The practice of oiling the hair is one that Indians are not only fond of but also have held onto for multiple years. This started with the tradition of the mother oiling her children’s hair and it is a weekend ritual that most families look forward to. Initially, the oil was extracted from natural sources directly from coconut, onion or from the castor bean. With the evolution of all around us, now we have excellent sources of oils available in the market and we are truly spoilt for choice in this regard.
Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking in some regions of India and in addition to its unique smell and flavor that it adds to the food, it is filled with healthy saturated fats and is an excellent replacement to those unhealthy long-chain saturated fatty acids. In addition to the multiple health benefits, coconut oil nourishes the skin and can be used as a great additive in many scrubs. Also, for the ladies out there, it is a great make-up remover!
Extracted from almond seeds, this oil is enriched with Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Along with being used as an alternative for olive oil for your salad dressings, it has multiple other uses. If you have brittle nails, rubbing a little almond oil to your nails thrice a week gives you healthier and stronger nails. It is excellent at preventing dry skin and can be applied as a night moisturizer.
This oil is commonly used as a taste enhancer in multiple Middle-Eastern, Asian and Indian cuisines. Rich in Vitamin K, Oleic acid and Linoleic acid, this oil is mainly included in cooking as it helps to reduce the overall body heat and helps to control the heat from the spices. Some studies have also shown that sesame oil helps relieve some pain in arthritis. As it is loaded with zinc, it can also be used as a natural sunscreen.
Neem is an ancient herb that has found use in multiple ayurvedic applications over the ages. Also rich in oleic acids, neem oil maintains the suppleness of the skin and is known to eliminate dandruff. This is done in conjugation with the stearic acid in the neem that purges the excess sweat and dirt from the hair. It is also known to boost the collagen levels in the skin thereby prolonging wrinkles.
I remember that whenever anyone complained of constipation, castor oil was the first laxative given. The ricinoleic acid in castor oils, an unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid provides this property and is also a great moisturizer for dry skin. A warm castor oil hair massage twice in a week will greatly help to prevent split ends. Over a long period, castor oil helps to reduce blemishes and scars.
These wonderful essential oils have some overlapping uses and some unique ones of their own. One unique property about each oil is the scent and one may or may not like the scent of a particular oil. I urge you to experiment with them all and pick your favorites to add to your cooking, skin and hair care routine!
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