The Health Benefits of Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot seed oil is an essential oil extracted from the seed of the Daucus carota plant, which is primarily used for aromatherapy. It has a warm, earthy aroma and is believed to offer a variety of health benefits, including the reduction of stress and anxiety. When added to a carrier oil or cream emulsion, carrot seed oil has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that may improve skin health and appearance.

Carrot seed oil should not be confused with carrot oil, which is made from crushed carrot roots and can be used for culinary purposes. As an essential oil, carrot seed oil is intended for external use only.

Wild carrot flower (daucus carota) turning seeds
Guenter Fischer / ImageBroker / Getty Images

Health Benefits

The benefits of carrot seed oil can be grouped by use in aromatherapy and in topical skincare. In both instances, only limited data exist to support benefits, although the oil is generally considered safe if used appropriately.


Aromatherapy involves the inhalation of essential oils to improve psychological or physical health and well-being. The oils can be inhaled directly, disbursed into the air with a diffuser, or applied to the skin.

Alternative practitioners believe that carrot seed oil stimulates brain and nerve function in a way that is refreshing and helps diminish feelings of anxiety, stress, weakness, and fatigue. Others claim that it can stimulate the digestive system, enhance liver and kidney health, and promote detoxification on a cellular level.

A 2017 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Science suggests that the aromatic monocyclic monoterepene p-cymene—which is found in carrots, as well as orange juice, tangerines, and oregano—has analgesic-like properties and may help relieve headaches by blocking pain receptors in the nervous system called nociceptors.

Other studies have suggested that these same compounds exert anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.

Skin Care

Carrot seed oil has become a popular ingredient in many cosmetic and skincare products. Its rise in popularity is due to research suggesting that it has multiple properties beneficial to the skin.

A 2016 study from Portugal concluded that carrot seed oil has potent antibacterial properties and was able to inhibit the growth of staphylococcal, streptococcal, and listeria bacteria. This effect was mainly attributed to a chemical called alpha-pinene which is able to kill bacteria without damaging underlying skin cells.

Although proponents have long suggested that carrot seed oil has anti-aging properties and may help treat dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rash, scarring, and vitiligo, there is little qualitative evidence to support these claims.

To that end, the Portuguese researchers also reported that carrot seed oil exhibits only mild anti-inflammatory properties and little if any antioxidant effects.

Possible Side Effects

Carrot seed oil is generally considered safe if used externally. With that being said, you should never apply undiluted carrot seed oil to the skin as it may cause redness, rash, and burning sensations.

If using it for topical purposes, always mix carrot seed oil with a cold-pressed carrier oil like sweet almond oil or coconut oil. (Cold-pressed oils undergo less oxidation and are gentler on the skin than heat-pressed oils.)

Carrot seed oil applied topically may cause photosensitivity, increasing the risk of heat rash and sunburn. To avoid irritation, limit your sun exposure and always apply a high SPF sunblock when using carrot seed oil.

Carrot seed oil may also cause an allergic reaction in people who have an allergy to birch, celery, mugwort, and certain spices (like anise, fennel, black pepper, and caraway). The cross-reactive condition, known as celery-carrot-mugwort-spice syndrome, is more common when exposed to raw carrots but may occur with carrots in any form.

Prior to using carrot seed oil, always test the diluted oil on a small patch of skin and wait overnight to see if is any reaction occurs.


Carrot seed oil may cause a drop in blood pressure due to its diuretic effects, i.e., its ability to encourage fluid elimination. Because of this, you should avoid it if you take antihypertensive medications and stop using carrot seed oil two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Carrot seed oil has estrogen-like effects and may interact with Premarin (conjugated equine estrogen), ethinyl estradiol, and estradiol. While the risk is considered low when carrot seed oil is inhaled, it may increase with topical application.

Due to its photosensitizing effects, carrot seed oil should not be used if you are taking photosensitizing drugs for psoriasis phototherapy, certain antibiotics (like ciprofloxacin and tetracycline), or ofloxacin eye drops.


Carrot seed oil should never be used during pregnancy as it may cause uterine contractions and, in rare cases, miscarriage. The use of carrot seed for contraception and abortion has long been recorded in the historical medical literature, although the practice is considered unsafe and strongly advised against today.

Its effect on breastfeeding babies is unknown and should be avoided.

If taken internally, carrot seed oil may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and convulsions. High doses can lead to severe kidney problems.

Call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 if you or anyone you know accidentally consumes undiluted essential oil. Never induce vomiting unless Poison Control staff tells you to.

Dosage and Preparation

Carrot seed oil is golden yellow in color and of thin-to-medium consistency. It is typically distilled and sold in 2- to 10-ounce bottles.

When used for aromatherapy, you can sprinkle a few drops onto a cloth or tissue and inhale deeply, or use a commercial aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer. Practitioners of aromatherapy often combine carrot seed oil with other therapeutic oils, such as cedar, cinnamon, grapefruit, or geranium essential oil.

When used topically, add no more than 12 drops of carrot seed oil to 1 fluid ounce (30 milliliters) of a carrier oil, lotion, vegetable butter, or moisturizing cream.

Carrot seed oil must never be used near the eyes, in the nose or ears, on the genitals, or on any other sensitive areas of skin.

What to Look For

When buying any essential oil, remember that quality matters. Because essential oils are not strictly regulated, you should only purchase oils with labels that include the Latin name of the oil source (in this case, Daucus carota) and the country of origin.

Less scrupulous manufacturers will often sell mixed blends as "carrot seed oil" or dilute the product in everyday vegetable oil. To tell the difference, place a drop of oil on a paper towel; if an oil ring appears, you are most likely buying a cheap, vegetable-oil-based product.

Because essential oils are easily degraded by sunlight, they should only come in light-resistant dark amber or blue glass bottles. If a bottle is clear or plastic, you are almost invariably buying a low-grade oil.

Carrot seed oil is classified as a cosmetic by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even when used for aromatherapy, manufacturers are barred from making any claims about cures or disease prevention, as clinical research to support such claims is lacking.

Other Questions

Can carrot seed oil go bad?
Yes. Oxidation and heat exposure can cause the product to degrade rapidly—even before its expiration date and even if it's a quality product.

While an expired oil is unlikely to cause any significant harm, its aroma may suddenly change or the oil may cause increased skin irritation.

To prolong the life of carrot seed oil, keep it stored in a cool, dry room in its original light-resistant bottle. Avoid overbuying essential oils as 10 milliliters can easily last for years even with regular use.

If carrot seed oil suddenly smells off, becomes cloudy, and has a thicker consistency, it is almost certainly bad and should be discarded irrespective of the expiration date.

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