For their sweet or tart flavour, Apricots have traditionally been consumed in their raw fruit form. They have found popular use in culinary applications, being used both fresh and dry in sweet and savory dishes and drinks, including dried fruits, compotes, marmalades, preserves, fruit jellies, juices, brandies, and liqueurs. Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil, also referred to simply as Apricot Oil, is a lightweight carrier oil pressed from the oil-rich kernels of Apricots.
The Prunus armeniaca botanical – the Apricot tree – is assumed to have received its name from Armenia, a country to which it is native and in which it has been cultivated since ancient times. The name means “Armenian plum.” In Armenia, the wood of Apricot trees is used to create carvings. The musical wind instrument known as the Duduk was also carved from the wood of Apricot trees, and thus came to be called the Apricot pipe. Some historical sources cite India as the place where Apricots were first cultivated before 3000 BC. Apricots were introduced to Rome by the Roman General Lucullus and to Greece by King Alexander the Great. Turkey is currently known to be the largest producer of Apricots.
The Apricot tree’s true origin is still debatable, as it is also believed that they originated in China. The Chinese dictionary defines the word Apricot as “education circle.” This connection to schooling has its roots in the contribution of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and passionate teacher, who gathered his students in a “private school” under an Apricot tree, where he delivered tutorial sessions that were affordable for the common folk to attend, compared to the expensive elite institutes.
In China, even today, a physician is referred to as “The Expert of the Apricot Grove.” Dong Feng, a Chinese physician of the ‘Three Kingdoms Period,’ was known to invite his patients to plant Apricot trees in his orchard once they had recovered from their ailments. Their plants represented their gratitude for his medical treatments and resulted in the growth of numerous Apricot trees that brought countless medicinal benefits to his land. According to Chinese medicine, Apricot Kernel Oil is also associated with fertility and respiration.
Apricot Kernel Oil was used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat swelling, ulcers, tumors, and other malignant growths, an ancient application that circulated around the world and continued to be used for the same purpose in 17th century England. Other traditional approaches to medicine, such as Ayurveda, use Apricot Kernel Oil’s hydrating properties to slow the look of aging and use its immunity-boosting properties to enhance overall health.
Used for many centuries, Apricot Kernel Oil continues to be used in skin, hair, and health care for its softening, hydrating, rejuvenating, and nourishing properties. Due to the fact that Apricots belong to the same family of drupes as Almonds, it is comparable to Almond Oil and can be used as a substitute.
The main chemical constituents of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil are: Oleic Acids, Linoleic Acids, Alpha-Linolenic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.
OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:
LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 6) are known to:
ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-3) is known to:
PALMITIC ACID is known to:
STEARIC ACID is known to:
VITAMIN A is known to:
VITAMIN E is known to:
Used topically, Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil works to moisturize dry, sensitive skin and to smooth out blemishes, wrinkles, fine lines, and other symptoms typical of maturing skin. Its high level of unsaturated fatty acids makes it non-greasy, and its combination of Oleic, Linoleic, and Linolenic acids helps relieve and prevent acne. Those with nut allergies, who want to experience the healthful properties of oils such as Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, can benefit from substituting it with Apricot Kernel Oil, a lighter, enriching alternative that is ideal for use on mature skin. This non-irritating, soothing oil is easily applied topically, as its thin consistency allows it to absorb quickly but penetrate deeply into the skin, leaving it looking and feeling smooth and soft.
Used medicinally, Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil works to soothe problems related to stiff and aching joints as well as symptoms of cold, cough, and constipation. It is often also used to address the problem of hair loss when massaged into the skin and hair. Applied to itchy, chapped, wounded, or sore skin, it facilitates faster healing without leaving a greasy residue. It is ideal for use on acne-prone skin or skin afflicted with eczema and can be added to natural homemade moisturizers for the face and the body.
As illustrated, Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
Although wild Apricot trees can be found growing on the steep slopes of dry, rocky, less fertile hillsides, they thrive in deep, moist, alkaline soil with adequate drainage. They cannot withstand sandy or matted soils, as the lack of adequate drainage leads to rotting in their roots. Due to their restricted tolerance of high summer heat, for ideal growth Apricot trees prefer the warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters characteristic of Mediterranean climates. These regions are found in Spain, Hungary, South Africa, Australia and some parts of the USA, namely California and Utah. Apricot trees are generally hardy with some varieties being able to tolerate winter temperatures as low as -28°C (-20°F); however, severe and prolonged winter conditions will delay growth and may cause death of the plant. Despite being tolerant of droughts, Apricot trees should be irrigated but not over-saturated. Quality Apricots are produced in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
Due to their ability to self-fruit, Apricot trees do not require other Apricot trees in order to pollinate. Bees are the main insect pollinator. Cross-pollinating different varieties of the tree can yield indeterminate results, thus many trees are grown from the cuttings or buds of the most promising plant samplings, which are then grafted onto rootstocks of Plum, Peach, or Almond trees using techniques such as T-Grafting. This produces trees that are nearly identical to the “parent” trees, and it promotes faster fruiting compared to Apricot trees that are grown from their own roots. Apricot trees undergo a period of dormancy, at which time there is a lack of bud growth in order to prevent the fruits from becoming damaged during the cold winter months. Though they need to go through dormancy in order to store nutrients for the following year’s crop, Apricot flower buds can be negatively affected by heavy frost, which can cause death of the plant.
The full fruit bearing potential of Apricot trees begins 2 to 6 years after planting, if they are grown in usual conditions with appropriate maintenance. In Winter, Apricot flower buds begin to bloom. In Spring, Apricot fruits begin to ripen. The Apricot is a drupe, which is a fleshy, thin-skinned fruit with a “stone” at its center that contains the seed. Apricots have a dry, fuzzy outer layer called the Exocarp. This protects the fruit flesh, which is known as the Mesocarp. This encloses the hard, woody Endocarp also called the Seed, Pit, or the Kernel. This ripe kernel is the source of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil.
In late summer, usually from mid-June to mid-July, Apricot fruits are harvested when they grow to the size of golf balls or larger. They are ready to be picked when they turn from green to yellow or orange in color, and exude a strong but sweet scent. When they are ripe, their flesh is firm but softens when squeezed. The harvest process is done manually, and it begins with collecting the fruits, sometimes by shaking the branches with a long stick in order to make them fall to the ground. Once collected, the fruits have their flesh removed from their kernels. The kernels are collected separately.
The Apricot Kernel Oil extraction process begins with softening the hard, outer shells of the Kernels. This is done by soaking the Kernels in water between 10 and 20 minutes, which makes it easier for the shells to break open and release the inner Kernel.
When the extraction process begins, Apricot Kernel Oil is derived from the ripe kernels by cold pressing, which preserves the oil’s quality by protecting it from heat. Sometimes the extraction process requires a previous pulverization of the seeds into a fine powder or a paste. Cold pressing involves placing the Kernels – or the Kernel powder – between two rotating metal plates to apply extreme mechanical pressure that will cause them to break and release their oils. The resultant crude oil is mid-yellow in color with the characteristic scent of Apricot. Oil that undergoes further refinement is a lighter yellow in color and its characteristic scent is fainter.
Throughout the pressing process, an Apricot kernel “press-cake” develops inside the squeezing barrel. This cake consists of solid kernel matter, and it remains inside the barrel, as it is unable to pass through the same openings as the pressed oil. Any residual oil in the cake is extracted by distillation using water or steam. This process removes the remaining volatile components, such as the kernels’ Amygdalin content that would otherwise make the finished product toxic. After the press cakes are heated to draw out the oils, then cooled, fresh seeds are added to contribute a sufficient amount of Emulsins, which are enzymes that help to “hydrolyze” Amygdalin, that is break down the Amygdalin compound.
The press cake is used for various purposes including animal feed, and in some countries like India it is used for developing a bowl-shaped support for weaving wool. The press cake that remains after the pressing of bitter Apricot kernels is not used for animal feed, due to the previously mentioned toxicity of these kernels.
The uses of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils, hair oils, gels, body butters, lip products, perfumes, lotions, creams, soaps, bath products, shampoos, and other hair care products.
Used topically, Apricot Kernel Oil makes a non-greasy, enriching emollient. It can be applied directly to the skin as a revitalizing salve that soothes and prevents acne, inflammation, and dryness. Used under the eyes, it is known to diminish the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness. It can be massaged into the face to gently and effectively cleanse and soften the skin. Additionally, it can be applied in a thick layer as a moisturizing, fast-absorbing face mask that leaves dry, sensitive skin feeling and looking dewy, silky, supple, and evenly toned.
To remove makeup without scrubbing the skin with harsh cleansers, Apricot Kernel Oil can be applied to easily dissolve and remove oil on the skin as well as residue from oil-based makeup. To create a facial oil that is ideal for sensitive skin, 20 ml (0.70 oz.) Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil can be blended with 5 ml (0.20 oz.) Evening Primrose Carrier Oil, 5ml (0.20 oz.) Jojoba Carrier Oil, 2 drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil, 2 drops Rose Essential Oil, 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 4 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil. After all the oils have been mixed together, the blend can be massaged into a freshly cleansed face and neck and left on for up to 20 minutes before being blotted away with a facial tissue. For optimal results, it is recommended that this facial oil be used 3 evenings a week. Those with acne-prone skin may experience the clogging of pores if the Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil is used on its own at 100% concentration. Accordingly, Apricot Kernel Oil may be blended with a non-comedogenic oil, such as Hemp Seed Carrier Oil, and diluted for use in oil cleansers and serums.
Used in a massage, 60 ml (2 oz.) of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil can be blended with 25 drops of a comforting, uplifting essential oil for a mild massage blend for adults. Some suggestions for essential oils include Lavender, Chamomile, Rose, Jasmine, and Ylang-Ylang. Apricot Kernel Oil is reputed to soothe inflammation, enhance skin conditions, and relieve pain, if applied directly to aching temples or sore muscles and joints. For a massage blend that soothes, reduces, and prevents acne as well as scaly skin associated with psoriasis and eczema, blend 60 ml (2 oz.) of Apricot kernel oil with 2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil and 2 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil. Gently massage the blend into the affected areas of skin. Regularly massaging skin with this blend has been known to promote the reparation of damaged skin and to support skin’s healthy by enhancing and maintaining elasticity, suppleness, and clarity.
Used in hair, Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil can detangle and nourish the strands, thereby promoting hair growth. To create a hair mask that not only reduces scalp problems related to dryness, but also results in shiny, oil-free hair, blend 6-8 drops of Apricot Kernel Oil with Almond Carrier Oil and Coconut Carrier Oil. Apply this blend to the hair and scalp by massaging it in a gentle, circular motion. Allow the oil to sit in the hair for 20 minutes before rinsing it out with a mild shampoo and conditioner as usual. Hair will be left feeling soft, silky, and more manageable, especially if this blend is applied 3-4 times a week. This oil blend can also be gently heated and applied as a hot oil hair treatment mask that prevents excessive hair loss that may be caused by dryness, a lack of proper hair nutrition, damage caused by a buildup of chemical agents in the scalp, or by harsh environmental elements and pollutants. Alternatively, 5 drops of Apricot Kernel Oil and 5 drops of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil can be blended with a mild, natural shampoo and conditioner to relieve itchiness, repair split ends, introduce bounce and shine, prevent premature greying, and to promote and regulate the growth of nourished, lustrous hair. The astringent properties of Apricot Kernel Oil ensure that the scalp has a tighter grip on hair follicles, thereby slowing hair loss.
Used medicinally, Apricot Kernel Oil is known to exhibit laxative properties and to generally facilitate the expulsion of bodily toxins through metabolic waste. To create a massage blend that will encourage proper digestion and bowel movements, blend 6 drops of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil with 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and gently massage it into the belly. Apricot Kernel Oil is also recommended for massaging areas of skin that have been affected by cuts, wounds, and burns caused by shaving or by harmful UV radiation. For a massage blend that soothes inflamed skin, protects wounds from becoming infected, and promotes circulation, blend 150 ml (5 oz.) of Apricot Kernel Oil with 2 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil and 6 drops of Ajowan Essential Oil. This blend boosts immunity and promotes sweating to eliminate toxins from the body. This in turn gives relief from cold, congestion, phlegm and mucous, as well as conditions associated with inflammation, such as arthritis and rheumatism.
For an aromatherapy oil blend to clear the respiratory tract and to soothe the conditions that affect it, such as asthma, blend 4 drops of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil with 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and 2 drops of Black Pepper Essential Oil. Add a few drops of this blend to a steaming bowl of water to indulge in a few minutes of steam inhalation. The same blend can also be added to a vaporizing ointment and massaged onto the back, temples, chest, and throat.
APRICOT KERNEL CARRIER OIL
Botanical Name:Prunus armeniaca
Found in: Spain
APRICOT KERNEL CARRIER OIL - COSMETIC GRADE – REFINED
Botanical Name:Prunus armeniaca
Found in: Spain
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, carrier oils are for external use only. Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all other oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or other generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime size amount of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use.
The topical application of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil is not known to have side effects. In the rare chance of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.