One of the unsung heroes of the oily world, carrot seed oil has some impressive benefits, particularly against dangerous bacteria and fungi. In fact, some studies suggest that it can even destroy certain cancer cells.
Among its more popular uses, carrot seed oil can be included in skin care products as a skin-protecting agent. It’s also useful for natural hair moisturizing products.
Rich in antioxidants, carrot seed oil deserves more laud than it has received in the past. I believe you’ll agree after reading all of the incredible benefits it can provide.
Carrot Seed Oil Nutrition Facts
When discussing carrot seed oil, it’s important to know specifically what you’re discussing. Studies are lacking on the benefits of carrot seed essential oil, while several exist that examine the benefits of carrot seed oil, a cold-pressed oil derived from carrot seeds.
A common misconception is that carrot oil, a carrier or base oil, is the same thing as carrot seed oil. According to Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, they are often misquoted or erroneously interchanged. This is an important distinction, because carrot oil is rich in vitamin A and does not provide an essential oil. (1)
Conversely, carrot seed oil and carrot seed essential oil have no vitamin A, although they include incredible antioxidants to help protect against disease.
Carrot seed oil is extracted from the carrot plant, Daucus carota. Extracts vary, since there are so many species of carrot. However, it typically contains three bioflavonoids, all derivatives of luteolin, a cancer-fighting antioxidant found in many fruits. (2, 3)
5 Benefits of Carrot Seed Oil
1. Helps Kill Fungi and Bacteria
The most thoroughly researched quality of carrot seed oil is its ability to kill certain bacteria and fungi. Indeed, some of the viruses it’s powerful against are concerning for a number of reasons. Many are common in developing nations, and the oil may provide a unique way to fight these illnesses, if developed properly.
Here are the bacteria and fungi that seem to be most affected by it:
Dermatophytes — Keratin is required for these fungi to grow. Infections from dermatophytes typically affects the hair, skin and nails and result from direct contact with people, animals and soil infected with the fungus. (4, 5)
Cryptococcus neoformans — For most people, infection with C. neoformans is not symptomatic or recognized. However, in some people (particularly those with compromised immune systems), this infection can result in lung symptoms and nervous system ailments such as confusion, headache and fever. (6)
Salmonella — This bacteria is estimated to cause a million foodborne illnesses each year in the United States alone. A common culprit of “food poisoning,” salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps that occur 12 or more hours after exposure and can last for four to seven days, usually solved without treatment (although some cases result in hospitalization).
Candida — Yeast infections caused by Candida albicans are the most common yeast infection. While it’s not always considered “serious,” compromised immunity can worsen its effects. Even without a life-threatening component, sufferers of Candida infection are often exhausted, experience brain fog and may have chronic sinus and allergy problems.
Acinetobacter — Strains of the gram-negative bacterium Acinetobacter cause a number of serious infections including: pneumonia, UTIs, secondary meningitis, infective endocarditis and burn/wound infections. It is of most concern in hospital environments. (9)
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia — This is another virus that is normally seen only in hospital environments. Infection with S. maltophilia is rare but can occur in cancer patients, those undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, patients with cystic fibrosis and people on broad-spectrum antibiotics. (10)
Aedes albopictus — OK, this last one isn’t a virus; it’s a mosquito. But it’s significant, because carrot seed oil can kill larvae of this Asian tiger mosquito. Why should you care? Well, Aedes albopictus mosquitoes often spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika and a variety of other dangerous viruses. (11)
2. May Fight Cancer Cells
In the fight against cancer, researchers consistently look at substances by beginning in the lab and seeing what impact, if any, they have on different cancer cell lines.
An animal study was conducted to investigate the effect of carrot seed oil on skin cancer (namely, squamous cell carcinoma) in rats and found it to be particularly potent. (14)
3. Included as Part of Natural Sunscreen Option
An oft-cited study about the benefits of carrot seed oil was published in 2009 by an Indian university. Various sources claim that the study found that it has an SPF of around 40, making it a useful UV-blocking agent.
Well, close. But not exactly.
The study was actually investigating how to valuate SPF from natural products with various herbal ingredients. Researchers found that a product containing a number of herbal ingredients, including carrot seed oil, turn out to have an SPF of 40 or so. (15)
Because of the way natural ingredients interact to create the SPF found in the tested product, it’s unlikely that carrot seed oil on its own actually has a significant enough SPF to be used in place of chemical-rich, conventional sunscreens. It does, though, seem to be a part of a natural sunscreen recipe that can be useful.
Interestingly, an extract of the much less common purple carrot seems to be particularly powerful in blocking harmful UV rays. I will note that this extract is not definitely carrot seed oil, according to available study data; however, the concept is fascinating. (16)
4. Powerful Antioxidant
Like many oils and essential oils, carrot seed oil contains powerful antioxidants that can help to protect against disease. (17)
Specifically, these polyphenols have been studied in animal tests for their liver-protecting qualities. Carrot seed oil shields the liver from damage and exhibits strong protection against free radicals that cause oxidative stress and cell damage. (18, 19)
5. Supports Skin and Hair Health
Traditionally, carrot seed oil is a popular beauty product for moisturizing skin and hair. While no studies confirm its effectiveness for moisture-rich properties, it is safe for topical use and may help provide these benefits. It’s likely it can protect skin and hair from damage because of its antioxidant load.
Carrot seed oil has also been used in natural medicine to heal abscesses, boils and ulcers. (20) Again, this is an unproven effect on the scientific front, but the oil is unlikely to worsen these conditions.
History & Interesting Facts
In ancient medicine, carrot seed oil was known for its carminative properties, according to unconfirmed sources. (21) While that may sound rather fancy, it actually means people used it to relieve flatulence.
Not much is actually known about the origin of carrot seed oil, but it is most often obtained from wild carrots in European countries.
Like I mentioned earlier, there is a common misconception about carrot seed oil as compared to carrot oil. Carrot seed oil does not contain vitamin A, although its antioxidants are nothing to scoff at, while carrot oil (functioning as a base or carrier oil) does contain vitamin A.
How to Find and Use Carrot Seed Oil
As with all oil products, be aware of the quality of what you purchase and always buy from reputable, well-sourced companies. Carrot seed oil should always be cold-pressed from organic carrots (if available).
Remember, carrot seed oil, carrot seed essential oil and carrot oil are distinctively different from one another, so pay close attention to what you’re actually purchasing. Carrot seed oil is pressed from wild carrot seeds, while carrot seed essential oil is steam-distilled and may come from either the seeds or the carrot itself.
It has a unique scent, but carrot seed oil can be used in essential oil diffusers and various aromatherapy practices. You can also use it directly on the skin as another way to take advantage of its many benefits.
Carrot seed oil is one ingredient in my DIY face scrub that can help to remove dead skin and leave your face feeling supple and glowing. Because of the combination of ingredients, this scrub can help to repair dry, damaged skin and potentially aid in wrinkle prevention.
Possible Side Effects/Caution
Many sources suggest using carrot seed oil in recipes and internally in a variety of ways. Because no research has been conducted on the efficacy of ingesting it, consult with your primary care or naturopathic physician before ingesting it as a part of recipes.
Pregnant and nursing mothers should especially avoid ingesting it.
If you experience an allergic reaction (externally or otherwise) after using carrot seed oil, discontinue use immediately and consult your physician.
Carrot seed oil has no known medicinal interactions.
- Carrot seed oil is a useful cold-pressed oil from wild carrot seeds.
- Carrot seed oil and carrot seed essential oil do not contain vitamin A (although they have several antioxidants), while carrot oil, derived from the actual carrot plant, does contain a large amount of vitamin A.
- The benefits of carrot seed oil include antifungal, antibacterial and anticancer qualities, due to the bioflavonoids it contains.
- Because of its antioxidant content, carrot seed oil is an ingredient in a natural sunscreen product and may offer some sun protection, as well as skin-repairing to dry and damaged skin.
- By using carrot seed oil in aromatherapy, you may reap the benefits of its antioxidants by preventing diseases caused by oxidative stress.
- Try using carrot seed oil as part of a homemade face scrub to exfoliate, moisturize and protect skin.
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