7 Beneficial Plant Oils to Know 

by Melissa Chichester

When it comes to supplements, most of us know the major vitamins and minerals that we need to support daily health and wellness.

However, it’s important to not overlook herbs and plants. Plants contain many beneficial phytonutrients to support human health. According to the National Institutes of Health, research suggests more than 10,000 have been identified in plants – while some estimate 25,000.

Either way, the benefits of plants should not be overlooked in the diet or supplements. 

Plant oils are one of many ways that different plant compounds can be used for health.  Some can be used topically for skin health alone or as part of product formulations. Other plant oils are convenient supplements all on their own.

Here are seven beneficial plant oils to consider in your routine.

Borage Oil

Starflower is an annual plant with edible leaves – also known as borage. Native to North Africa and the Mediterranean, it is widely used as a vegetable or a dried herb and has a cucumber-like taste. It is used in salads and soups, and in some regions of Italy, it is a common pasta filling. 

Borage seeds are used to extract oil, which has many benefits. Borage oil is a plant source of the omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid – or GLA. Borage oil also supports cellular and metabolic health.* Research indicates that GLA is also beneficial for women’s health.* 

In addition, researchers continue to explore the potential benefits of borage oil for skin health. 

Evening Primrose Oil 

Evening primrose is a flowering plant with yellow flowers, traditionally used by Native Americans. It is known as evening primrose because the flower blooms open up at night and close during the daytime hours. 

The oil in evening primrose seeds is one of the most concentrated sources of gamma-linolenic acid. As a supplement, evening primrose oil supports healthy skin and has been used to provide nutritional support for women.* 

Garlic Oil 

Garlic is much more than a delicious herb. Garlic’s health benefits increase when it’s crushed or chopped. That’s when an enzyme called allinase acts on an amino acid (alliin) to produce allicin.

These nutrients are key to garlic’s beneficial properties. 

Garlic has traditional uses, including supporting heart and circulatory health.* Garlic is believed to provide its traditional benefits by helping maintain healthy blood flow through platelet function.* It has been traditionally used for cardiovascular health as recorded in Ancient Roman and Ayurvedic texts.* 

Garlic oil is also a popular nutritional supplement. 

Flaxseed Oil 

Did you know Charles the Great (better known as Charlemagne) was so convinced about the health benefits of flaxseeds that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume them?

Today, flaxseed remains a popular choice because it is a source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

ALA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid necessary for human health.

Your body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, so you must get them from food. 

Flaxseed oil contributes to heart health and is an energy source for the body.* Flaxseed oil also contains lignans – phytochemicals that support overall wellness.* 

Black Cumin Seed Oil 

Black cumin is an annual flowering plant and is also known as Nigella sativa or black cumin. Its use in health practices dates back thousands of years.

Black cumin seed oil has a bitter taste and is sometimes used in cooking. The seeds have a nutty, smokey taste and are used for flavoring in cheese, baked goods, and a variety of spice blends. As a supplement, black cumin seed oil supports a healthy inflammatory response.* Inflammatory response in our body can occur from a variety of everyday factors including daily activities, physical exertion, and other lifestyle factors.

Oil of Oregano

Oregano became more popular in the United States when soldiers brought it home from Italy during WWII. At this time, it was known as the “pizza herb.” Like many other plants, oregano contains naturally occurring antioxidants. Oil of Oregano supplements help supply these antioxidants.  

Coconut Oil 

Are you crazy about coconuts? These tropical delights are enjoyed in tropical regions around the world as a delectable fruit. Coconut oil contains essential fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are shorter in length than most other dietary fats, which allows them to be oxidized differently in the body than other fats. 

If you are interested in adding any of these supplements to your routine, be sure to discuss it with a physician first. 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.