Scientific Name(s): Daucus carota L., Sativus (Hoffm.) Archang.
Common Name(s): Carrot (seed, root, leaf), Oil of carrot, pastinocello, Queen Anne's lace, Wild carrot
The carrot is an annual or biennial herb with an erect, multibranched stem and growing up to 1.5 m (4 ft) in height. The wild carrot is commonly seen in fields and along roadsides throughout most of temperate North America and has an intricately patterned flat flower cluster (Queen Anne's lace). The main cluster is made up of about 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 and was brought to America from England. The common cultivated carrot (D. carota L. subspecies sativus [Hoffm.] Archang.) possesses an edible, fleshy, orange taproot. Purple and black cultivars are also produced. The parts that are 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 for traditional medicinal benefit.Khan 2009, USDA 2014
The name "Queen Anne's lace" is attributed to a challenge to produce lace as dainty as the plant's 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 2003, Khan 2009
Carrot seed oil continues to be used primarily as a fragrance in detergents, soaps, creams, lotions, and perfumes (which contain 0.4%, the highest concentration), 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 (because of its high carotene content), and as a good 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 international 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 identify new ingredients in the vegetative tissue (eg, anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, flavonoids, apigenin, and a soluble beta-fructofuranosidase).Duke 2003, Flamini 2014
Uses and Pharmacology
In vitro antifungal activity has been demonstrated by carrot seed oil and specifically the chemical constituent caratol.Guérin 1985, Jasicka-Misiak 2004, Khan 2009, Rokbeni 2013 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
There are no clinical data regarding the use of carrot seed oil for antimicrobial effects.
An extract of D. carota has demonstrated hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride–induced intoxication in mouse liver.Bishayee 1995 Protection against renal ischemia reperfusion injury in rats has also been demonstrated with an extract of carrot roots.Afzal 2013
There are no clinical data regarding the use of carrot oil for antioxidant activity; however, carrot is recognized as a source of dietary antioxidant vitamin A.
Carrot seed oil exhibits both smooth muscle relaxant, vasodilatory, and cardio-suppressant activity in isolated animal organ studies.Khan 2009
An ethanol extract produced a dose-dependent decrease in blood pressure in anesthetized normotensive rodents and rabbits, possibly via calcium channel inhibition.Gilani 1994
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of carrot oil as a cardiovascular agent.
Data from animal studies is unwarranted because carrot roots and leaves are commonly consumed in the human diet.
Juiced carrot root has been shown to contain the carotenoid beta-carotene; however, studies show that the effect on concentrations of plasma retinol and the active vitamin A metabolite is limited, regardless of the carrot cultivar.Rühl 2008, Stracke 2009 Plasma concentrations of total carotenoids increase with consumption of carrot rootArscott 2010; 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.Butalla 2012
Carrot root juice has been investigated for its effect on biomarkers of colon cancer and showed limited impact.Wright 2013
Clinical trials do not support dosage guidance.
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 As a source of vitamin A, bioavailability of carrot root juice is higher than cooked and raw spinach.Bongoni 2014
Pregnancy / Lactation
Avoid use. Emmenagogue and abortifacient effects have been reported.Courraud 2013, Khan 2009, Rokbeni 2013 Antifertility effects have been demonstrated in rats.Khan 2009, Duke 2003 Avoid excessive consumption of carrot roots.
None well documented.
A case report describes carotenemia appearing as jaundice due to excessive consumption of carrot roots.Ernst 2002 Because myristicin, a known psychoactive agent, occurs in carrot seed, ingestion of large amounts of D. carota may cause neurological effects. Allergy and phototoxicity are possible.Duke 2003
Carrot root has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status, while carrot oil is listed as permanently exempt from certification for food use as a colorant.Bulathsinghala 2010 Antifertility effects of the seed oil have been demonstrated in rats.Khan 2009
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