Carrot Oil

Scientific Name(s): Daucus carota L, subsp. sativus (Hoffm.) Archang. Family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae

Common Name(s): Oil of carrot , Queen Anne's lace , wild carrot

Uses

Lab studies show that carrot seed oil, which had a wide range of applications in folk medicine, acts as a muscle relaxant and vasodilator. It is now most commonly used as fragrance, flavoring and a source of food color, beta-carotene and vitamin A. Hypotensive and hepatoprotective properties have yet to be confirmed in humans.

Dosing

100 g of grated carrots was given daily in a study of lactation supplementation with vitamin A. 1

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Ingestion of large amounts may have neurological effects.

Toxicology

Most data indicate that the vegetable and the seed oil are nontoxic. 2

Botany

The carrot is an annual or biennial herb, having an erect multi-branched stem, growing up to 1.5 m (4 ft) in height. The wild carrot is commonly seen in fields and roadsides throughout most of temperate North America and is seen with an intricately patterned flat flower cluster (Queen Anne's lace). The main cluster is made up of some 500 flowers, with a single, small red-to-purplish flower at the center. The wild carrot has an inedible tough white root. It is native to Asia and Europe, having been brought to America from England. The common cultivated carrot [ Daucus carota L. subspecies sativus (Hoffm.) Archang.] possesses an edible, fleshy, orange taproot. The parts that are used pharmaceutically are the dried fruit which yields carrot seed oil upon steam distillation and the orange carrot root which yields root oil by solvent extraction. 2 , 3

Chemistry

Carrot seed oil is made up of α-pinene (up to 13%), β-pinene, carotol (up to 18%), daucol, limonene, β-bisabolene, β-elemene, cis -β-bergamotene, γ-decalactone, β-farnesene, geraniol, geranyl acetate (up to 10%), caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, methyl eugenol, nerolidol, eugenol, trans -asarone, vanillin, asarone, α-terpineol, terpinene-4-ol, γ-decanolactone, coumarin, β-selinene, palmitic acid, butyric acid and other constituents. The seed oil varies in content from 0.005% to 7% of the plant. 2

The chemical composition of the edible carrot root is 86% water, 0.9% protein, 0.1% fat, 10.7% carbohydrate, 1.2% fiber, trace elements and vitamin A (2000 to 4300 IU in 100 grams). 3 Several tissue culture studies on D. carota identify new ingredients in the vegetative tissue (eg, anthocyanins, 4 , 5 chlorogenic acid, 4 flavonoids, 6 apigenin 7 and a soluble β-fructofuranosidase). 8

Uses and Pharmacology

Relaxant/vasodilator/hypotensive
Animal data

Carrot seed oil exhibits both smooth-muscle relaxant and vasodilatory action in isolated animal organ studies. It depresses cardiac activity in both frog and dog hearts. 2

An ethanol extract (10 to 100 mg/kg dose) produced a dose-dependent decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in anesthetized normotensive rats. Further experiments using beating guinea pig paired atria showed that the cardiovascular effects are independent of adrenergic or cholinergic receptors, and the extract induced a concentration-dependent (0.3 to 5 mg/mL) decrease in force and rate of atrial contractions. The same preparation applied to rabbit thoracic aorta produced inhibition of potassium-induced contractions. These results suggest that D. carota extract may exhibit calcium channel blocking-like direct relaxant action on cardiac and smooth muscle, and may explain its hypotensive action. 9

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of carrot oil as a relaxant/vasodilator/hypotensive.

Hepatoprotectant
Animal data

An extract of D. carota has demonstrated hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced intoxication in mouse liver. 10 Obviously, both these hypotensive and hepatoprotective properties need verification in humans.

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of carrot oil as a hepatoprotectant.

Food/flavoring/coloring/fragrance

The cultivated fleshy taproot of the edible carrot is widely eaten as a raw or cooked vegetable; even wine has been brewed from the plant. 3 The continued use of carrot seed oil is primarily as a fragrance in detergents, soaps, creams, lotions and perfumes (which contain 0.4%, the highest level) and as a flavoring in many food products (eg, liqueurs, nonalcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, gelatins, puddings, meat products, condiments, relishes and soups), usually in levels below 0.003%. 2 The root oil is used in sunscreen preparations, as a yellow food color (because of its high carotene content) and as a good source of β-carotene and vitamin A. 2

Other uses

Extracts of D. carota show only limited antifungal activity. 11 A wide array of older references lists the uses of carrot seed oil as an aromatic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, aphrodisiac, nerve tonic and as a treatment for dysentery, worms, uterine pain, cancer, diabetes, gout, heart disease, indigestion and various kidney ailments. 3 Many of these areas have not yet been fully studied.

Dosage

100 g of grated carrots was given daily in a study of lactation supplementation with vitamin A. 3

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy of the oil in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Avoid use.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Because myristicin (a known psychoactive agent) occurs in carrot seed, it has been proposed that ingestion of large amounts of D. carota may cause neurological effects. Some individuals have shown sensitivity (irritation, vesication) to carrot leaf when they handle it excessively, especially after exposure to sunlight. 3

Toxicology

Most data indicate that the vegetable and the seed oil are nontoxic. 2

Bibliography

1. Ncube TN, Grenier T, Malaba LC, Gebre-Medhin M. Supplementing lactating women with pureed papaya and grated carrots improved vitamin A status in a placebo-controlled trial. J Nutr . 2001;131:1497-1502.
2. Leung AY. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients , ed. 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.
3. Duke JA. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs . Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1989.
4. Stark D, et al. Phenylalanine Ammonia Lyase Activity and Biosynthesis of Anthrocyanins and Chlorogenic Acid in Tissue Cultures of Daucus carota . Planta Med . 1976;30:104.
5. Hemingson JC, Collins RP. Anthrocyanins Present in Cell Cultures of Daucus carota . J Nat Prod . 1982;45:385.
6. El-Moghazi AM, et al. Flavonoids of Daucus carota . Planta Med . 1980;40:382.
7. Gupta KR, Niranjan GS. New Flavone Glycoside From Seeds of Daucus carota . Planta Med . 1982;46:240.
8. Unger C, et al. Purification and Characterization of a Soluble Beta-Fructofuranosidase From Daucus carota . Eur J Biochem . 1992;204(2):915.
9. Gilani AH, et al. Cardiovascular Actions of Daucus carota . Arch Pharmacal Res . 1994;17(3):150.
10. Bishayee A, et al. Hepatoprotective Activity of Carrot ( Daucus carota L.) Against Carbon Tetrachloride Intoxication in Mouse Liver. J Ethnopharm . 1995;47(2):69.
11. Guerin JC, Reveillere HP. Antifungal Activity of Plant Extracts Used in Therapy. Part 2. Study of 40 plant extracts against 9 fungal species. Ann Pharma Fr . 1985;43(1):77.

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