Many of us will be surprised by the numerous oils we have available in Nigeria. It is often assumed that we import most of our oils except many be the commonly made in Nigeria oils like groundnut oil, palm oil and the like.
We have all heard of the exotic foreign oils e.g. lavender, rosemary, orange, lemon, etc. though we have some of these raw materials, their oils are not produced in the country hence, they are not used much by the population. I want us to focus on the oils we have and make the best use of them for our health. I believe if we properly explore these oils, they will be enough for our needs.
Most of us are used to buying hair and skin care creams, lotions, ointments from the market, and most of the time, we do not even know the ingredients of the products. I have been guilty of doing this too but that is all in the past. Now I only use pure natural oils and butters for both my hair and skincare routine with the occasional Vaseline for my lips and during the dry season. I am enjoying the benefits of using natural oils both in my pocket and on my health.
Pure natural oils are very good for us in many ways beyond just health or beauty. They are good for us and for the community and country at large. Many of the tribes and cultures in Nigeria have a long tradition of using oils such as the Nupe people. They are known for the use of palm kernel oil. They use it for many different purposes such as health, beauty and economic empowerment.
What are oils?
Oils are greasy usually liquid substance that does not dissolve in water and derived from either a plant, animal or mineral sources. They are often used as lubricants, medicines, fuel, food, for beauty, etc.
Plant oils are our focus today’s and they are mainly divided into stable/fixed/carrier oils or just oils as they are known to the average Nigerian, and essential oils.
Types of oils
Carrier oils are plant oils that are not volatile meaning, they do not evaporate when in contact with the atmosphere. They are used to dilute essential oils before they can be used on the skin because they do not interfere with the therapeutic properties of the essential oil.
Essential oils are oils derived from the plant through steam distillation or pressure. They contain the natural chemicals that are found in the plant. Their strong aroma and volatile property are their main distinguishing characteristic from stable oils.
In Nigeria, I am not aware of the production of essential oils. All the mentioned oils in this post are carrier/stable oil. The absence of essential oils in the country is probably as a result of the high expense and the high sophistication of the equipment needed to make essential oils. These two factors make essential oils to be much more expensive than stable oils.
Today, we will be briefly summarising the oils depending on the categories they are placed. We will also briefly touch on the few butters that I know of in Nigeria. Let us begin:
Palm kernel oil
Coconut oil and olive oil are perhaps the most popular oils on this list. They are known to be used mainly for beutification and body care. Other places around the world might use these oils for cooking but it is not the norm in Nigeria. They are also used in health management and for those on specific diets in the country as they are said to be healthier than the common groundnut oil we use for cooking.
Palm kernel also known as “man-alayyadi” in the Hausa language is the oil derived from the palm kernel nut which is the nut of the palm oil fruit that has the distinctive red-orange color of palm oil. This oil is also used for beautification and food in some cultures in Nigeria.
Sesame oil is not commonly found in Nigeria but is a common ingredient in Asian foods. This is because this oil is often forgotten in the minds of Nigerians. Some have probably never seen it with their two eyes. Sesame oil was well used for skin and hair care in the past.
These mentioned oils are used for numerous health benefits including asthmas (eucalyptus oil), diabetes (onion oil), rashes (garlic oil), neem oil (Hair care, lice) etc. I often advocate for people to learn these simple oils around them so that they can care for themselves in a cheaper, healthier and more sufficient manner.
We are used to reaching for the pharmaceutical ointments and drugs in the house or in the neighbourhood as our first and sometimes, only solution to a health problem. These mentioned oil all have a specific way to be used for various illnesses and can be found all around the country.
If you would like me to cover the use of each of these oil, let me now in the comments below and I will do that.
You can find them in Nigeria at natural products stores, oil-selling stores and the like. I wish you the best.
Shea butter is known worldwide to be used for skin care and hair care. It is commonly added to our beauty and body care products. Did you know some cultures such as the Hausas in the past used it for cooking also? Though this practice has faded and groundnut oil has taken over the kitchen.
Mango butter is kind of rare but is available in the country. You just have to find where to buy it. It smells good (atleast I like the smell) and the vitamin C and A in this butter protects the skin from environmental stressors such as dryness, sun damage, pollution, etc. So do not overlook this under-appreciated butter.
Cocoa butter is known to be added to main skin lotions than hair care. I am not aware of the use of cocoa butter for food. But just like Shea butter, it is a good skin care natural cream if you can get it.
These natural oils can be easily incorporated into the diet, beauty routine and personal health care regimen of almost anyone. They are natural and available in most parts of Nigeria.
I will strongly recommend that for those that can, try and find the oil that is best for your body and next time you have a cold or health inconvenience, look to these common oils for a solution before going to the neighbourhood pharmacy. It is better for you and you will see the results yourself.
It will be very good if you can keep a small stash of these oils for emergency or quick relief when someone or you yourself need immediate care.
I hope you have learnt something today. Thank you for taking the time to be here with me. If you have any questions or remarks, do let me know in the comment section below.
Kindly rate this article so that I can improve my skills.
That will be all from me today. I hope you have a nice day. Byeee.