Echium (Echium plantagineum)
| Echium is considered an invasive species in Australia, Echium plantagineum is a species of purple flower that grows to up 60cm tall, native to Southern Europe. It is commonly known either as Viper’s Burgloss, because of the seeds’ resemblance to a snake’s head, or Paterson’s Curse, because of its toxicity to grazing livestock.|
Despite the dangers of this plant to animals that eat it, the seeds contain exceptionally high levels of contains high levels of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA) making it a plant of enormous potential in health applications (ref).
For vegans, finding good sources of essential fatty acids can be challenging. Some plants such as flax, pumpkin seeds, hemp and walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, but none (save micro-algae) such as phytoplankton (ref) contain the EPA and DHA which makes cold water fish such a healthy dietary choice.
This is where echium really shines: the oil in its seeds occurs in a near perfect balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9, but containing healthy amounts of something called stearidonic acid (SDA). While the body still has to convert SDA to EPA, much as happens when flax oil is ingested, it does so 5 times more efficiently. This makes echium seed oil of immense value in optimising health for those who don’t eat fish.
Essential fatty acids in the right balance help the lipid balance in the skin (ref), protect against inflammation, and help retain moisture. Since echium seed oil contains the perfect ratio of these acids, skin care and cosmetic brands have quickly begun including it in their products, to huge success.
Taking a daily amount of echium oil helps prevent the signs of aging, minimises UV damage, and smooths wrinkles and fine lines. For those with acne, it can make a tangible difference.
Echium seed oil is a novel, non-fragrant plant oil derived from the seeds of the echium vulgare flower. The oil is a super-rich source of saturated fatty acids and phospholipids (lipids with ultra-moisturizing properties). It’s a gift for dry, eczema-prone skin.
It’s the most potent plant source of Gamma Linolenic Acid and Stearidonic Acid and powerful forms of Omegas 3 and 6 (the building blocks of powerful cell membranes and a great source of protection against oxidative damage). Because of these omegas, vegetarians take echium seed supplements to replace fish. Skincare benefits include:
• The acceleration of skin cell regeneration to smooth fine lines and wrinkles
• Deep conditionining and skin repairment at a cellular level
• Anti-inflammatory properties to keep sensitive skin types calm and clear
• The ability to prevent damage to skin from UV rays
Echium seed oil helps repair the skin’s protective barrier, which improves hydration and reduces roughness. Also, it has been said to boost the production of collagen.
It was traditionally used by the Greeks to heal wounds and as an anti-inflammatory. The beauty benefits got lost in translation and the echium flower was dismissed as nothing more than a garden plant for years. It made a comeback when evidence into the benefits of omega fatty acids came to light.
Highlights of Echium Seed Oil:
Rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9
Aids Cardiovascular Health
Helps skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema
The best Vegan and Vegetarian Essential Fatty Acid Source
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.