Oil by SWB: It is a natural triglyceride oil obtained from cold pressing the seeds of the Jojoba Plant (Simmondsia chinensis). Jojoba Seed Oil is actually a naturally occurring, liquefied form of vegetable wax.
It is unique because its components have a striking similarity with that of sebum, an oily matter secreted by the oil glands present under the skin’s surface. It is this oily substance that gives the soft and smooth texture to the human skin and hair. Shop here.