Jojoba

- By: Aimee Regur

(Australian Wild Plum and Willow Facial Cleanser, Egyptian Calendula and Blood Orange Facial Cleanser, Moroccan Argan with Willow and Rosemary Facial Cream, Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Gogi Berry Facial Mask, Himalayan Geranium & Pomegranate Balancing Oil, Egyptian Fennel, Grapefruit and Sweet Orange Lip Balm, Italian Red Mandarin with Rose Lip Balm, Canadian Pine and White Sage Body Wash, Italian White Sage, Geranium and Yarrow Body Wash, Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom Body Wash)

Simmondsia chinensis is native to Southwestern North America (Sonoran, Colorado and Baja Californian Deserts), and can also be found in Arizona and Utah. It is endemic to North America, meaning, it cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Jojoba was misnamed Simmondsia chinensis as it is not found in China (chinensis – Chinese) after a label was misread by botanist Johann Link in the early 1800’s. The name has stuck, though botanists have tried to rename it Simmondsia californica without success.

Traditionally Jojoba seeds were heated and pounded into a rich butter, used by native peoples to soften hair and skin. It was also used a healing salve for wounds and burns. It was also used to preserve animal hides and as a wild food. The leaves are very astringent and were used topically as a poultice for burns and scrapes, and specifically for weepy rashes.

In beauty care, Jojoba is most similar of all plant oils to human sebum, the oily secretions from our sebaceous glands that lubricate our skin and hair. It is easily absorbed with out leaving a greasy layer topically. Jojoba has anti-inflammatory properties (remember it was traditionally used to treat burns), being useful for heat conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, cradle cap, diaperrash and in rubs for arthritic joints. It is also useful for acne prone skin in that it maintains a healthy moisture balance while not clogging pores and alleviating the irritation caused by breakouts. It can also be used to treat dry scalp and thinning hair by nourishing the follicles, which naturally produce sebum.

While there is not a great amount of historical data surrounding Jojoba, mainly due to the traditional cultures who used this plant not having written history. It is said the common name came from a Jesuit priest under the horrific rule of Hernan Cortez, who asked the natives what they were using on their bodies and the word sounded much like “Jojoba”. In the 1930’s it was used as an additive to oil paint and was used industrially during World War II as an additive to motor, gear and transmission oils as well as to heavy artillery, as the oil can withstand high temperatures before burning. It was not until the 1970’s when it began it’s tenure as a beauty care ingredient. Jojoba was the one of the first Native American plants to be domesticated and was intended to bring income and prosperity to Apache tribes as a cash crop, then undermined by larger corporations. It is interesting to note, that in the Language of Plants, archaically known as the Doctrine of Signatures, that the plant can tell its multitude of uses by its shape, color, growth patterns and growing conditions. The plants either mimic or are the opposite of their natural environment. Jojoba is the latter, as it grows in sandy, poor quality soils in very arid, high temperature locations. It has the distinct ability to counter these kinds of effects in the human body, bringing nutrients, moisture and reducing inflammation.

“God of Gorgeous Skin, Mother of Sebaceous Glands, Father of Hair Follicles, Sister of Acne-Free Clear Skin, Brother to Beautiful You, Friend of Fair Complexion, Enemy to Foreign Microbes and Foreign Bodies.”
– Blogger, Ayurvedic Oils