Maracuja Oil (Passion Fruit Oil)

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maracuja oil

Maracuja oil is a relatively expensive oil that comes from the various varieties of Passionflower plant. However, not all maracuja oils come from this plant. Some of the maracuja oils may be extracted from the seeds of passionfruit. Despite the differences in source, these two oils are quite similar. The oil is light and is considered to be a good emollient. It acts as an excellent moisturizer by penetrating readily into the skin and preventing moisture from leaking out. There are many other health benefits of maracuja oil.

Source

Maracuja word comes from the Amazon, where it refers to the Passion fruit. Its biological name is Passiflora edulis. The seeds of this fruit are rich in oil, and when extracted, this is termed maracuja oil. However, this is not the major source of Maracuja oil. Most commercial Maracuja oil comes from the Passionflower. Its biological name is Passiflora incarnata. So, we see that both the sources are from the same genus. Passionflower is an exotic, breathtaking flower that has many health benefits too. The most common application of Passionflower is to induce sleep and promote relaxation in people with anxiety.

There may be differences in the properties of Maracuja oil derived from passion fruit and the Passionflower. Maracuja and its oil have been used in Aztec civilization and the heart of the Amazon rainforest for various uses.

Properties

These are some of the therapeutic properties of Maracuja oil. Since it is not a well-researched oil, we still only know little about it.

  • Emollient – It is considered to be an excellent moisturizer for the skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory – it reduces inflammation.
  • Anti-insomnia – may induce sleep, but not validated.
  • Antioxidant – scavenges free radicals, thus preventing our tissues from damage by these entities.
  • Anti-itching – relieves Itching on the skin.

Other potential properties which might be present in this oil based on the properties of the source plants.

  • Anti-stress – this oil may have a profound stress-relieving effect.
  • Anti-asthmatic – reduce bronchial spasms and asthma. 
  • Anti-tussive – cough suppressant
  • Anxiolytic – relieve anxiety

There needs to be more research on this oil which can have powerful health benefits.

Uses and Health Benefits

Maracuja oil is being purported to be useful in many cosmetic applications. One can use it in the following ways.

Maracuja oil for Dry Skin

Maracuja oil is a nice emollient. So, it can be applied to the skin to keep it hydrated. Before applying this oil, one should do a patch test on a small spot on the skin. If there is no irritation, then it is safe to apply this oil directly in undiluted form. For small dry regions on the skin, take few drops of oil on your palm and rub it gently into the skin. It moistens the skin and feels quite light. So, there is no greasy feeling after applying.

For large areas of skin, one can dilute it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil, in any dilution ratio that you prefer. Massage with this combination will provide the skin with the benefits of maracuja oil.

Maracuja oil for Itching

This oil curbs itching. So, if you are experiencing Itching, apply this oil. Only a few drops should be enough. However, one should avoid this if Itching is because of a skin disorder, like eczema or psoriasis. This works great for insect bites and many other insect bites.

Treat sun damaged sun.

Prolonged exposure to bright sunlight also exposes us to harmful UV radiation. UV rays are harmful to the skin, especially the UV-B rays. Over time, these rays lead to skin damage which is characteristic of accelerated ageing. The signs of this ageing on the skin are wrinkles, sunspots and blemishes. Apply maracuja oil directly to these regions. The nutrients in maracuja oil, mainly if it contains lycopene [1], can aid the skin in recovering from sun-induced damage. Lycopene is a red-coloured carotenoid that is found in many foods, like a tomato.

Massage for soothing painful aches

Sore and tired muscles can be soothed by incorporating maracuja oil in a massage formulation. Add maracuja oil to olive oil and massage it into sore muscles. Perform some basic stretching for that muscle group. The extension also provides additional relief from cramping in muscles. Maracuja oil is anti-inflammatory. Therefore it reduces inflammation in the muscles. Maracuja oil obtained from seeds of passion fruit are rich in omega- 6 fatty acids ( linoleic acid ). When an oil that is rich in this nutrient is massaged into the skin, inflammation is lowered.

Relieves anxiety

Maracuja oil may possess anxiolytic ( anxiety-reducing ) effects. This may be more pronounced in the oil that comes from passionflower seeds. For reducing feelings of anxiety, open the vial containing maracuja oil and inhale deeply for 20 minutes. The oil possesses an earthy, woody smell. If it is not to your liking, then avoid this oil. Many more oils are good at relieving anxiety, like lemon oil, lavender oil, geranium oil, and rose oil. They all smell exquisite. [2]

For Insomnia

Maracuja oil can help one get sleepy. Pour a few drops of maracuja oil over the pillow. Its aroma is faint but should be enough for the person to fall asleep. If this is not enough, there is another way to inhale maracuja oil to get sleepy.

Before going to sleep, prepare a warm water bath. When water is filled in the bathtub, add 10 – 20 drops of maracuja oil. Lay in this water. Hot water in an enclosed space will release steam which contains VOCs ( volatile organic compounds ) from maracuja oil. Switch off the exhaust, and the aroma should become more and more strong with time. Spend ample time in this relaxing bath. When you are finished, the synergistic effect of a warm water bath and the sleep-inducing effect of maracuja oil helps one fall asleep like a baby.

Inhaling the aroma of maracuja oil can also calm a cough.

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

Not much information is available about the safety of maracuja oil. For topical application, the oil may lead to skin irritation in some people. Some people may be allergic to plants in the Passiflora genus, so they should avoid this oil.

This oil should not be ingested as it may be toxic even at low concentrations.

Maracuja oil and Acne

Although maracuja oil is marketed as an anti-acne oil, there is anecdotal evidence of people reporting that this oil leads to breakouts. So, people with Acne should look for alternative oils. Regarding Acne, there needs to be more research to find out how maracuja oil affects Acne. If it leads to breakouts, then there should be some reason behind this effect. This can be explained by the “Comedogenicity Value ”, which measures the pore-clogging potential of any substance.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Maracuja oil obtained from passion fruit seeds has a unique nutritional value, making it quite different from other oils. Let us look at the fatty acid composition of cold-pressed maracuja oil.

Fatty acids 

Maracuja oil contains 72.6 % linoleic acid, which is an omega – 6 fatty acids. This data comes from just one source. This makes maracuja oil undoubtedly one of the best sources of linoleic acid on earth. Linoleic acid, an omega – 6 is an essential fatty acid that is required by the body. This is the complete fatty acid profile of maracuja oil.

NutrientPercentageProperty
Gamma Linoleic AcidPUFA
Stearic Acid0 %Saturated fat
Palmitic Acid12.8 %Saturated fat
Oleic Acid10.7 %MUFA
Linoleic Acid72.6 %PUFA
Alpha Linolenic Acid –PUFA
Docosenoic Acid –PUFA
Eicosenoic Acid –PUFA
Behenic –PUFA
Erucic –PUFA

Most oils contain a more distributed profile in terms of fatty acids. But, maracuja oil selectively contains very high amounts of linoleic acid. If taken in a diet, this may lead to pro-inflammatory reactions in the body.

Antioxidant capacity of Maracuja Oil

Although the most popular metric of antioxidant power is ORAC ( oxygen radical absorbance capacity ) value, the data is available in terms of another metric for maracuja oil. It is called EC 50 [4]. The antioxidant power of maracuja oil is 7.12 mg/mL EC 50, which is a powerful antioxidant.

Apart from healthy fats, maracuja oil also contains carotenoids ( 4.6 μg per gm ) and phenols. Carotenoids are very healthy for the skin, especially when it comes to protecting it from sun damage.

References

1. β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight. Stahl W, Sies H. NCBI.

2. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. Setzer WN. NCBI.

3. Comparative Properties of Amazonian Oils Obtained by Different Extraction Methods. Molecules.

4.The use of the stable free radical diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) for estimating antioxidant activity. Molyneux, P.

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