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Jojoba : Basic Oils for Aromatherapy
Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C K Schneider) is perhaps one of the most popular, and basic, carrier oil bases used in aromatherapy. It has an indefinite shelf life, no aroma, and it easily blends with other carrier oils, essential oils, and bases for aromatic skin care. Jojoba is also a favorite of the botanical perfumer. Here is a quick look at the origins of jojoba, its chemical make-up, and some of its uses for aromatherapy.
Botanical Profile of Jojoba
The jojoba plant is a member of the Buxaceae plant family. It is native to the deserts of Arizona, north-west Mexico, and southern California.
The jojoba plant is a perennial shrub which does not require a lot of moisture or water to survive; it has a deep root system and thick leaves which absorb minimum sunlight due to the angle at which it grows. The waxy leaves of the jojoba plant are typical of a desert plant which primarily aims to cut water loss in order to survive in the desert heat.
The jojoba plant can grow up to six feet in height and lives for a long time; however, it grows slowly and it is slow to reach maturity. The jojoba plant has the ability to be of either sex, male or female; it is only the female jojoba plant which is capable of producing seeds and this does not happen until the fifth year of growth. The seeds of the jojoba plant resemble coffee beans.
Native American Use of Jojoba
Native tribes of the south-western United States and north-west Mexico were familiar with the jojoba plant and used it in several ways:
jojoba seeds produced an oil which was used in skin and hair care to protect against the desert sun.
The oil from the jojoba seeds was also used to treat general aches and pains, skin irritations and burns
The jojoba seeds were chewed as a dietary supplement, too.
Other uses of the jojoba plant may have included use as a medicine and the making of a coffee-like drink; it was also used to treat colds, sore throats and indigestion. Like many native plants of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, jojoba was a useful and versatile plant to native people. (click the next button to preview the next page)