Virgin plant oils
Vegetable Oil Extraction Processes
Cold pressing of vegetable oils
Cold pressing is an exclusively mechanical extraction method which is carried out at low temperature, thus preserving the full content of essential fatty acids, vitamin E, natural anti-oxidants, and therefore requiring no additives. The first extraction called “first pressing” gives a pure and true oleaginous “fruit juice”.
Differences between an oily macerate and a Vegetable Oil
A vegetable oil is obtained by first cold pressing a nut, a fruit or an oilseed. This oil is therefore comparable to a lipid juice. However, some plants beneficial to health in oil form cannot produce oil by pressing. We then speak of oily macerates or maceration oils . Maceration oils are obtained by a fairly simple process that has existed since the dawn of time:
- We select a plant for its active ingredients;
- Part of the plant (flowers, seeds, totum) macerates for several weeks in “basic” vegetable oil such as sunflower;
- The preparation is then filtered to obtain a vegetable oil enriched with the active ingredients contained in the plant.
Oily macerates can be used like any vegetable oil.
Hot pressing of vegetable oils
For commercial purposes only, vegetable oils can be mechanically hot pressed at temperatures of 80° to 120°C. For these purposes, basic plant materials undergo a series of very invasive chemical treatments (refining, degumming, deodorization, discoloration, etc.) which deprive the finished products of a significant part of their vitamins, essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants. The extracts have lost all their nutritional qualities and cosmetic properties.
Despite this complete denaturation, these products are sometimes called "unrefined oil", "crude oil", "raw oil" or "natural oil".
How to recognize a quality vegetable oil?
A quality vegetable oil will be virgin and certified organic or 100% organic.
The term “virgin” can only be attributed to a vegetable oil if it meets several precise criteria set by regulations:
- First cold pressing;
- Clarification by physical or mechanical means;
- No physical or chemical refining treatment.
Virgin oil can have an acidity level of up to 3%, unlike extra virgin oil which contains less than 1% acidity. The term “extra virgin” is a name that only concerns olive oil.
To obtain the Certified Organic or 100% Organic label, vegetable oils must come from agricultural production free of synthetic chemicals and whose crops are located in areas sheltered from external contamination. Obtained only by cold mechanical expression, certified organic vegetable oils are provided with labeling which allows traceability of the product from the field to the table.
“Organic” certification depends on approved control bodies which verify compliance with the regulations in force.
The use of Vegetable Oils
Vegetable Oils penetrate the skin very well. They nourish it, protect it, and restore suppleness and radiance. They are essential in natural cosmetics, in particular for:
- Make-up removal with oil;
- A nourishing face and body treatment;
- A hair beauty mask.
Use as a dietary supplement
Some Vegetable Oils are excellent food supplements . To benefit from their benefits, always check the nutritional value of the oil and do not ingest oily macerates. Ask your advisor before starting a treatment.
In cooking, only use vegetable oil at the end of cooking, on the plate or cold as a seasoning in your salads.
How to store vegetable oil?
Ideally, Vegetable Oils should be stored away from air, light and heat. Use your oil within 6 months after opening, 3 months in the case of the most fragile oils (wheat germ, evening primrose).
Vegetable Oils and Essential Oils. What mixtures?
Vegetable Oil is a fatty substance obtained by cold pressing of an oilseed or by maceration. Essential Oil is an “essence” of an aromatic plant obtained by steam distillation . The molecules contained in Essential Oils have nothing in common with the biochemical composition of Vegetable Oils. Both lipophilic, they nevertheless mix wonderfully.
It is often recommended to dilute essential oils in vegetable oils to obtain effective aromatic synergies.
Let us know that for cosmetic use , we dilute 1 to 3% of Essential Oils in Vegetable Oil . For action on health , we can often go as far as dilutions of 20 to 80% of Essential Oils in Vegetable Oil , depending on the dermocausticity or toxicity of the Essential Oils chosen.