Benefits & Uses Of Camellia Oil (Tea Seed Oil)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Camellia oil boasts a huge list of health benefits including the ability to balance cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, improve hair health, speed up wound healing, and reduce inflammation. It is also good for skin care, bone health, reducing the risk of cancer cell growth, boosting the immune system, and protecting against oxidative stress, among others.

What is Camellia Oil?

Camellia oil is also commonly known as tea seed oil, as it is the essential oil from the seeds of the tea plant. While the leaves of the tea plant are commonly dried to produce tea, the seeds can also undergo a cold-pressing or solvent extraction process to extract the concentrated oil. Thus, camellia oil benefits from many of the same antioxidant compounds as tea, but also has an extremely high level of unsaturated fats, as well as other minerals and nutrients. This oil is widely used in Asia but has increased in availability around the rest of the world.

This potent oil can be made from the Camellia sinensis plant or the Camellia oleifera plant, whereas Japanese tea oil is made from Camellia japonica and has significantly different attributes. The oil has a light green color and a mild smell, but it isn’t used as cooking oil, due to its bland flavor and relatively high cost.

The many health benefits of camellia oil are attributed to its high levels of oleic acid (more than 80%), as well as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, stearic acid, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, triterpenes, saponins, and squalane.

A jute sack of camellia seeds and leaves with a bottle of camellia oil on a sack

Camellia Oil (Tea Seed Oil) Uses and Benefits

Use of camellia oil is popular for people struggling with high blood pressure, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, and inflammatory conditions. It also treats cold, flu, respiratory infection, eczema, psoriasis, acne, weak immunity, brittle hair, hair loss, dandruff, and wounds.

Moisturizes Skin

Research has shown that this oil can help smooth rough patches of skin and lock in moisture, making this an ideal remedy for people whose skin is regularly exposed to the elements. It can also minimize the appearance of wrinkles and keep your skin feeling young and healthy.

Increases Hair Health

Another traditional use of camellia oil is for strengthening and conditioning the hair. The rich supply of oils can coat your hair strands and moisturize your scalp, helping eliminate dandruff and prevent breakage and split ends.

Lowers Blood Pressure

There is a significant amount of potassium in camellia oil, so when used internally, it can have an impact on your blood pressure levels, due to its role as a vasodilator. However, the monounsaturated fats found in this oil can also positively affect hypertension, helping you lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Treats Osteoporosis

With various minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in camellia oil, it can help maintain bone mineral density and slow down the onset of osteoporosis as you age. This can also minimize symptoms of osteoarthritis and generally increase the range of motion and mobility.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Camellia oil contains more than 90% unsaturated fats, which makes it a unique oil. Given the anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective nature of these oils, many people turn to this natural remedy if they have high cholesterol. Moderate internal use of this oil can lower your chances of developing atherosclerosis and other forms of heart disease.

Reduces Joint Inflammation

There are a number of active components in camellia oil that can reduce inflammation in the tissues and joints including gamma-linolenic acid, oleic acid, and kaempferol, among others. These can help soothe symptoms of arthritis, gastrointestinal distress, respiratory conditions, and even headaches.

Boosts Immune System

Various substances derived from the Camellia sinensis plant including green tea and camellia oil help strengthen the immune system and defend against bacterial and viral infections. This is partly due to the level of triterpenes found in this oil, which are proven to have immune-boosting properties.

Stimulates Wound Healing

This potent oil is rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can stimulate blood flow to the skin and induce healing, as well as the growth of new cells. For wounds, scrapes, cuts, and bruises, topically applying a small amount of this oil can protect against infections and minimize the appearance of scars.

Anticancer Potential

Squalene is a compound found in camellia oil. According to a 2017 paper titled. ‘Squalene Extraction: Biological Sources and Extraction Methods.’, the squalene content in Camellia olifeira is 7.62%, depending on certain factors. The paper also points out that squalene has been reported to exhibit certain antioxidant and chemopreventive properties. Also, in combination with antitumor drugs, squalene was shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells.

Camellia Oil Side Effects

Camellia oil has very few associated side effects but can cause skin inflammation, hypotension, and other negative reactions depending on its quality and processing method.

  • Irritation: Due to the high concentration of chemical compounds and fatty acids in camellia oil, it can cause skin irritation in some people when topically applied. To avoid this, apply a small amount to a patch of skin and wait for a few hours to see if a negative reaction occurs.
  • Blood Pressure: The potassium content and blood-pressure-lowering effects of monounsaturated fats can be very helpful for people who are at risk of cardiovascular problems, but for those already taking medication for hypertension, this combined use can result in dangerously low blood pressure levels.

How to Select Camellia Oil?

Camellia oil is rarely produced commercially outside of China, so when buying this oil, always check the ingredients and look for a reputed brand. Many companies supplant true camellia oil with filler oils, which could have gastrointestinal or allergic impacts, and won’t be as effective as a pure form of this oil.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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