Apricots: tiny, fuzzy, sunset-colored fruit that burst from their trees and ripen like manna from heaven. We’ve enjoyed them as a species for over 4,000 years, many of us never realizing that this fruit is a relative of the peach yet is also a member of the rose family. What we do know, however, is that the nutritional benefits of apricots are boundless, given that they are an extremely rich source of minerals that help fight against anything from asthma to anemia and from bronchitis to tuberculosis. Apricot kernels themselves are being researched as treatment to a number of health conditions, including several cancers. Even more potent than the fruit itself, apricot oil (also called apricot kernel oil) is a versatile elixir that possesses a variety of benefits.
For soft, sensual skin…
Thanks to its quick absorption, smooth application, and delightfully light and gentle texture, apricot oil is in fact a popular ingredient for many beauty creams, lotions, and soaps. It serves all skin types, from the oiliest to the most reactive, due to its rehydrating properties and its ability to penetrate the skin without a greasy residue. Apricot oil’s high concentration of gamma linoleic acid (GLA) enables your skin to maintain its moisture balance and sooths it from minor skin conditions such as eczema. Its rich infusion of Vitamins A and E help tighten and tone the skin, slowing the aging process while keeping the skin toned, supple, and elastic. Apart from being a spectacular emollient, apricot oil’s anti-septic, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties also help to prevent skin damage from toxic free radicals.
Here are just a few ways to incorporate it as a facial moisturizer:
- Add a few drops of apricot oil to your regular face serum
- Prepare your own homemade mixture of olive oil and apricot oil.
- Mix: 2 drops of frankincense +2 drops rose oil + 2 drops neroli oil + 6 tsps. Apricot oil + 1 tsps. Warmed honey + dash of finely ground almond.[i]
For lush, healthy hair…
Looking for something inexpensive and effective, with the short-term results but without the dangerous repercussions of today’s harsh and heartless chemical hair products? Pick up a bottle of apricot oil and you’re good to go. It’s safe enough for regular application, and will show immediate improvement in your hair’s growth and texture, broadcasting its improved health. The benefits from apricot oil on the hair begins from the very roots of your hair, keeping them moisturized and clean; massaging your scalp with warmed apricot oil further stimulates the follicles and improves hair growth. From the roots to the tips, you’ll discover an improvement in the sheen and strength of your strands.
- Heat the oil until warm; dip your fingers into the oil and massage gently against your scalp in circular motions for 15-20 minutes. Wrap a towel around your heat and leave overnight; rinse it away the next morning with a mild shampoo.
- Add a few drops of apricot oil into your shampoo and/or conditioner.[ii]
For delicious and nutritious recipes…
Apricot oil is thin and light, with a slightly nutty flavor and minimal aroma, pressed from the very kernel of the apricot. If you’re looking to incorporate it as a kitchen staple, be sure that you’ve got the correct version, and that the oil is indeed labeled as edible—inedible versions may contain amygdalin, which can be converted by the body into a poisonous substance called cyanide. Experts recommend apricot oil as an all-purpose oil, brimming in healthy monounsaturated fats and nutrients, which is appropriate for all types of cooking. It is especially beneficial when used to substitute shortening and butter in recipes.
For therapeutic purposes…
Apricot oil is a key ingredient in the massage therapy industry, as it is known to promote healthy skin and a nourished body while helping to reduce pain, inflammation, and stress. Transform the bedroom into a personal spa with an unassuming little bottle of apricot oil. As a carrier oil, it’s an excellent ingredient for a massage infused with aromatherapy. Nutritional consultants and Prescription for Nutritional Healing author Phyllis Balch suggests blending apricot oil with a variety of other essential oils including lavender, jasmine, chamomile, or ylang-ylang, with a ratio of 25 drops of essential oil to every 2 ounces of apricot oil.
The ancient Chinese were known to use apricot oil for its antitussive and anti-asthmatic properties, and even for treating tumors and ulcers.[iii] It’s been shown to calm skin irritations, and is especially anti-inflammatory when paired with an equal amount of St. John’s Wort oil.[iv] Europeans have long used apricot oil in the treatment of earaches, stomach ulcers, constipation, and respiratory problems.[v]
The Essence of Balance…
While essential oils can genuinely be characterized as natural alternatives that are beneficial for our physical and mental health in practically hundreds of ways, they are some of the most pure and unfiltered sources of compounds; even in tiny doses, they can be extremely potent. While essential oils are generally considered a safe alternative medicine with minimal adverse effects, it is important to remember that overdosing on anything never bodes well. As with any sort of medicine, excessive consumption can ensue in sensitization and other side effects. Consult with an expert before usage. Ensure that you do not exceed recommended dosages or durations, especially if underage, pregnant, or consuming other forms of medicine. Some essential oils shouldn’t be taken for over a few weeks at a time to avoid straining the kidneys or liver; others should only be topically applied and never ingested.