Alternate names are common sunflower, Kansas sunflower, and mirasol. Helianthus comes from the Greek helios anthos, meaning “sun flower” (Kindscher 1987).

Botany: The sunflower is an erect, coarse, tap-rooted annual with rough-hairy stems 6-30 dm tall. The leaves are mostly alternate, egg-shaped to triangular, and entire or toothed. The flower heads are 7.5 -15 cm wide and at the ends of branches. Ray flowers are yellow and disk flowers are reddish-brown.

History and/or folklore: Charles H. Lange, an anthropologist at the University of Texas, wrote that “among the Cochiti, a reliable “home remedy‟ for cuts and other wounds is the juice of freshly crushed sunflower stems. The juice is smeared liberally over the wounds, bandaged, and invariably results in a speedy recovery, with never a case of infection” (Heiser 1976).

The Gros Ventres, Rees, and Mandan used sunflowers ceremonially; oil from the seeds was used to lubricate or paint the face and body. The Hopi used the sunflower plant as a “spider medicine” and dermatological aid. The Thompson Indians used powdered sunflower leaves alone or in an ointment on sores and swellings.

Biochemistry: Sunflower oil is mainly triglycerides (fats), typically derived from the fatty acids linoleic acid (with is doubly unsaturated) and oleic acid. It also contains lecithin, tocopherols, carotenoids and waxes. Sunflower oil’s properties are typical of a vegetable triglyceride oil. Sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance and has a high Vitamin E content.

Helianthus annuus fixed oil. Sunflower oil is produced from oil type sunflower seeds.


Helianthus annuus fixed oil
The oil is soothing protective emollient.

Traditional use: A simple yet cost-effective emollient oil, well tried and tested for generations in a wide variety of emulsions formulated for face and body products. Tocopherol, or Vitamin E, is an important vitamin and natural antioxidant.

The oil has a similar performance to olive oil and almond oil but is significantly cheaper. It is used in salves, plasters and liniments for rheumatic pain. It is used externally on cuts and bruises.

The dried flower heads have anti-inflammatory properties. Externally it may be used in the same way as tincture of arnica, on bruises and wounds.


Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) pollen sensitization has been reported as an occupational allergy. Helianthus pollen should be considered as an allergenic source to be investigated in the general population living in sunflower-growing regions suffering from seasonal summer allergy.


Body care

Kids care