What is Maracuja Oil?
When most people hear of passion fruit, the first thing that comes to mind is of the delicious vining fruit that has a distinct flavor resembling a mix between kiwi and pineapple. Maracuja oil, however, is another byproduct elaborated from a type of passion fruit that comes with dozens of important health benefits.
Native to the rainforest and other regions of Brazil and Paraguay, Maracuja is a vine species of the passion flower known as passiflora edulis in the Latin terminology. There are several different subspecies of this popular tropical fruit which is actually a type of large berry with numerous sides surrounded by a sweet, edible flesh.
The fruit of maracuja is extremely high in several essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, iron, the vitamin B complex, and phosphorus. Throughout South America and other areas around the world characterized by a tropical climate, this fruit is widely utilized in local cuisines for everything from fruit juices to deserts.
Several indigenous cultures around the world have used the maracuja fruit and maracuja oil for medicinal purposes as well. Several different Native American tribes used passion fruit to treat boils on the skin and other topical lesions. Furthermore, other indigenous groups were known to make infusions from the flower in order to improve their overall liver health and as a tonic to improve the quality and health of their blood.
In Central Mexico, the Aztec people for thousands of years have used the maracuja fruit and maracuja oil as a way to help people suffering from insomnia and issues with anxiety. Eventually, the passionflower fruit was taken back to Europe, introduced into Mediterranean climates (where it naturally thrived) and became an essential part of European-based medical systems.
In more recent times, medical professionals have begun to study the chemical characterization of the maracuja fruit and have found ways to extract the medicinal properties found naturally in this plant for a wide array of medical uses. The recent rise in popularity of maracuja oil is due to the fact that the oil form of this plant makes it much easier to take advantage of the medicinal properties of maracuja.
What Part of the Plant is used to Make Maracuja Oil?
While the most common use of this plant around the world is as an edible fruit, specifically the sweet flesh surrounding the numerous seeds, the oil is extracted especially from the seeds, though the flowers are also sometimes used to add fragrance and additional medicinal properties.
It´s important to make a distinction between the passionfruit and the passionflower. While both of these plants belong to the same family (passiflora), one of them produces the edible fruit (where larger quantities of seeds are found), while the other simply produces a flower. While this passionflower does also produce seeds that can be used to extract a helpful oil, authentic maracuja oil comes from the passionfruit.
12 Benefits of Maracuja Oil
As mentioned above, indigenous groups from Mexico to the Amazon have been utilizing maracuja oil for a number of health issues for thousands of years. Only recently have scientists and medical professionals begun to add solid scientific evidence to back the health benefits known by indigenous people. Below we take an in depth look at the 12 most important benefits of maracuja oil.
1. Prevents Inflammation
One of the most important medicinal characteristics of maracuja oil is that it is known to prevent inflammation. This is important for a number of both internal and external health issues. This oil is packed with several different antioxidants including bioflavonoids and alkaloids, which will go a long way in helping people suffering from any of the serious conditions that stem from oxidative stress.
While many of us might have heard of the importance of antioxidants, very few of us have any idea why they are important. Despite the sometimes hard to understand medical jargon, antioxidants help your body get rid of “free radicals” and thus lower the probability of inflammation affecting your body. In short, antioxidants help protect the cells in your body.
2. Stop the Accumulative Effects of Sun Exposure Leading to Skin Cancer
Maracuja oil has several topical uses that benefit the skin, hair and nails, which we will explore below. The most important topical use of this natural oil, however, is that it is known to help stop the accumulative effects of sun exposure, which can lead to dangerous skin cancers such as melanoma.
The chemical properties of maracuja oil, especially the high level of antioxidants, make it a great choice for applying to your skin after a long day in the sun. Since high levels of sun exposure can lead to oxidative stress on the cells in our dermis, this oil can help relieve that stress and thus halt the development of cellular mutations that could very well lead to skin cancer.
3. Natural Emollient
Another great use for maracuja oil is as an emollient for your skin. The high levels of certain types of natural fats in the seeds of the maracuja plant make this a great way to naturally keep your skin hydrated. Since some people might have unwanted reactions to this oil, it is best to try out the oil on a small patch of your skin beforehand. If you suffer from severe dry skin all over your body, it might be best to dilute the maracuja oil in some carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
4. Tonic for the Nervous System
People who suffer from serious nervous system disorders such as epilepsy or uncontrollable muscle spasms might also benefit from regular use of maracuja oil. While this oil has also been known to negatively affect the way certain people´s nervous system works, it has also been shown to be a unique way to naturally soothe your nervous system. Regular use of this oil has been shown to improve your overall mood and can even be used to fight against serious nervous system disorders such as Parkinson´s disease.
5. Helps to Soothe Muscle Aches and Pains
Maracuja oil has also been shown to be a great ingredient to help reduce the pain from muscle pains and aches. Many massage therapists have begun to incorporate maracuja oil into the massage techniques they use on people who suffer from muscular discomfort. Since this oil is extremely high in omega- 6 fatty acids, also known as linoleic acid, it can help to reduce swelling and inflammation when used topically.
6. Helps to Relieve Insomnia
The Aztec people have been using the passionflower and the passion fruit for thousands of years as a natural cure for insomnia. Today, recent studies have shown that the Aztecs were right in their use of this natural remedy. Applying a few drops of essential maracuja oil onto your pillow before falling asleep will help you make it through the night without tossing and turning. Additionally, adding a bit of this oil to the warm bath you take in the evening can help to relax you, calm your anxiety, and also help people suffering from certain chronic sleep disorders.
7. Natural Treatment for Eczema, Psoriasis and Rosacea
As we mentioned above, maracuja oil has several useful applications for your skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties are extremely helpful to help stop aging. For people suffering from more serious and chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, this natural oil can also bring needed relief. The fact that this oil naturally contains antibiotic properties can also help to prevent any long term skin damage associated with these skin issues.
8. Natural Anti-asthmatic
For people who suffer from severe allergies leading to asthma and breathing difficulties, it often feels like the only cure available are chemical inhalers that help to relieve the symptoms when an asthma attack occurs. However, one recent study by the International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences found that maracuja oil could be used as a natural anti-asthmatic. Furthermore, this oil can also be helpful to relieve the symptoms of other bothersome respiratory diseases such as bronchitis.
9. Helps to Lower Hypertension
The majority of uses for maracuja oil that we have listed so far call on using maracuja oil topically. From skin care to insomnia relief, maracuja oil has several uses when applied topically. However, the fact that this natural oil contains large amounts of important fatty acids such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, there are also certain benefits when this oil is ingested internally.
Since this oil is usually not used internally, you will want to carefully monitor how much you ingest. However, with the advice of a medical professional, you might be able to contribute to the lowering of your cholesterol and blood pressure levels with this natural oil. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure, of course, contribute to your overall cardiovascular health and can be an important factor in extending your lifetime.
10. Eliminates Stress and Anxiety
There are millions of people in the United States today who suffer from moderate to severe cases of stress and anxiety. The prescription of anti-anxiety medicines are at an all-time high and the abuse of these prescription medicines is contributing to a serious health crisis of its own. For these reasons, many health professionals have begun looking for more natural alternatives to help people suffering from issues with stress and anxiety.
Maracuja oil has been shown to have anxiolytic properties, which can help eliminate the increase of stress related hormones in the body. The best way to use maracuja oil for stress and anxiety relief is through aromatherapy, placing a few drops of this oil on your temple or chest.
11. Natural Pain Reliever
Maracuja oil can also be used as a natural alternative to aspirin, ibuprofen, and other analgesics. The anti-inflammatory properties that characterize this oil have already been shown as a way to reduce muscular inflammation. However, this oil is also useful as a topical ointment for localized pain. Applying a few drops of this oil on the affected area and gently massaging the area with pain is a great way to get rid of nagging aches and pains that aren´t allowing you to rest.
12. Keeps Your Vision Strong
Almost all of us know that eating a few carrots a day is a great, natural way to keep your vision strong. Maracuja oil contains high levels of carotenoids, the same ingredient found in carrots, which is known to help keep vision strong. More specifically, maracuja oil has been shown to be extremely high in lycopene which is essential for overall vision health. The antioxidant properties in this natural fruit also help aging people avoid common degenerative vision problems such as cataracts.
How to Use Maracuja Oil
By far, the most common use of maracuja oil is to be used topically. For skin problems, simply applying a few drops of this essential oil and rubbing into the affected area is a great way to enjoy the medicinal benefits of this plant. For topical applications over larger areas of your body, it might be a good idea to dilute maracuja oil in a carrier such as coconut oil or argon oil.
As we have shown above, maracuja oil can also be used as an oil in aromatherapy. This use of maracuja oil is especially important for people who want to gain relief from insomnia. One of the unique features of this oil is that it doesn´t have an overpowering aroma compared to other oils used in aromatherapy. Nonetheless, the soothing scent of this oil can still offer important health benefits.
Though the vast majority of medical uses for maracuja oil require the oil to be used topically, there are a few possibilities for ingesting the oil for internal use. Since maracuja oil has such high concentrations of certain beneficial fatty acids, this oil can potentially be used internally to help regulate your blood pressure and cholesterol. However, it is important to check with your doctor before ingesting this oil since there are potentially dangerous side effects which we will explain below.
Dosage Information for Maracuja Oil
Maracuja oil has been known to cause certain types of skin irritation in people whom with highly sensitive skin. For that reason, before applying any type of topical use of this oil, it is important to first apply a small amount of this oil to a limited, affected area to see how your skin reacts. One to two drops of oil on the affected area is usually more than enough to determine whether you will experience any sort of negative effects from this oil.
If you choose to dilute maracuja oil with a carrier oil, 7-8 drops of maracuja oil for every ounce of carrier oil is a good starting spot. If you want stronger applications, you can then build up from there. As mentioned above, any sort of internal use of maracuja oil should be first discussed with a medical professional who has knowledge of the potential benefits and harms of consuming maracuja oil.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects to Maracuja Oil Use?
Like most essential oils, there are some potentially serious and dangerous side effects to maracuja oil that you need to take into consideration before deciding to use it, either topically or internally. Because of the high potency of essential fatty acids in maracuja oil, it can affect both your gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system in certain cases. While these fatty acids can be beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol issues, they can also cause systemic problems if used improperly. It is always a good decision to talk to you doctor before using maracuja oil for problems related to your heart.
Furthermore, while maracuja oil can be extremely important in soothing certain issues related to and improperly function nervous system; there are also some potential side effects here as well. Maracuja oil has been proven to help calm anxiety and stress related issues. However, in some people there have been documented cases of maracuja oil causing dizziness, confusion, and other cognitive problems. While these issues are generally short lived, it is important to take them into account.
Lastly, in cases where people use large amounts of maracuja oil for either topical or aromatherapy uses, high doses can cause an increase in heart rate, inflamed blood vessels, and temporarily increased heart rate.
If you experience any of these symptoms or side effects, it is best to stop using maracuja oil and consult with a medical professional. However, in most cases, especially when used topically, there are virtually no side effects to using maracuja oil.
Top 5 Maracuja Oil Brands
While you can make your own maracuja oil, this will require you to get your hands on large amounts of passionflower or passion fruit seeds. Unless you live in a tropical country where this plant is widely cultivated, this might be hard to do. If you do gain access to large amounts of maracuja seeds, the cold pressed method is the most efficient and economical way to extract large amounts of oil from the seeds.
For people who don´t want to have to deal with the trouble of sourcing seeds and then extracting the oil, there are fortunately several online suppliers of maracuja oil. Below we offer five of the top maracuja oil brands.