Daucus carota L., Apiaceae
Did they tell you that carrots are good for eyesight? It is always intriguing how our ancestors knew this without knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry, long before vitamins were discovered. Our ancestors knew a lot. You probably don’t know that the common vegetable soup mixture is a real medicinal mixture carefully selected for centuries: carrots are a source of vitamin A, celery and parsley perfectly stimulate kidney function and remove harmful substances from the body, onions protect against infections, and all together they are rich in trace oligoelements, such as copper, zinc and many other precious metals necessary for our body. Consider, then, how much wisdom is woven into one plain, hearty vegetable soup. There is more scientific wisdom to learn here: the finest soup recipes say that vegetables, especially carrots, should be lightly sautéed in vegetable oil.
We will use that wisdom in cosmetics. Namely, the carotenoid compounds that give carrots an orange colour, and from which vitamin A is formed in the body, do not dissolve in water but in oil. Therefore, in order to be absorbed and act, we must subject the carrot to an extraction process with vegetable oil, just as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did when cooking soup. I apologize if I ruined the romance of one soup with my pharmaceutical philosophising. I’ve always loved to cook, and I’ve become a scientist precisely because of my love of cooking- is it inserting spices into soup, or inserting a fluorescent green jellyfish protein gene into mammalian cells- who knows what’s more important and beautiful?
Carrot macerate is easy to prepare. You will need peeled carrot root and vegetable oil accorting to your wishes (sunflower, sesame, almond, apricot, hazelnut…). As it is sometimes used in sunscreens, it can be macerated in relatively expensive red raspberry or Chilean hazelnut oils. The procedure is as follows:
- grate the carrot root on a fine grater, by hand or in one of the multipractic machines,
- spread in a thin layer and leave to dry in an airy and dry place for one to two days, so that there is not too much water left in the carrots,
- very lightly arrange the grated and dried carrots in a glass,
- pour vegetable oil so that the vegetable oil is 3-5 cm above the layer of carrots,
- leave for 3-4 weeks in a darker place (never in direct sunlight) with occasional light stirring,
The resulting macerate will be slightly to intensely reddish orange. Pay attention to the drying step: if the carrots are too wet, it your macerate could be attacked by mould. Although we do not heat the oil during the preparation of this macerate, it is wise to add some antioxidant.
Carrot macerate is ideal as an addition to skin preparation and in sun cosmetics. It restores radiance to the skin, acts against wrinkles, so it is ideal for devitalized, pale skin and works in all those conditions when the skin needs to regain its radiance and radiant complexion. Carotenoids prevent the harmful effects of radiation, polluted air of big cities, bad air- conditioned “sick” buildings and everything that makes your skin tired. In the European Union, carrot macerate is also a dietary supplement, a popular natural substitute for various tanning capsules, taken orally in a dose of 1 teaspoon 2-3 times a day. It is also a great addition in hair treatments, giving a very slight reddish sheen to your hair. This is the first raw material that contains carotenoids, we will mention them later: achiote (urucum) macerate, rosehip seed oil, sea-buckthorn pulp oil, buriti oil. Then you will remember the simplest of all the preparations that arrived straight from the kitchen of our grandmothers.