Otherwise known as vernonia oil, this component is still relatively unknown. Many botanists and scientists continue to do extensive research on the oil, its properties and potential drawbacks. It's really remarkable to realize that despite some of the most widely known, studied and explored oils, there are still some that aren’t that understood. That speaks to the sheer number of oils there currently are on earth.
Vernolic acid by another name is called leukotoxin, and it's an organic compound with specific fatty acid properties. That sounds very familiar as many of the oils that we have previously explored and dissected also have high fatty acid content. As a monounsaturated chain that contains epoxide and a carboxylic acid, it is very new on the scene - so much so that it's only been characterized as recently as 1954.
For some contrast, many oils date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. This one is brand new and the chemical components that make it up are still being uncovered and studied. Research has found that it may act potentially well as a biofeedstock, which will help the earth and progression of other plant life.
Vernolic acid is comprised of a similar metabolism as the well-known linoleic acid. This means it has tons of enzymes and helpful properties that imbue the way it relates to cells and cell types. It is also found to be potentially dangerous to the respiratory system of animals in some of the testing that has been done. One study showed that injecting too much of the acid could result in something called acute respiratory distress syndrome.
This obviously raises questions regarding whether it would be safe for human consumption. That hasn't been properly ascertained. Another study said that vernolic acid could not be found as totally responsible for any type of respiratory distress, organ failure or other cataclysmic diseases for human beings.
The oil itself comes from seeds of a plant called vernonia galamensis, which is otherwise known as ironweed. This plant is found predominately in parts of Africa. The seeds are about 42% oil which comes to about 80% vernolic acid. This is helpful in the exact breakdown that scientists are interested in when these studies occur. The oil itself has a low viscosity which means it is nonvolatile in specific atmospheres.
There are certain products that have been made with a variation of this oil - things like adhesives, paints and varnishes. So the potential toxicity of this oil is really no surprise. If anything, it gives a framework for what this specific oil can and should be used for versus what it shouldn't.
Most plants do not contain vernolic acid but there are a few that have quite a hefty amount of the oil within its chemical makeup. Crepis, which belong to the daisy family, is one of them - along with Stokesia, Vernonia, and Euphorbia lagascae.
About The Author:
Serene Hitchcock is a professional freelance writer, blogger and social media strategist from San Diego, California. She has been writing for several years in many forms and facets and is interested in arts, health, self-improvement, current events and the world we live in.
You can purchase vernonia aka ironweed seeds online at amazon.com.