Oils- how and when to use them
Updated: Feb 6
We use oils when we cook food, to soften our skin and for our hair. But which oil is good for what exactly and why?
I have seen numerous blogs and articles about oils and where and when to use them. Everybody seems to be a bit confused about it. Some articles say take coconut oil daily for a better health, some say don't have as it will increase your cholesterol. I will be talking from my own experience and Ayurveda side of it.
In Latin countries women like to use olive oil on their skin and hair a lot. There are lots of positive comments about it how shiny and strong it makes their hair and skin looks much younger. First of all, different parts of the world is also different bodily constitutions. People who live in Lapland cannot compare themselves with people who live in the desert. They are brought up in a completely different environment eating their own kind of food. This is what makes us al unique!
Kapha type of people when balanced have naturally shiny, strong hair and young healthy looking skin but carrying more fat and water element because of the food they mostly crave, while Vata type of people have mostly dry skin which gets older quicker because of the ether and air qualities.
Lets have a look at the most common oils for different types.
Great to put on foods like salads, hummus etc. not good for cooking as it has a low smoke point. Its molecules are relatively big so it will not get through your skin. This means that each time you put that on your skin it will create a layer not allowing the dirt from outside to go in your skin(yeii) but also will not let your skin breathe. The same goes with hair. It will form a layer on your scalp and may cause clogging on the hair follicles which may lead to weaker hair or hair not growing in the long term. If you apply it only to the ends of your hair, it should be fine for a shinier look. All constitutions are welcome to use it in the right proportions.
Coconut oil is great. Especially for Pitta types. It is cooling and soothing. It will not clog your pores! Its molecules are small enough to go where it needs to go. If you have any rash you may want to try a thin layer of coconut oil. You can apply small amount inside your nostrils to calm the irritated nose. Coconut oil is also great for cooking and especially good inside cakes. It has higher smoke point than virgin olive oil but be careful not to burn. As soon as it starts to smoke, its toxic to your body. Coconut oil also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties- so it works miracles on nail fungus when mixed with oregano oil.
Ghee is called a clarified butter in the west. It is made usually with a regular butter by boiling it until water has evaporated and milk particles separated. You will end up with a beautiful yellow fat. In the olden times making ghee was a bit longer process- the milk usually came from the buffalo but not always, then the milk was boiled to kill the bad bacteria, after that milk cultures were added to make curd. Curd was churned to get buttermilk and butter out of it. From the cultured butter they made the real ghee which has so many health benefits from simply clearing your skin to help you live longer!
Ghee has a much higher smoking point so its great for cooking. It tastes slightly cheesy but without the actual milk. You can use it as a butter on your bread as well. Its cooling and calming. I like to use this when I get a cold sore(you can add some honey to it as well). Ghee helps to transport and absorb spices to the targeted areas in your body. Its very often mixed in Ayurvedic medicines as well for that reason. Ghee is great for Pitta and Vata types, but will increase Kapha because of the earth element and cooling properties. It is called Sattvic food in Ayurveda which means positivity, compassion, love, growth etc. They should name it a “Holy Ghee” instead :). I’ve been using this for years in my cooking but it is not recommended to use it daily as it is still from animal source. Its very easy to make, you can check the recipe out from my other blog here.
Sesame seed oil:
Sesame seed oil is tri-doshic which means its good for all doshas(constitution). It is little bit warming but that is OK for Pittas usually unless you have skin patches which is caused by heat in the body. Its smoke point is similar to coconut oil. Sesame seed oil is great for pains like headaches, joint pains, stiff neck etc. it helps the Vata (energy) to move. Vata is movement and if it is stuck it causes pain. When warmed it works miracles on joint pain like arthritis. I’ve been prescribing my patients that quite often as a home remedy when they experience pain. They have been always very surprised how simple thing cooking oil can help so much with health. Food is full of miracles :).
Sesame seed oil is also wildly used in Ayurvedic body and head Massage. It leaves the hair and skin smooth, calm and moisturized. If you like to experience Ayurvedic massage, then feel free to book an appointment with me!
I rarely use sunflower oil. I just find that there are so many other oils that have more benefits. It can be a bit heating in my opinion. Its not so good for Pittas for that reason. Mostly Pitta imbalanced. Vata and Kapha types should do fine with it. You can use this for a massage or for cooking.
Wildly used in cooking and in Ayurvedic medicine. It is very heating and not really suitable for Pitta type or Pitta disorders. Suitable for Kapha types because of the cold and dampness. Not advised to use on skin for a long time as it dries out the skin. But very useful for deep seated pains which is caused by cold and water retention, also sciatica. I would not recommend using this oil without speaking to an Ayurvedic Professional!
We have to remember that all fats create AMA (toxins) when overused- good or bad! Everything in moderation is good! You should not eat fats with a spoon daily, doesn’t matter what some articles might say. Fat is fat!
PS: From time to time I might add some new comments and oils here. So come back to check ;)