Olio di Girasole (Helianthus annuus)
Sunflower oil is made from the seeds of the beautiful yellow flower. It is high in natural antioxidant vitamin E and leaves the skin hydrated, bright and smooth.
The sunflower (Helianthus annuus), belonging to the Asteraceae plant family, is an annual flower that grows up to four meters tall on a long, hairy stem and has large flowers on top, usually 7cm-30cm wide. It is believed that this plant originates from North America, but it is now grown all over the world. The plant is thought to have a good phytoremediation potential, meaning it can clean soils from heavy metals like zinc and nitrates thanks to their deep, absorbing root system.
Sunflowers are a bit like Russian dolls. Indeed its large yellow petals suggest that we are dealing with a very big flower. However, take a closer look and you will see that the dark centre is actually composed of multitudes of small flowers that will each produce a fruit and form a seed. This plant has another peculiarity: it is heliotrope, which means that the head of the flower moves according to the sun, to always face it.
Whole plants are harvested as flowering begins and used fresh for liquid extracts. The petals obtained from the plant contain a yellow dye that can be used for tinctures. Seeds are collected in autumn and used fresh, pressed for oil or roasted.