Camelina Oil

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Camelina oil is an edible oil that comes from seeds of Camelina Sativa, commonly known as false flax. Camelina oil has been used in Europe and North America for a few centuries as an oilseed and for lighting lamps. However, it has never been a prominent oilseed crop. Presently, there is a lot of research into the industrial applications of camelina oil, especially as biofuel. Camelina oil has been found to contain high amounts of omega – 3 fatty acids, like flaxseed oil, which make it suitable for use as a nutritional supplement and a general purpose oil.

Source

Camelina oil is obtained by extracting oil from seeds of Camelina sativa. This is a hardy crop that grows well in cold and arid climate, even in very cold environments like in Canada. Although it has not been as popular as other common edible oils, however archaeological studies confirm that it was a major oilseed crop in ancient times in Europe. Historic settlements in some places in Switzerland and Greece show signs of cultivation of this crop. Today, it is grown mainly in Canada for commercial oil extraction.
Just like other oils, Camelina oil too  can be extracted by a few ways.

Camelina sativa plants with ripe seeds
Camelina sativa plants with ripe seeds (Image:Shutterstock)
  • Cold pressed oil – It retains most of the original nutrients in the oil.
  • Solvent extraction – It yields better extraction, but it contains harmful solvents.
  • Supercritical fluid extraction.

Cold pressed Camelina oil is quite healthy and exerts a few health benefits.

Properties

Camelina oil has certain therapeutic and healing properties. [1]

  • Antioxidant – Camelina oil is a strong antioxidant because of the high Vitamin E content.
  • Emollient – It moisturizes the skin.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – It strongly inhibits inflammation both topically and when used internally.
  • Anti-arthritic – Because of its high omega – 3 content, it can be used to alleviate pain in arthritis.
  • Hair Conditioner – It can be used as a hot oil treatment for hair.
  • Immune booster – Because of the high Vitamin E content, it boosts the immune system.

Color, Taste and Aroma

Camelina oil has a golden, somewhat olive oil like color. Surprisingly, it tastes like almond oil. Its aroma is herbaceous with some nutty tones.

Health Benefits

Camelina oil offers brilliant nutrition. Along with this, its healing properties make it useful for a number of conditions.

Camelina oil for Skin

Camelina oil can be used as a massage oil for the skin. Because it has a nice mild aroma, it feels good during the massage. It provides ample amount of Vitamin E and omega fatty acids directly to the skin. These moisturize the skin and prevent it from free radical damage. One can perform this massage regularly to get healthier, smooth and well moisturized skin.

Camelina oil for Hair

Camelina oil can be used just like olive oil for a hot oil scalp massage. This provides nutrition to the scalp and gets rid of dry skin, dandruff and flakiness. It can help to keep the hair looking soft and moisturized. Its antioxidants protect the hair shafts from free radical damage.

Omega – 3

Camelina oil provides about 4 gm of omega – 3 in a single tablespoon.It can be used as a substitute for flaxseed oil for getting omega-3 in diet. One can simply get the omega-3 by using camelina oil as a salad oil. It has got a nice taste and goes well with foods.

Heart Health

Camelina oil lowers blood triglyceride levels. This is good for cardiovascular health as it reduces the risk of heart diseases.

Arthritis

Camelina oil can be applied topically to reduce inflammation in arthritis. When taken internally, it provides large amounts of omega – 3 fatty acids. Regular intake of omega- reduces overall inflammation. One can experience a reduction in pain, inflammation and swelling over the joint. It also boosts mobility in the joint. Camelina oil can be used as a carrier oil. It goes well with rosemary essential oil and this combination can be massaged on the inflamed joint.

Good for the Brain, Eyes and Nerves

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids,like alpha linoleic acid, EPA and DHA are helpful in keeping the brain, eyes and nerves healthy. As a result, camelina oil may protect against cognitive diseases, like dementia, Alzheimer’s, eye diseases like macular degeneration and nervous damage due to inflammation.

Uses

Camelina oil has some more interesting uses.

  • As a cooking oil – There is growing interest in camelina oil as a cooking oil, specially for deep frying. It has the highest smoke point of 475 ° F which is much higher than olive, coconut, canola, grapeseed and most other cooking oils. That is why one can use it for stir frying, deep frying and sauteing. Camelina oil has a nutty flavor, which makes it excellent for fried food and other delicacies. Camelina oil is a popular ingredient in paleo recipes.
  • As biofuel – Camelina oil is also a source of fuel. It is being studied for its viability as an alternate fuel. It has been used as a jet fuel on number of occasions. In Japan, it is being studied for its potential to generate electricity.
  • Camelina oil is also used as a nutritional supplement for dogs.

Side effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

There are no known side effects of camelina oil.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Camelina oil provides unique nutritional benefits. Its nutrition facts are quite different from other common edible oils, which really makes its nutrition unique. Most of the fatty acids in camelina oil are polyunsaturated (PUFA) in nature. As a result, it is a heart healthy oil with little saturated fat.

Fatty Acid nutritional value of Camelina Oil

Camelina sativa seed oil contains a nicely balanced proportion of omega-3, omega – 6 and omega – 9 fatty acids.

  • Omega-3 ( Alpha – Linolenic Acid ) is 35 %
  • Omega- 6 ( Linoleic Acid ) is 17 %
  • Omega-9 ( Oleic Acid ) is 17 %

Camelina oil contains a somewhat rare to find fatty acid called gondoic acid in significant amount, about 15 %. This fatty acid possesses the ability to improve lipid profile.

Nutrient Percentage Property
Gamma Linoleic Acid (18:3) PUFA
Stearic Acid (18:0) 2.57 % Saturated fat
Palmitic Acid (16:0) 6.43 % Saturated fat
Palmitoleic Acid (16:1) 1.5 % MUFA
Oleic Acid (18:1) 17.4 % MUFA
Linoleic Acid (18:2) 16.9 % PUFA
Alpha Linolenic Acid(18:3) 35.23 % PUFA
Erucic Acid (22:1) 1.62 % MUFA
Gondoic Acid (20:1) 14.9 % MUFA
Behenic Acid (22:0) Saturated fat
Arachidic Acid (20:0) 1.24 % Saturated fat

Source : 1

Camelina oil also contains many phytosterols [2]. These are compounds that have powerful health benefits. These are the sterols found in camelina oil.

  • Cholesterol – It is used for a number of very important body functions at cellular level.
  • Brassicasterol – Sterol which is found in mustard and rapeseed.
  • Campesterol – Prevents inflammation induced damage of the cartilage. Helpful in arthritis.
  • Stigmasterol – Strong antioxidant. It reduces cholesterol and blood glucose.
  • Sitosterol – It lowers blood cholesterol.
  • Δ 5 – Avenasterol – Commonly seen in many foods.

Vitamin E in Camelina Oil
It is known that camelina oil contains high amounts of Vitamin E. Camelina oil contains almost the entire spectrum of Vitamin E, which is brilliant from nutritional point of view. It contains about 110 mg / 100 gm of Vitamin E. Since RDI of Vitamin E is about 10 mg, this is about 10 times the RDI.

Chemical properties of Camelina Oil

Nutrient Percentage Property
Density  0.920  g/ml great for massage oil
Storage temperature  – Ideal temperature for storage
Comedogenicity  – Pore clogging potential ( 0 – 5 )
ORAC  – Antioxidant Power
pH  –  Measure of Acidity
Peroxide Value  –  Measure of Initial Rancidity
Saponification Value  187.8  Measure of the average carbon chain length
Iodine Value  104.7  Measure of unsaturation of oil
Free Fatty Acids  2.52 %  Percentage of volatile oils

Source : 3

Buying and Storage

Camelina oil is very resistant to both rancidity and oxidation. It has an amazing shelf life of about 18 months and even upto 24 months. So, it really goes for a long time. One can easily get cold pressed camelina oil which is purely organic, although it is slightly pricey.

References

1. Physico-Chemical Properties, Composition and Oxidative Stability of Camelina sativa Oil. Helena Abramovi and Veronika Abram
2. Camelina oil and its unusual cholesterol content V. K. S. Shukla, P. C. Dutta, W. E. Artz. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society
3. Some compositional properties of camelina (camelina sativa L. Crantz) seeds and oils. John T. Budin, William M. Breene, Daniel H. Putnam

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