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Why Sunflower Oil?

USDA Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus annuus) which has a high Vitamin E content and was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat snakebite, cuts, bruises, pruritus, warts, and inflammation, including rheumatism.

Within 1 hour of one application of sunflower seed oil, however, the pace of skin barrier function recovery significantly quickened. The effect was sustained 5 hours after application (Acta Paediatr. 2002;91:546-54).

In a study of the antimicrobial effects of ozonized sunflower oil (Oleozon), the product demonstrated efficacy on all bacterial strains tested, including mycobacteria, staphylococci, streptococci, enterococci, Pseudomonas, and Escherichia coli. Oleozon was most effective against mycobacteria.
The authors concluded that sunflower oil’s wide availability may make Oleozon competitive with other antimicrobial agents, and suggested that clinical trials comparing it with other antimicrobials are warranted (J. Appl. Microbiol. 2001;90:279-84).

Seed oils represent some of the earliest cosmetic products used by humans. since pre-history we have used many of the same oils used for cooking,eating and also topically for healthy skin and hair. These oils are composed mainly of lipids that condition and nourish, soothe, moisturize, and return elasticity to the skin and hair. Modern research has uncovered that these nutritional seed oils don’t just contain lipids but bioactive lipids, called essential fatty acids (EFAs). The importance of these bioactive lipids in proper skin functioning is clear. Research has shown EFAs to play an important role in proper skin barrier function and anti-inflammatory and anti-irritancy activity.

Essential Fatty Acids: the bioactive components of natural oils
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are fatty acids that are required for normal health and wellbeing of the body but must be obtained through the diet, as we cannot synthesize them.There are two families of EFAs: omega-3 and omega-6. The Omega-3 family is comprised of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and its longer chain derivatives eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); the Omega-6 family is comprised of linoleic acid (LA) and its longer chain derivatives such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA).The nutritional and health benefits of EFAs are extensive – they are required for normal health and well-being, growth and development, and treatment of numerous conditions. They are essential in the manufacturing and repair of cell membranes, enabling cells to obtain optimum nutrition, expel harmful waste products and repair itself. A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, fertility, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection.

EFAs and the skin
EFAs are necessary for proper skin function. Deficiencies include epidermal hyperproliferation, abnormal lipid barrier structure and function, and altered production of antiinflammatory compounds; resulting in a plethora of skin problems including atopic eczema, acne and psoriasis.

The symptoms in these skin disorders are reversible by the addition of EFAs in the diet, or by topical application. Increasing the levels of key EFAs increases cell membrane fluidity, enhances barrier function and repair, decreases trans-epidermal water loss, improves moisturization, cell signaling, cell immunity, and anti-inflammatory activity. Not only are EFAs used as cosmeceutical agents, they are also used as carrier oils and penetration enhancers for the absorption of other bio-actives.

EFAs Improve skin barrier function
Topical EFAs have been shown to improve the structure and function of cell membranes and improve skin barrier function. Improving skin barrier function reduces transepidermal water loss, leaving the skin more hydrated, moisturized and protected. While other moisturizers may improve skin dryness, roughness and water loss, they are often temporary and do not biologically strengthen the integrity of the skin barrier as EFAs do.EFAs are protective agents against environmental insults such as detergents, bacteria, contact allergens or decreased humidity. They also enhance barrier recovery and wound healing after injury or stress.

Also, Sunflower is used to Bioremediate soil !
Sunflowers have been used to remove lead from contaminated soils in post-Katrina New Orleans, and home-owners suspicious of the soil in their own back yards use sunflowers prior to planting edible crops. Getting rid of the toxic sunflowers, however, requires access to specialist waste-disposal systems.

Bhatt and Indirakutty (1973) reported that 83 kg of sodium could be removed from one hectare of land via accumulation by sunflower plants. The investigators concluded that sunflower plants gradually reduce soil salinity with the harvest of the edible sunflower oil.

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