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Plant Talk: Carrot Seed Essential Oil
How many times have you seen Daucus carota var. carota along roadsides and thought twice about what many people consider a common weed? Although this ancient and medicinal plant goes by many names, such as wild carrot and bird’s nest, it is often called “Queen Anne’s Lace,” namely for the lace-like appearance of its flowering umbels.
It is this beautiful plant that gives us Carrot Seed essential oil. Continue reading for plant highlights, key therapeutics and personality of Carrot Seed essential oil and aromatherapy blending ideas.
Wild Carrot or Domesticated Carrot?
Sometimes classified as a noxious weed by some states in North America, Queen Anne’s Lace has naturalized across fields, disturbed ground and along roadsides since the plant was introduced to North America. Although related to the edible carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativa), “carota” has a small, inedible, tough and whitish taproot. It is thought that cultivated (“sativa”) carrots were first developed in the Afghani-Pakistani region from the wild carrot (Daucus carota var. carota).
As with many plants classified in the Apiaceae family (e.g., Angelica, Lovage, Parsley), Daucus carota has a biennial life cycle. It manifests with rosette green leaves the first year, where the focus is on storing energy in the whitish-root. Flowers emerge the second growing season and set-seed in late-July into August. Butterflies and other insects favor plants in the Apiaceae family with Carrot Seed being a notable host plant for Black Swallowtail larvae among other insects.
If you seek out Queen Anne’s lace you will often see a single blackish-red flower in the center of each floret. Folklore has it that it represents a drop of blood from Queen Anne of England from when she pricked her finger with a needle while sewing lace.
Carrot seed protects and nurtures. Notice how it folds in on itself, creating a protective nest for insects as the flowers set to seeds.
Plant Id: Identifying Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace may be easily confused with deadly plants also classified in the Apiaceae family, such as Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) and “Giant Hog Weed” (Heracleum mantegaz-zianum). Queen Anne’s Lace has hairy stems whereas Hemlock is smooth with purple spots along its stems and favors shadier, moister areas. Giant Hog Weed is, GIANT …but not when it’s young!
A Portrait of Carrot Seed Essential Oil
Carrot seed essential oil is obtained by distilling the dried, crushed seeds of Daucus carota subsp. carota . The plant is often grown and distilled for its seeds in France, Hungary, Morocco and Egypt.
Impressions & Personality of Carrot Seed Essential Oil
This highly adaptable plant, the supporter of others, is a companion, a partner. Someone “who gets you.” It is not overly mothering but is there to support and hold; it is nurturing without coddling. Being with the oil slows down time and encapsulates the lazy-hazy mid-summer weather it thrives in. It is calming but not sedative and offers you time to rest, digest and repair. The olfactory experience goes straight down to the eliminatory organs and circulates through the solar plexus and deep into the lower abdomen.
The earthy, warming comfort of Carrot seed stirs activity in the upper jawline, melting away tension. The molecules penetrate into the olfactory bulb region, softly pulsing the brow-line, asking tension to dissipate. Simultaneous attention is brought to the bladder. The body almost has no choice in a near immediate willingness to let go and center. The oil is by no means sedative, rather calming without bringing an urge to physical activity. It brings a state of centeredness with an invitation to contemplation.
Carrot seed finds tension and releases it, as if its taproot dissipates tension like a deep tissue massage. Energy is transmuted into the earth through the root and up and out through the flowers into the air. The jaw is noticeably relaxed. The lower abdomen is consistently activated by Carrot seed oil, whose messages are channeled from the jaw to the bladder, through the urethra and eventually down the legs and into the feet.
Sessions with the oil consistently make me feel calm, centered and lifted. There is a nearly forced ability of the oil to ask you to sit and focus without bringing urges to “energize” or “do.” There is often an urge to imperceptibly smile, conjuring images of a “Buddha” or “Mona Lisa” smile. Almost as if Carrot Seed nudges a smile, to get over myself.
You’ll often find Queen Anne’s Lace growing on disturbed or neglected land, such as roadsides. The taproot breaks up congested soil. In this sense it helps repair and heal the land.
The aromatic palate of Carrot Seed starts off warm, spicy, fresh and sweet; layered with intense and persistent notes of earth, roots and woody tar-like notes. Layers of ozone mixed with chlorine and Lovage root emerge as time goes by. After the first clear, sharp and pointed introduction, the dry-out is heavy with wood and sawdust, deep leather, dusky and languid. Whiffs of gorgeous smoky tobacco are present. The end mellows into a warm, lazy summer day where Carrot Seed’s essence lets you know that “everything is going to be okay.” It is steady, quiet and enduring.
Wild Carrot’s aroma is very distinct and lends itself to blending its essential oil with restraint and discernment as the aroma may overpower a blend. Its aromatic palate is deceptively complex and I’ve found it varies by the country and year it is from. For instance, a newly purchased bottle of oil from a different year smells fresher, greener and wetter, making me wonder if the seeds are younger. So many factors go into the chemistry of the essential oil that ends up in those small bottles.
Carrot Seed Essential Oil Safety & Chemistry Highlights
- Carrot seed essential oil is generally regarded as safe and considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.
- Carrot seed essential oil is rich in the sesquiterpene alcohol, carotol, supported by sesquiterpenes. However, the chemical composition widely varies depending on where the plant grows (i.e., country, geography, elevation) as noted in the variation of carotol—from 33% upwards of 66% of the oil’s chemical composition.
Affinities and Usage Applications for Carrot Seed Essential Oil
Daucus carota essential oil is well tolerated by the skin. It is considered regenerative and detoxifying (i.e., it has an affinity for the liver when taken internally and helps externally with “liver spots” on the skin). Historically, it is a regenerative herb and turned to during convalescence rather than moments of crisis. In this sense it is not preventative but reparative. It is antiseptic, antispasmodic, regenerative, diuretic and wound healing.
When considering the skin and digestion, which go hand-in-hand, what is going on inside manifests on the outside. Its umbels are tightly-knit as is the “seed nest”. When I think of this plant and its affinity for reparative and restorative properties for the skin this makes sense: think about knitting tissues together.
Main indications for working with Carrot Seed essential oil are listed below:
- Skin care: Cell regenerative, detoxing, wound healer, fungal infections, support for edema (diuretic) and cellulite treatments, revitalizes dry-pallid skin.
- Nervous/Psyche/Emotion: Calming, nurturing, feeling stuck, emotional coldness, inability to let go, lack of expression.
- Digestion: Detoxifier, diuretic, stimulates appetite, supports healthy digestion, constipation, sluggish digestion.
- (Note: although the oil has an affinity for the bladder/urinary tract and liver support I am not covering that here as the application belongs in the realm of internal use though olfactory and topical use may be beneficial.)
Blending with Carrot Seed Essential Oil
Carrot seed essential oil blends nicely with other Apiacea (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce, Levisticum officinalis), many Asteraceaes (Helichrysum italicum, Matricaria recutita, Achillea millefolium) and several Lamiaceae plants (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. verbenone, Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula x intermedia) as well as other reparative plants such as Sandalwood (Santalum album), Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Rock rose (Cistus ladanifer) and Greenland moss (Ledum groenlandicum).
Aromatherapy in Practice: Carrot Seed Oil
Revitalizing Face, Neck & Hand Oil-Glow
Get your glow-on with the power of oils and aromatics by creating your own face and body oil from gorgeous volatile and fixed oils known to help repair and tone tissues. The base oils for this oil-glow are healing, reparative, stable and antioxidant.
What you need to make 1 oz.:
- Graduated cylinder
- 1 oz. glass bottle with a pump top or dropper
|Essential Oils and Carrier/Base Products||Purpose/Intention||Amount|
|Carrot seed (Daucus carota subsp. carota) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory , calming, regenerative, healing||5 drops|
|Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, regenerative||5 drops|
|Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, regenerative||5 drops|
|Cistus (Cistus ladanifer) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, astringent, cooling, healing||1 drops|
|Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, balancing||10 drops|
|Baobab (Adansonia digitata) fixed oil||Stable, antioxidant, regenerative, moisturizing, toning/elasticity, reparative||15 ml|
|Camellia (Camellia sinensis) fixed oil||Conditioning, non-comedogenic, astringent, cooling, scar repair, antioxidant||9 ml|
|Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba) fixed oil||Stable, vitamin E, protective, rejuvenation||6 ml|
How to make: Combine the essential oils into the glass bottle and swirl the bottle around to combine the essential oils. Next, measure the fixed oils into a graduated cylinder then add the mixture to a 1-ounce glass bottle. Affix the pump top, shake to disperse the oils and label appropriately.
- For reparative work on the face and neck (e.g., sagging skin, toning) consider using up to 2 times daily, after cleansing, for 60 days. Consider applying the serum more often for work on the body (e.g., liver spots on the hands, scars).
- For maintenance, use 3 to 5 x/week for 60 days.
Digestive Support Salve
It isn’t always necessary to ingest botanicals to realize their effect on digestion. Help ease bloating, gas and get things moving by massaging a salve made with essential oils known to aid the eliminatory organs and dispel gas. Try adding the listed essential oils to a salve recipe.
- 30 drops Carrot seed (Daucus carota subsp. carota)essential oil
- 30 drops Greenland moss (Ledum groenlandicum)essential oil
- 25 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)essential oil
- 25 drops Black pepper (Piper nigrum) essential oil
- 10 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil
Parting Thoughts on a Weed Called Carrot Seed
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read about Carrot Seed essential oil. Maybe it is an essential oil you work with a lot, or maybe it is a new ally to consider adding to your collection of essential oils. It is one I often turn to for face serums I create for myself. Queen Anne’s Lace is one of many medicinal plants that has a lot to share with the world despite its classification as being a “noxious weed.”
One of my dear teachers once asked: “How can you hate a plant?”, which is so true.