The Health Benefits of Carrot Seed Oil

An essential oil used for aromatherapy and skin care

carrot flower closeup

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Carrot seed oil is an essential oil extracted from the seed of the Daucus carota plant that is used primarily 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 even prevent aging.

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.

Health Benefits

The benefits of carrot seed oil can be broken down by its use in aromatherapy and its use in topical skincare. In both instances, only limited data exist to support their use, although they are generally considered safe if used appropriately.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves the inhalation of essential oils to improve your 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 diminishes 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.

While there is little evidence of this in clinical research, a 2013 study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that aromatherapy, used for 10 days in 31 women with mild anxiety, not only subjectively improved moods but altered the women's metabolic function (as measured by urinalysis).

According to the researchers, aromatherapy increased levels of arginine (which helps blood vessel relax and improve circulation) while decreasing alcohol, carbohydrates, and organic acids level compared to pre-treatment values.

Whether the same would occur with carrot seed oil is unknown.

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.

The scientists also reported that carrot seed oil exhibits only mild anti-inflammatory properties and little if any antioxidant effects.

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.

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 used 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 also cause photosensitivity, increasing the risk of heat rash and sunburn. To avoid irritation, limit your sun exposure and always use a high SPF sunblock.

Wild carrot oil can also cause an allergic reaction in people who have an allergy to birch, celery, mugwort, spices, and related plants (a cross-reactive condition known as celery-carrot-mugwort-spice syndrome). 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.

Interactions

Carrot seed oil may cause a drop in blood pressure and decrease the efficacy of antihypertensive drugs used to treat high blood pressure. Because of this, you should stop using carrot seed oil two weeks before scheduled surgery to avoid an adverse drop in blood pressure.

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.

Warnings

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 historical medical literature. 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 oil of thin to medium consistency. It is typically steamed distilled and sold in 2-ounce to 10-ounce tinted 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 combined 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 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 whose label includes 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.

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 they lack the clinical research to support such claims

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

Other Questions

Can carrot seed oil go bad?

Even the best of essential oils has a sell-by date. While an expired oil is unlikely to cause any significant harm, years of oxidation and heat exposure can cause the product to degrade rapidly. In some cases, the aroma may suddenly change or cause increased skin irritation.

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 expiry date.

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.

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Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Worwood, VA. (2018) The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. Novato, California: New World Library.

  3. Jansen GC, Wohlmuth H. Carrot seed for contraception: A review. Australian J Herbal Med. 2014:26(1):10-14.

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