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Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is native to North America. It has become naturalized in many European countries and today it is cultivated on a grand scale in Russia due to the popularity of the oil produced from the plant’s seeds.
Sunflower is an annual herbaceous plant belonging to the daisy family, the largest and one of the most popular plants from this family. It can grow up to 4 meters in height. The root is hairy and made of fiber, and it creates plenty of spacious roots that can penetrate up to 3 meters in the ground. Due to its deep roots and ability to soak up water and harmful substances, sunflowers are often used for the drying of wetlands and cleaning of contaminated soil: waste waters, lead, and radioactive substances. The leaves are large, individual, with long stems, and heart-shaped. The stem usually develops 20-25 leaves. It flowers from June to September, and large flowers develop individually on top of the stem or branch. The center of the head is composed of small yellow-brown or red-brown tubular flowers, surrounded by yellow petals that are up to 10 centimeters long. There are two types of flowers: large petals that form a yellow wreath and small flowers that form fruit. From the center flowers of sunflower, oval and flat black and dappled fruits develop. Within every fruit, there is one light gray seed, rich in herbal oils, vitamins, proteins, and minerals. A mature sunflower can contain up to half a kilo of seeds.
Plant Parts Used:
The seed, flower petals and leaves.
Active Ingredient and Substances:
Sunflower oil and oil cakes are used extensively in the food industry as a high quality energy food. These days, there are numerous sunflower breeds, grown for oil production and their voluminous forage. Oil is made of two types of seed: small black seeds that deliver high-quality oil and large grayish-black seeds with white stripes that are used for food. Sunflower seeds of 100 grams contain 25 grams proteins, 42 grams fat, 1 gram carbs and 4 grams herbal fiber. The energy value is 2450 kj (585 kcal). The seed contains vitamin A, vitamins from the B group, vitamin E, and of minerals, there are arecalcium, phosphorus, ironandsodium. Vitamin E and selenium are strong antioxidants that are thought to neutralize free radicals and thus protect the body from numerous diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and malignant cancers.
Sunflower oil is an ideal “carrier” oil for many of these nutrients because it’s easy for your skin to absorb. Once absorbed, the nutrients penetrate deep into the hypodermis to nourish your subcutaneous fat cells (which fuel regeneration and renewal). Vitamin E is important for brain functions. It is also considered that sunflower seeds help with increasing sexual power, improve digestion, enhance energy levels, strengthen bones and muscle and work against infertility and can even help with multiple sclerosis. Sunflower seeds are one of the best sources of phenylalanine, a substance that helps prevent pain due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. It is also recommended as a herbal remedy for arthritis. Decoction prepared by cooking seeds for 20 minutes has been used traditionally against cough and kidney inflammation.
The sunflower petals are used in herbal medicine for the preparation of tea and tincture; it has a bitter and strong flavor and the smell of honey. Tea and tincture prepared of the petals are believed to be very effective in the case of a sore throat and to reduce inflammation of the windpipe and tonsils. The flower petals contain anthocyanicglycosides, xanthophyll, choline, betaine, carotenoids, phytosterines, sapogenins and sunflower acid.
In skin care sunflower oil is used:
Sunflower oil is also rich in vitamins A, C and D and healthy carotenoids and waxes which form a protective barrier on the skin. Thus, this oil is effective in the treatment of acne. Being exceptionally light and non-greasy, it gets absorbed into the skin easily, without clogging or blocking the pores. Sunflower oil is rich in Beta-Carotene. Beta-carotene is a richly pigmented, fat-soluble compound that can be converted into Vitamin A and its antioxidant properties are beneficial for the appearance of your health and skin. Sunflower oil is an excellent source of beta-carotene. Consumption and applying it on the skin, makes your skin less sensitive to the sun. The antioxidant properties of sunflower oil help in preventing premature signs of aging. The exposure to free radicals and sunlight increases the rate of aging of skin,
causing the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines at an early age. The antioxidants in sunflower oil lower the risk of developing premature signs of aging. The antioxidants in it neutralize the free radicals that penetrate your skin, causing sunburn and other types of sun damage such as skin cancer. Its range of vitamins and fatty acids act as antioxidants to regenerate the skin cells and help the skin get rid of acne causing bacteria. Being naturally emollient, sunflower oil improves your skin’s moisture retention capacity and is beneficial for individuals with dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin. A mixture of sunflower and castor oil is effective in making your skin supple and removing dead cells and impurities. This mixture can be used as a cleanser and there is no need to use a moisturizer as the oils contain fatty acids and vitamins to moisturize your skin.
Please be aware that herbs, although natural can interact with certain medications, and that they may be ill advised to use under certain health conditions. Please consult a qualified health practitioner for cautions pertinent to you.
No therapeutic claim is made or intended for AZENA products. Information is for educational purposes only.