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Carrot Oil

Scientific Name(s): Daucus carota L. (wild carrot), Daucus carota L. subspecies sativus (Hoffm.) Archang. (common carrot)
Common Name(s): Bird's nest, Bishop's lace, Carrot (seed, root, leaf), Oil of carrot, Pastinocello, Purple carrot, Queen Anne's lace, Wild carrot

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 24, 2022.

Clinical Overview


Carrot oil has been investigated in animal and in vitro models for its antimicrobial, antioxidant, cytotoxic, and cardiovascular effects. However, clinical data are lacking to recommend use of carrot oil for any indication.


Clinical trials are lacking to provide dosing recommendations.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Emmenagogue and abortifacient effects have been reported. Excessive consumption of carrot roots or juice should be avoided. Beta-carotene and carrot flavoring are transmitted in breast milk; excessive maternal intake can lead to carotenemia in a breastfeeding infant.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Case reports describe carotenemia, methemoglobinemia, and allergic contact dermatitis associated with consumption of carrots. Phytophotodermatitis has occurred with topical application of wild carrot extract. Allergy and phototoxicity are also possible.


Carrot seed oil has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status, and carrot root oil has been approved for use as a food colorant.

Scientific Family

  • Apiaceae (carrot)


Carrot is an annual or biennial herb native to Asia and Europe and brought to America from England. The carrot plant grows up to 1.5 m in height, with an erect, multibranched stem. The wild carrot, commonly seen in fields and along roadsides throughout most of temperate North America, has an intricately patterned flat flower cluster (ie, Queen Anne's lace, bird's nest, bishop's lace). The main cluster is made up of about 500 flowers, with a single small, red to purplish flower at the center. Wild carrot has an inedible tough white root. The common cultivated carrot (D. carota L. subspecies sativus [Hoffm.] Archang.) is a subspecies of D. carota and possesses an edible, fleshy, orange-red taproot. Purple and black cultivars are also produced. The parts used pharmaceutically are the dried seed, which yields carrot seed oil upon steam distillation, and the orange carrot root, which yields root oil by solvent extraction. The leaves are also eaten traditionally for medicinal benefit.FDA 2015, Khan 2009, Soares 2018


Carrot cultivation is believed to date back more than 5,000 years and is possibly depicted in Egyptian drawings dating around 2,000 BCE. Greek medical writers of the first century CE also mention carrot. D. carota originated in present-day Afghanistan, spread to China in the 13th and 14th centuries, reached Europe in the 15th century, and was later introduced to North America via European settlers; today, D. carota is found in most countries.Jansen 2014

The common name "Queen Anne's lace" is attributed to the challenge to produce lace as dainty as D. carota flowers. According to a wide range of older references, carrot seed oil has been used as an aromatic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, aphrodisiac, and nerve tonic, and as a treatment for dysentery, worms, uterine pain, cancer, diabetes, gout, heart disease, indigestion, and various kidney ailments.Duke 2002, Khan 2009

Carrot seed oil is used primarily as a fragrance in detergents, soaps, creams, lotions, and perfumes (highest concentration of 0.4%), and as a flavoring in many food products (eg, liqueurs, nonalcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, gelatins, puddings, meat products, condiments, relishes, soups), usually in concentrations below 0.003%. The root oil is used in sunscreen preparations, as a yellow food color (due to its high carotene content), and as a source of beta-carotene and vitamin A.Khan 2009


Carrot seed oil is made up of alpha-pinene (up to 13%), beta-pinene, carotol (up to 18%), daucol, limonene, beta-bisabolene, beta-elemene, cis-beta-bergamotene, gamma-decalactone, beta-farnesene, geraniol, geranyl acetate (up to 10%), caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, methyl eugenol, nerolidol, eugenol, trans-asarone, vanillin, asarone, alpha-terpineol, terpinene-4-ol, gamma-decanolactone, coumarin, beta-selinene, palmitic acid, and butyric acid, among other constituents. Composition of the oil is considered to be species specific.Jasicka-Misiak 2004, Khan 2009, Rokbeni 2013

The edible carrot root has a chemical composition of 86% water, 0.9% protein, 0.1% fat, 10.7% carbohydrate, 1.2% fiber, trace elements, and vitamin A (2,000 to 4,300 units per 100 g). The root yields an essential oil, the major constituents of which are geranyl acetate, alpha-pinene, geraniol, myrcene, bisabolol, sabinene, and limonene. Similarly, flower oil is also derived, with varying chemical composition. Several tissue culture studies of D. carota have identified new ingredients in the vegetative tissue (eg, anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, flavonoids, apigenin, soluble beta-fructofuranosidase).Flamini 2014, Sharma 2012

Uses and Pharmacology

Antimicrobial effects

In vitro data

In vitro, wild carrot seed oil has demonstrated antifungal activity.Alves-Silva 2016 Activity of the seed oil and carrot root juice against common human pathogens, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus, has also been shown.Degirmenci 2012, Khan 2009, Rokbeni 2013 Activity of the essential oil is more evident against gram-positive organisms than gram-negative organisms.Alves-Silva 2016, Gaglio 2017

Antioxidant effects

Animal and in vitro data

An extract of D. carota has demonstrated hepatoprotective effects against carbon tetrachloride–induced intoxication in mouse liver.Bishayee 1995 Protection against renal ischemia reperfusion injury in rats has also been demonstrated with D. carota root extract.Afzal 2013 Additionally, carrot leaves reduced hepatocellular toxicity and oxidative stress in a murine model.Ebeid 2015

Clinical data

There are no clinical data regarding the use of carrot oil for antioxidant activity; however, carrot is recognized as a source of the dietary antioxidant vitamin A.

Cardiovascular effects

In vitro data

Carrot seed oil has exhibited smooth muscle relaxant, vasodilatory, and cardiosuppressant activities in isolated animal organ studies.Khan 2009

Cytotoxic effects

Animal and in vitro data

In an animal model of tongue carcinogenesis, purple carrot extract reduced oral lesions (diagnosed as dysplasia and squamous cell carcinoma) caused by 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide.Soares 2018

In a murine model of induced skin carcinogenesis, a wild carrot oil extract demonstrated cytotoxic effects.Shebaby 2017

Dietary effects

Widespread consumption of carrot roots and leaves as part of the human diet make data from animal studies irrelevant.

Clinical data

Plasma concentrations of total carotenoids increase with consumption of carrot juiceButalla 2012; however, in the Australian QUENCH trial, no effect was demonstrated on body mass or composition, lipid profile, blood pressure, or C-reactive protein at 4 weeks following consumption of anthocyanins 118.5 mg/day and phenolic acids 259.2 mg/day from dried purple carrot.Wright 2013 A meta-analysis suggested that dietary carrot intake was associated with a reduction in the risk of breast cancer.Chen 2018

Female sexual dysfunction

Clinical data

A small clinical study in Persia demonstrated beneficial effects of D. carota, given for 8 weeks in combination with other herbals, on sexual desire, lubrication, orgasm, and pain associated with female sexual dysfunction.Molkara 2018

Nephroprotective effects

Animal data

In a murine model of gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity, an ethanolic root extract of D. carota decreased serum urea, blood urea nitrogen, uric acid, and creatinine in a dose-dependent manner. Histopathological improvements were also noted with D. carota.Sodimbaku 2016


In vitro data

In an in vitro study, D. carota extract inhibited osteoclastic differentiation while promoting osteoblastic differentiation.Suzuki 2019


Animal data

An extract of D. carota roots demonstrated beneficial effects in a murine model of urolithiasis by exerting anticrystallization effects and improving urine and serum biochemical parameters.Bawari 2019


Clinical trials are lacking to provide dosing recommendations.

Beta-carotene content is highest when raw carrot roots are consumed; steaming or boiling for less than 15 minutes limits loss of potency.Imsic 2010, Schnäbele 2008 Vitamin A bioavailability in carrot root juice is higher than in cooked and raw spinach.Courraud 2013

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Emmenagogue and abortifacient effects of D. carota have been reported.Courraud 2013, Ernst 2002, Jansen 2014, Khan 2009, Rokbeni 2013 Antifertility effects have been demonstrated in rats.Duke 2002, Khan 2009 Excessive consumption of carrot root should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation. Beta-carotene and carrot flavoring are transmitted in breast milk; excessive maternal intake can lead to carotenemia in a breastfeeding infant.LactMed 2018


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Case reports describe carotenemia appearing as jaundice as a result of excessive carrot consumption, with one report of an increase in liver enzymes.Keown 2014, Sansone 2012 Another case report describes toxic methemoglobinemia in a 2-month-old infant given carrots. Carrots contain nitrates that are converted to nitrites, which leads to production of methemoglobin. This is problematic in infants because of their compromised hemoglobin oxidation capacity.Khemiri 2009 Allergic contact dermatitis in a man who prepared and consumed carrots was linked to the falcarinol component, based on allergen testing.Kawai 2014 Another case report describes phytophotodermatitis, which was likely due to a carrot extract–containing sunscreen and not explained by other causes.Bosanac 2018

Because myristicin, a known psychoactive agent, is a component of carrot seed, ingestion of large amounts of D. carota may cause neurological effects. Allergy and phototoxicity are also possible.Duke 2002


Carrot seed oil is classified as GRAS, and carrot root oil has been approved for use as a food colorant. Antifertility effects of seed extracts have been demonstrated in rats.Khan 2009



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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Further information

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