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What is Tea Seed Oil?

Tea seed oil can make hair shiny and smooth.
Tea seed oil has been used as a cooking staple in China for centuries.
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  • Written By: Holly Collins
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2014
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Tea seed oil is also known as tea oil or camellia oil. It is edible and has virtually no aroma or taste. Obtained by cold pressing the Camellia Oleifera plant's leaves, it is similar in appearance to grapeseed oil or olive oil. This oil should not be confused with tea tree oil which is an entirely different thing.

Valued as a cooking oil for its especially high flash point, tea seed oil can be heated to very high temperatures before it combusts or begins to break down and lose nutritional value. Because of its ability to withstand heat, it is perfect for cooking processes using extreme temperatures like popping corn or stir-frying meat and vegetables. It has been used as a cooking staple in China for centuries.

Because of its neutral flavor and absence of a strong smell, tea seed oil does not alter or mask the taste of the foods cooked in it. It is commonly used in salad dressings, dips, marinades and sauces. It can be purchased for prices comparable to other cooking oils.

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Another benefit to tea seed oil is that it is very healthy and can add nutritional value to foods cooked with it. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it contains high levels of vitamins A, B, and E. It is also a good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and iron manganese. It is low in saturated fat and high in antioxidants. Having a long shelf life, it keeps for a considerable length of time and is best stored in a tightly sealed contained kept in a cool dry place.

Although primarily considered a cooking oil, tea seed oil has many other uses. Added to soaps, it is thought to help moisturize the skin. It is easily absorbed and does not leave the greasy feeling left by other oils. It is often applied directly to skin in its original form. In China especially, it is commonly used in balms, lotions and creams.

China has long valued tea seed oil for its healing properties. Used on cuts and burns, it is thought to promote healing as well as moisturize. Ancient Chinese culture makes mention of beautiful Chinese women brushing tea seed oil into their shiny black hair.

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fify
Post 3

This is a great article. I almost did not buy a product thinking that tea tree oil and tea seed oil are the same. I'm allergic to tea tree oil and have to avoid everything that contains this oil. But tea seed oil will be fine!

bear78
Post 2

@donasmrs-- Actually, as far as I know, Camellia Oleifera belongs to same family as tea, also known as Camellia Sinensis. And tea seed oil is made from the seeds of Camellia Oleifera. I don't think it's the leaves, but I'm definitely not an expert on this topic, so I could be wrong. This oil is a very common cooking oil in China.

I've read that sometimes, tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Oleifera as well. And since oil is made from the seeds, it's not difficult to understand where the name "tea seed oil" came from. But for the most part, the other relative of this plant, Camellia Sinensis is used to make tea as we know it. Of course there are different varieties of Camellia Sinensis as well.

I've never used tea seed oil for cooking, but I do use a face cream which uses the oil. I think it's becoming a more common ingredient in skin products because of its moisturizing properties and other benefits.

donasmrs
Post 1

Why is this oil called tea seed oil when it has nothing to do with tea?

Initially, I thought that perhaps it's made from the seeds of the tea plant (does tea even have seeds?) But apparently, Camellia Oleifera is a different plant and this oil is made from its leaves. So it has nothing to do with tea.

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