Sunflower oil is pressed from the seeds of the sunflower. The oil is used as medicine.
Sunflower oil is used for constipation and lowering “bad” LDLcholesterol.
Some people apply sunflower oil directly to the skin for poorly healing wounds, skin injuries, psoriasis, and arthritis; and as a massage oil.
In foods, sunflower oil is used as a cooking oil.
How does it work?
Sunflower oil is used as a source of unsaturated fat in the diet to replace saturated fats.
Possibly Effective for:
- High cholesterol. Most research shows that including sunflower oil in the diet lowers total cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. However, consuming sunflower oil may be less effective at reducing cholesterol compared to palm oil and flaxseed oil. Further, sunflower oil might not be effective for lowering cholesterol in people with peripheral vascular disease or those at risk for atherosclerosis.
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). Some research suggests that applying a specific brand of sunflower oil (Oleozon) to the foot for 6 weeks is as effective as the drug ketoconazole for curing athlete’s foot.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Early research suggests that sunflower oil is less effective than fish oil for reducing plaque in the arteries of people with atherosclerosis.
- Reactive arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome). Early research suggests that taking sunflower oil for 3 weeks does not improve symptoms in people with Reiter’s syndrome.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research suggests that taking sunflower oil for 3 weeks does not improve symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Spondyloarthritis. Early research suggests that taking sunflower oil for 3 weeks does not improve symptoms in people with spondyloarthritis.
- Skin conditions, when applied to the skin.
- Wound healing, when applied to the skin.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Sunflower oil is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in appropriate amounts.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking sunflower oil if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Sunflower oil may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking sunflower oil.
Diabetes: A diet that is high in sunflower oil seems to increase fasting insulin and blood sugar levels. It also seems to increase after-meal blood fats. This might increase the chance of developing “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) in people with type 2 diabetes.
The appropriate dose of sunflower oil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for sunflower oil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.