Crambe (Cram-be) Abyssinia (ab-uh-sin-ee-uh) is an annual oil seed crop of the Brassicaceae family which is commonly referred to as mustard or cabbage.
If pronouncing Abyssinia is a problem for you, try saying “I’ll be seeing ya”. No, I didn’t make that up but I wish I had!
There once was a group of people who lived very long ago, before Christ was even born. This group or tribe lived in the Mediterranean on land now called Ethiopia. The tribe was called the Abyssinians. They were surrounded by a green shrub that grew strong, tall stalks that bloomed tiny delicate white flowers. It also had round green pods. If they crushed the pods, there was one tiny brown seed inside each pod. And if they smashed the seed, there was oil and a lot of it for such a small seed. They soon realized that even during times of drought, the plant continued to grow. It would just dig it’s roots further into the ground, determined to survive the worst conditions.
The Abyssinians loved the plant so much they took many with them when they moved to Africa. Some say the plant originated in the Mediterranean and some say, Africa. Whichever! Regardless, the plant became known as the Abyssinia.
The Abyssinia’s beauty and value could not be kept a secret. The beloved plant spread to Asia, Europe, Russia, Sweden, and Poland. By the 1940’s Canada and the USA began cultivation. You might be asking where in the USA? North Dakota grows 4 varieties.
What Does Crambe Abyssinia Look Like?
The plant has large oval leaves and multiple straight stalks with branches. These stalks reach a height of 24 to 40 inches. It also produces numerous small white flowers which mostly self pollinate. (My gosh, this strong little plant even self-pollinates!)
Each plant has 500-1800 green pods. Inside each pod is a single teeny-tiny yellowish brown seed, also called the fruit. How tiny are they, you might ask? They are about one-eight of an inch in diameter. The weight of 1,000 seeds is only 6-10 grams. This actually makes them difficult to secure on a truck for transporting.
Dried Pods or Hulls Containing Seeds
Crambe Abyssinia Seed
Machines crush the seed to retrieve the oil without the need for chemical solvents or additives. Nor is it subjected to heat which can alter or reduce its chemical properties. The oil is a light yellow with a mild scent.
So far, there has not been any genetic engineering in the cultivation of this plant. Thus, the oil is non-GMO. Another YEAH!
Chemical Characteristics of Abyssinian Oil
Each seed is 35% oil, 26% protein and 8% fiber. The percent of oil is nearly twice that of soybeans. WOW!
The oil has a unique molecular structure. It has an unusually long chain monounsaturated fatty acid. Considered a triglyceride, 55 to 60% is Erucic Acid, 15% is Oleic Acid, 10% is Linoleic Acid and 7% Linolenic Acid. There’s some other good stuff in there, but I’ve bored you enough, right?
How is the Oil (and Seeds) Used?
Rapeseed has been used in industrial manufacturing for centuries, but it is being genetically altered in such a way that it now contains less Erucic Acid. Abyssinian oil is taking its place. Its industrial uses include: machinery lubricant, corrosion inhibitor, synthetic rubber, plasticizers, nylon used in paint brushes, adhesives etc.
Once the oil is removed, the remaining seed is made into crambe meal and used in plywood, rubber adhesive, and insecticides to control weeds and pest. Because it is a high source of protein, it is fed to livestock, particularly cattle.
But who cares about all that? Let’s talk cosmetics. Read on my friend.
What’s So Great About Abyssinian Seed Oil In Cosmetics?
- is a very light weight, non-greasy, and non-sticky feeling
- penetrates the skin quickly and easily
- has a comedogenic rating of 0 which means it will not clog your pores
- is extra occlusive and seals in moisture very well
- is anti-inflammatory
- helps with cell metabolism and skin regeneration
- has a smooth slip on the skin which eliminates the need for silicone; thus, a more naturally based product
- is highly resistant to oxidation so it is easy to preserve which means fewer chemicals
Because of all the above, it is also a great ingredient in hair care products. By smoothing the hair cuticle, it reduces damage and breakage. It leaves hair shiny, soft and manageable. Monat Hair Care uses Abyssinian Oil in most of its products. Yes, I also sell Monat. Click HERE to go to my Monat website.
Where Can You Find Skin Care Products Made With Abyssinia Oil?
Josette Bath & Body, of course! All of Josette Bath & Body moisturizers contain Abyssinian oil as a key ingredient. Our Abyssinian based products are silicone free, paraben free, and phthalate free. We never use ingredients that have been tested on animals. We use natural, organic ingredients and safe nature-based preservatives.
Check out our Moisturizers :
Body Butter with Abyssinian Oil by Josette Bath & Body
Botanical Bliss Body Lotion with Abyssinian Oil made by Josette Bath & Body
Facial Serum with Abyssinian Oil made by Josette Bath & Body
Sugar Scrub with Abyssinian Oil made by Josette Bath & Body
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