A carrier oil, also known as base oil or vegetable oil, "is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy. They are so named because they carry the essential oil onto the skin. Carrier oils do not contain a concentrated aroma, unlike essential oils, though some, such as olive, have a mild distinctive smell. Neither do they evaporate like essential oils, which are more volatile".
Carrier oils should be used while using essential oils internally, so that there is proper dilution and to help maintain the potency of these volatile substances. It is important to have carrier oils on hand and to understand the benefits and uses of each of these oils before beginning to use essential oils in the kitchen.
This post will explore five carrier oils that can be used safely in the cooking process to help maintain the integrity of essential oils during the cooking process. A description, the benefits as well as specific directions for use will be explored for each carrier oil.
1. Coconut Oil
This carrier oil becomes solid at room temperature but melts easily when cooking. Coconut oil also has a high smoking point so you can cook at higher than normal temperatures. Coconut oil has a distinct but subtle nutty flavour.
Use for pan-frying or in place of butter, shortening and oil (make sure all ingredients in the recipe are at room temperature before you add the coconut oil).
High in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Tip: Melt and pour it into ice cube trays. Refrigerate the coconut oil until it’s solid. Remove cubes from the tray and store them in an air tight container for easy use when cooking. Add essential oils at end of cooking process.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the most popular cooking oils used around the world. It has a sweet and almost neutral scent and is suitable for almost any type of cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has the most health benefits.
Can be used with almost any type of recipe. Use to cook dish as per recipe and if using heat be sure to add essential oils to the end of the cooking process to reduce dissipation. Learn more tips & safety measures to take when cooking with EO's here.
Buy the good stuff (listen to Dr. Axe in the video below talk about the importance of the quality of olive oil). Lower priced olive oils can be mixed with other types of oil which can lower it's health properties.
Tip: Add savoury essential oils such as Rosemary, Oregano or Thyme to olive oil and dip with foccacia bread.
3. Almond Oil
Also called sweet almond oil, this oil is a colourless to pale yellow fatty oil expressed from the seeds of the sweet almond, and is generally used in preparing perfumes and confections.
Mix with essential oils in a smoothie or protein drink, drizzle on salads or mixed vegetables. Safe to cook with (has a 430 Fahrenheit smoking point).
Generally regarded as a safe oil to use during the cooking process, although anyone with a nut or food allergy should use caution and consult a professional before using this carrier oil.
Tip: Use almond oil as a carrier for your roasted vegetables and potatoes with 1-2 drops of Rosemary essential oil.
4. Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil is obtained from the kernels (seeds) of apricots and has a deep, nutty flavor which makes it an excellent ingredient for desserts and other recipes.
Ideal for making confections like marzipan or for a base for salad dressing. Combine with your favourite essential oils such as Oregano (for savoury) or Lavender (for sweet).
*Apricot kernels contain a substance called amygdalin [that is] converted by the body into cyanide, which is poisonous. One should be absolutely sure that the oil product has been processed to remove this poisonous substance otherwise it could be harmful or even fatal when used internally.
Tip: When purchasing, ensure you buy organic, high quality apricot kernel oil which is cold pressed.
5. Black Cumin Seed Oil
The oil comes from the nigella sativa plant which is native to Asia. The plant has small, black, crescent-shaped seeds and is technically a part of the buttercup family. Black cumin seed oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids has an earthy, deep and herbal aroma.
Check out these 10 recipes using black cumin seed oil and feel free to substitute any ingredient for essential oils.
It is recommended to avoid black cumin seed carrier oil in pregnancy and lactation.
Tip: Best mixed with other aromas that are also woody and strong, such as Juniper Berry, Rosemary or Spearmint.
Where to find carrier oils & essential oils for cooking
Many of the carrier oils in this article can be found at your local grocery or health food store. Ensure to read the label and ingredients thoroughly to check for quality of the product.
Other purchasing options include online, for example, through Amazon (sign up for Ebates.ca to get cash back on almost all of your online shopping), at your local farmer's market, or at specialty food stores.
Be sure to purchase high quality, pure, and therapeutic-grade essential oils, especially if you are using them internally. Navigate to the Essential Oils page on this website for more information about how to purchase doTERRA essential oils and consider signing up for wholesale pricing (25% off retail).
Questions? Share in the comments section below or write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
References: draxe.com, oilhealthbenefits.com, naturallivingideas.com, essentialoilhaven.com, healthline.com
**Please note: Essential oils are highly concentrated and as such should be used with great care, particularly with children, pregnant women, or those with medical conditions. The statements and information on this website are not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent disease.
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