10 Hickory Nut Oil Benefits That Not Many People Know
The hickory nut oil benefits are attributed to its curative properties. It is an excellent source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, dietary fibers, vitamins, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese.
Hickory can live for hundreds of years in the wild. It has a nutty aroma and is widely used for smoking meat.
From improving bone health, heart health to regulating cholesterol and promoting weight gain, the benefits of hickory nut oil are widespread. To make you aware, here is a detailed article that explains the various health benefits of hickory nut oil, its therapeutic properties, chemical composition, history, and much more.
What is Hickory Nut Oil?
Hickory nut essential oil is extracted from the nuts of Carya illinoensis through the process of steam distillation.
The plant belongs to the Juglandaceae family or the walnut family, which consists of 20 species of deciduous trees. Hickory nuts are harvested, crushed, and then subjected to steam distillation for the extraction of essential oil.
The hickory tree grows up to 50 meters tall, has deeply-furrowed bark, has compound leaves arranged like feathers, and produces fleshy short-clustered fruits. (1, 2) The tree is native to North America and grows well in temperate regions.
The tree is also called Pecan, and it is the largest of hickories.
The hickory tree has both male and female flowers. The male flowers hang down whereas the female flowers form in clusters. Upon maturity, the outer covering (hulls) of the fruits dry and separate into 4 sections that are almost equal in size. Thus, forming the hickory nuts.
Scientific Name of Hickory Nut Oil
The botanical name of hickory nut is Carya illinoinensis.
History of Hickory Nut Oil
The term “hickory” comes is a Native American word, from the Powhatan or Algonquian language. (3)
The English word “Pecan” is borrowed from the French word “pacane.” The French people derived the word “hickory” from Algonquian language “pakani,” which means “hard nut.”
It is one of the most economically-valued plants in North America. It has been used for various purposes for centuries. The tree takes up a lot of space, as it grows.
The Native Americans used hickory wood to make furniture, veneer, flooring purpose, and charcoal for smoking meat.
The tree was explored a lot even before the European settlement. The tree came to Europe in the 16th century, and Spain was the first European country to use it.
The Spanish people were already familiar with walnuts, and they compared hickory with walnuts. Later, the people of Spain took the tree to Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 16th century.
Color, Consistency, and Smell of Hickory Nut Oil
- The color of hickory nut oil is pale yellow to golden yellow.
- The consistency of hickory nut oil is medium.
- The smell of hickory nut oil is fresh, nutty, and slightly earthy.
Properties of Hickory Nut Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of Hickory Nut essential oil include:
- Anthelmintic – Repels intestinal parasites
- Antibacterial – Prevents bacterial growth
- Antidepressant – Relieves depression
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Anti-infectious – Prevents infections
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation
- Antimicrobial – Prevents the growth of microorganisms
- Antioxidant – Inhibits the oxidation process
- Antisclerotic – Prevents the hardening of cells & tissues
- Antiviral – Effective against virus
- Astringent – Contracts/tightens the tissues
- Calmative – Effective sedative and calming agent
- Carminative – Gets rid of flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain
- Cholagogue – Eliminates excess bile from ducts and gall bladder
- Cicatrizing – Heals faster by promoting the formation of scar tissues
- Circulatory – Promotes proper blood flow
- Cytophylactic – Promotes cell turnover and thus, heals faster
- Digestive – Helps in the digestion of food
- Diuretic – Removes excess water from the body
- Emollient – Soothes as well as softens the skin
- Hepatic – Maintains a healthy liver
- Immunostimulant – Stimulates the action of the immune system
- Nervine – Relieves nervous disorders
- Regenerative – Tends to regenerate
- Restorative – Strengthens and revives the body
- Stimulant – Stimulates the overall function of the body
- Stomachic – A great digestive aid and maintains a healthy stomach
- Sudorific – Promotes perspiration
- Thermogenic – Stimulates heat production
- Tonic – Restores the bodily functions
- Vasodilatory – Promotes the dilation of the blood vessels
- Vulnerary – Heals wounds & sores upon topical application
Chemical Compounds in Hickory Nut Oil
The primary compounds found in the hickory nut oil include:
- Lauric acid
- Myristic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Stearic acid
- Palmitoleic acid
- Oleic acid
- Eicosanoic acid
- Linoleic acid
- Linolenic acid
Health Benefits of Hickory Nut Oil
- Maintains healthy body weight
- Keeps the hair healthy
- Improves skin health
- Reduces wrinkle formation
- Balances cholesterol levels
- Increases blood circulation
- Good for the stomach
- Increases metabolism
- Boosts immunity
- Keeps you active
Though hickory nut oil benefits are abundant, the most noteworthy ones proved by different researchers in recent times include:
1. Maintains healthy body weight
Weight gain is different from putting on weight. The latter is unintentional and unhealthy. Weight gain does not mean accumulating fat in your body.
A healthy weight gain involves increasing muscles mass. It makes you strong, healthy, and active.
People suffer from problems due to misunderstanding and ignorance. If your weight gain process in intentional and well-planned with a positive attitude, then the process is straightforward. In this process of healthy weight gain, nuts and nut oils come handy.
Since hickory nut is a good source of lauric acid, oleic acid, and eicosanoic acid, it helps in increasing muscle mass and burn bad cholesterol.
However, this requires hickory nut oil to be consumed internally. But we strongly recommend you to consult with a doctor before you use it. Also, if you are on medications, it might interact. So, it is good to take advice from a doctor. Make sure that you buy food-grade oil for this purpose. (7)
2. Keeps the hair healthy
Whether you have excess hair loss, thin hair, or dry hair, hickory oil can be of immense help. Hickory nut oil is a rich source of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. It has antifungal, anti-infectious, and anti-inflammatory properties.
It helps in getting rid of all kinds of hair problems and ensures that you have healthy hair. Massage your scalp using diluted hickory nut oil. Coconut oil or sesame oil works well as a carrier oil.
Massaging your scalp with this mixture increases circulation in the scalp and gives a relaxing effect.
Lauric acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid are the compounds responsible for this benefit of hickory nut oil. Application of hickory nut oil keeps your hair moisturized and healthy. (8)
3. Improves skin health
From acne to scars, you can cure using essential oils, and hickory nut oil is one among them. Thanks to its antioxidant properties.
The compounds lauric acid, myristic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C are responsible for the incredible effects of hickory nut oil on your skin.
Topical application of hickory nut oil (but diluted with a carrier oil) helps you to moisturize your skin deeply.
When your skin is constantly moisturized, it becomes soft and supple over time. Skin is the mirror of inner health. Hence, it is vital to maintain it. It has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The oil acts as an emollient and helps to soften the skin.
You can dilute 1-2 drops of hickory nut oil using coconut oil or olive oil. Apply the diluted oil on your skin lightly 20 minutes before you step out in the sun. This combination can also be used to treat suntan. (8).
4. Reduces wrinkle formation
Aging is inevitable. But, as people age, they develop sagging skin and wrinkles. Cellulite accumulation, improper blood circulation, and stress are the primary cause of premature wrinkle formation.
It makes your skin to look young and adds a glow. Looking young is not just associated with the outer skin. The antioxidant property of the oil makes you look young from within.
Hickory nut oil is rich in Omega fatty acids, which helps you in reducing bad cholesterol as well. However, you must work towards it. A healthy diet, workout, and massage using oil would be of immense help.
5. Balances cholesterol levels
Not all fats are bad. Every human body needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals to grow and be healthy. However, anything in excess is toxic, even it is the healthiest ingredient.
People suffer from obesity and overweight due to their sedentary lifestyle, junk foods, unhealthy habits, and stress. This, in turn, increases the bad cholesterol levels.
The compounds lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid present in hickory nut oil helps to reduce bad (or LDL) cholesterol from your body.
You can also have a massage using hickory nut oil or probably, add it in your food after consulting with your doctor. (11)
6. Increases blood circulation
Improper blood circulation initially shows up on your legs and foot. It gets worse over time if unnoticed.
Varicose veins, cold feet, swelling ankles, and discolored skin are the symptoms of improper circulation in the body.
To improve blood circulation, one has to observe their lifestyle keenly. A conscious decision to change your food habit, workout regime, and lifestyle is crucial. Essential oils only act as an aid for increasing circulation.
Dry brushing, followed by an oil bath, would help improve circulation. All you have to do is dilute 2 to 3 drops of hickory nut oil in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil for body massage. (12)
7. Good for the stomach
Digestion is not only about processing the food and excreting the waste. It is much more than that.
It absorbs all the vital nutrients from the food and feeds every cell with them. Massage your abdomen using diluted hickory nut oil in a circular clockwise motion. This helps with digestion and makes your abdominal muscles strong.
8. Increases metabolism
You are what you are because of metabolism. The metabolic rates vary with every human being.
Your metabolism increases or decreases your appetite and has a direct effect in response to the amount of calories your body requires in a day.
Therefore, maintaining a healthy metabolic rate is crucial.
Hickory nut is deeply associated with metabolism. The compounds lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, vitamin E, vitamin B, and vitamin C in it help in stimulating metabolism. (15, 16)
Especially, Vitamin B helps with the metabolic process. In addition, the oil ensures that your internal organs function properly.
9. Boosts immunity
Your immune system evolves day by day. The food that you take should help in boosting your immune system.
Hickory oil is one among them. It improves digestion, metabolism, fat burning, muscle mass, increases circulation, and much more. However, we do not recommend you to add hickory nut oil in your food without a doctor’s prescription. (17).
10. Keeps you active
Being alive is more than surviving. It is living in the moment with full of life. An active and healthy lifestyle is important.
In Yoga, they say that being active is life and sleeping is death. With all the benefits mentioned above and those that are not still explored by the scientific community yet, it is sure that hickory nut oil helps you to stay active and healthy.
The oil is rich in Omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamins. A positive mindset, healthy lifestyle, and a few aids do a great deed.
What Blends with Hickory Nut Oil?
Hickory nut oil blends the best with:
- Bay oil
- Bergamot oil
- Black pepper oil
- White camphor oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Clary sage oil
- Coriander oil
- Dill seed oil
- Geranium oil
- Lavender oil
- Lime oil
- Mandarin oil
- Orange oil
- Petitgrain oil
- Rosemary oil
- Tangerine oil
- Tea tree oil
How To Use Hickory Nut Oil?
It is always best to purchase quality food-grade and therapeutic grade oil that are free from solvents.
- Topical Application: Hickory nut oil is concentrated in nature. Always make sure you dilute the oil with an appropriate carrier oil before using it on your skin. Always perform a patch test before you use it as intended. Observe your body for allergic reactions or dermal irritation. Suspend the usage if you experience irritation or burning sensation.
- Aromatherapy: For aromatherapy benefits, diffuse the oil using a diffuser or a vaporizer. Make sure you do not congest your room with its aroma.
- Ingestion: Hickory nut oil is ingested generally. However, we do not recommend internal usage of the oil until prescribed by a professional aromatherapist or a doctor.
Side Effects of Hickory Nut Oil
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using the oil as it may induce many hormonal changes.
- Keep the oil away from the reach of children.
- If you are in weight loss journey, it is better to avoid hickory nut oil as it may promote weight gain.
- The oil may be a dermal irritant for people with sensitive skin. In a few cases using the oil may lead to allergic reactions.
- If you experience difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, eye irritation, or any other symptom of anaphylaxis, rush to the doctor immediately.