Apricot Kernel Essential Oil <br/><em>Prunus armeniaca</em>
Challenging ambrosia for the nickname “nectar of the gods”, apricots have been cultivated in India since 3000 BCE. The ancient peoples of China, Persia, and parts of current-day Europe have also sipped and nibbled from this delectable fruit for more than a thousand years. Apricot seeds were even found in an Eneolithic-age archeological excavation in Armenia’s Garni, evidence of the apricot’s role in everyday life, once upon a time.
The fruit wasn’t just cherished for its flavor but for the oil it produced through its seed. It is believed that the oil was first used in ancient Chinese medicine as a treatment for kidney inflammation, constipation and a number of respiratory conditions. Ayurvedic medicine has also used the oils for thousands of years to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis as well as inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine also use the oil for earaches, ulcers and hemorrhoids.
Today, apricot kernel oil remains an important part of everyday life for millions of people around the world. It is most often used as a carrier oil to support and blend essential oils, but it has many redeeming qualities all its own. In fact, U.S.-based Rodale News named apricot kernel oil one of the top four oils for dry skin.
What’s In a Name?
Precocious? Yes! The word “apricot” shares a root word with “precocious”, considered a praecocia, or early ripening, fruit because it ripened earlier in the summer than other stone fruits. Apricot began first as “berikokkia” in Greece, then “al-burquq” in Arabia. There, it traveled to Spain, where it was known as “albaricoque”, and France as “abricot”. Its early English name was “abrecock”, eventually evolving to apricot.
For further evidence that the name, fruit and oil have reached far into a culture’s daily life you have only to turn to that culture’s proverbs and sayings. An old Arabic proverb says, ‘apricots bloom tomorrow,’ ‘Bukra fil mish-mish’ or just “fil mish-mish’. It’s equivalent to ‘when pigs fly’, a testament, perhaps, to the fruit’s presence in Arab life for centuries.
Enjoy Your Own Experience of the Nectar of the Gods
Apricot oil is used in a variety of applications. Its faint aroma and light weight make it an ideal carrier oil for other essential oils. It is also considered an excellent skin moisturiser due to its texture and gamma linoleic acid content. These traits allow the oil to absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a heavy, oily residue while providing needed moisture balance. The oil is a gentle lubricant, perfect for easing the friction of massage.
The lipids in apricot oil are similar to your own skin, so the oil is often used as a skin moisturiser. The oil’s concentration of Vitamins A and E make it especially beneficial for anti-ageing skin care products. It is also sometimes used on the eczema-prone skin for its anti-inflammatory properties and as a massage oil.
This oil is popular for its nourishing of the energy body and its supportive and protective features. Its vibrational qualities are thought to be in synch with the female cosmos, although its protective qualities are gender-neutral. For these reasons, apricot kernel oil is a favorite for magickal applications when combined with certain essential oils.
Do not ingest apricot oil or use it intravenously, as it contains a chemical known as amygdalin which converts to cyanide in the stomach. As a result, it especially not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women to ingest the oil. Contrary to opinion, apricot kernel oil has not been proven to cure cancer.
- Applications of the oil: Aromatherapy, skin care, hair care.
- Botanical Name: Prunus armeniaca or Armeniaca vulgaria
- Common Method of Extraction: This oil is usually cold-pressed or expeller-pressed from apricot kernels.
- Plant Part Typically Used: The kernel of the apricot seed is the source of the oil.
- Color: Apricot kernel oil is clear with a slight yellow tinge.
- Consistency: Medium viscosity with a silky oil texture.
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Faint
- Aromatic Description: Slight nutty aroma