Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 14, 2006

From: New York, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Skin care uses of sunflower seed oil
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Just wondering what, if any, were the traditional uses of sunflower in skincare? I thought I read somewhere that the seeds were crushed up into an oil and used on the skin for sun protection? Is there anything out there that corroborates this? Please advise. Many thanks.

ANSWER:

I haven't been able to find any reference (in print or over the internet) to sun protection for the sunflower, but I have found several references to other uses on the skin and hair. The seeds of the Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) were crushed and the oil used for a dressing for the hair. The University of Michigan-Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany database lists several skin-related uses for H. annuus:

"Oil from seeds used 'to lubricate or paint the face or body'"-Mandan Indian;
"Juice applied to cuts"-Jemez Indians; and
"Petals dried, ground, mixed with yellow corn meal and used as a face powder in women's basket dance"-Hopi Indians.

For the Sawtooth sunflower (Helianthus grossesserratus), a "Poultice of blossoms used for burns"-Meskwaki Indians.

The National Sunflower Association says the oil of the seed was used by Native Americans on their skin and hair, but nothing about sun protection. You might contact them to see if they know of other references for traditional uses of the plant and its seeds.

 

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Possible medicinal uses of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
April 13, 2006 - I recently read an article about the healing properties of Spanish Moss. It mentioned reducing bad cholesterol in the human body. What exactly are the properties in this plant that are good for you, ...
view the full question and answer

What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
August 09, 2011 - Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
view the full question and answer

Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio
May 03, 2006 - Hello there, I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs. If you could h...
view the full question and answer

Medicinal Yerba de la Negrita (Sphaeralcea coccinea)
June 24, 2009 - When I make my own batch of Yerba de la Negrita how long will it keep in the refrigerator?
view the full question and answer

Comptonia peregrina tea as topical treatment for poison ivy
July 19, 2007 - I have been told that Sweet Fern stewed into a tea is a great topical treatment for poision ivy. Is this true?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.