Jojoba: the "Peanut of the Desert"

PureInsight | September 24, 2006

Anthony Langstone and Louise Valentine, The Epoch Times Staff

Jojoba, (pronounced ho-ho-ba), known as "the peanut of the desert," has
been used for hundreds of years by the Apache Indians of the Sonoran
Desert in southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

American Indians of today utilize the seed in much the same way as
their ancestors—as medicine and food for the family and livestock. The
oil revitalizes and conditions hair. Roasted seeds are used to create a
unique hot beverage.

After the oil is extracted from the seed, a substance called "meal" is
left over. This contains up to 30 percent protein with 17 amino acids,
making jojoba meal a valuable source of nutrients. The nutritious meal
also contains an appetite suppressant called simmondsin, which, when
removed, can enable the meal to be used for livestock feed. Researchers
are currently looking into the uses of simmondsin for humans.

The ancient ones not only used the extracted oil on wounds and sores
but also found it could rejuvenate scarred and wrinkled skin. Skin
loses its elasticity due to over-exposure to the sun or from ageing.
The components found in jojoba reduce the effects of ageing, giving a
less-wrinkled and youthful appearance by increasing the skin's elastin.
Oil of jojoba is odorless and readily absorbed, so there is none of
that greasy look or feel after it is applied, for it is very similar to
our own skin's oil—sebum.

Because jojoba restores the skin's pH balance, it relieves minor skin
disorders such as acne, sunburn, chapped skin, diaper rash, soft
fingernails, and facial blemishes. When applied to the scalp, it
removes build-up of oils and other substances from the hair follicles,
eliminating dandruff as it moistens dry skin.

Chemists will be glad to hear that jojoba oil is really not an oil but
a straight-chained ester. However, the rest of us can note that, as
such, it does not become rancid as most oils do, making it a good
preservative for cosmetics and giving it a long shelf life if kept away
from light.

In the 1920s and 30s, jojoba oil and sperm whale oil were found to have
almost identical structure and properties, except for the fishy smell
of whale oil. Thereafter, jojoba oil has been able to replace whale oil
in cosmetics and industry, where its properties have outperformed
petroleum derivatives.


Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine

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