Carrot seed essential oil is distilled from the dried seed of Daucus carota subsp. carota which is commonly known as wild carrot, bird’s nest or “Queen Anne’s Lace.” It is grown and distilled for its seeds in France, Holland, and Hungary.
Sometimes classified as a noxious weed by some states in North America1, it has naturalized across fields, disturbed ground and along roadsides since European settlers brought the plant to North America. Although related to the edible carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativa), “carota” has a small, inedible, tough and whitish taproot. It is thought that cultivated (“sativa”) carrots were first developed in the Afghani-Pakistani region from the wild carrot (Daucus carota var. carota).
The common name of “Queen Anne’s Lace” colloquially refers to the lace-like appearance of the flowering umbels. There is generally a single blackish-red flower in the center of the florets which by some accounts was thought to represent a drop of blood from Queen Anne of England when she pricked her finger with a needle while sewing lace.
As with many plants classified in the Apiaceae family (e.g., angelica, lovage, parsley), Daucus carota has a biennial life cycle. During the first year it manifests as rosette green leaves where the focus is on storing energy in the whitish-root; whereas it sends up its flowers through the growing season of the second year before going to seed.
Should you decide to start collecting this plant be careful about plant id as it may be easily confused with deadly plants in the Apiaceae family, notably Poison Hemlock2 (Conium maculatum) among others such as “Giant Hog Weed” (Heracleum mantegaz-zianum)3. Queen Anne’s Lace has hairy stems whereas Hemlock is smooth with purple spots along its stems and Giant Hog Weed is, well, giant (but not when it’s young!).
Consider the flower as it goes to seed; it becomes protective and folds in on itself. It is notably a host plant for black swallowtail larvae among other creatures here in North America — see the picture I took last year in Michigan of a larvae of some sort enjoying the confines of the protective “nest”.
This highly adaptable plant, the supporter of others4, is a companion, a partner—someone “who gets you”. It’s not mothering but is there to support and hold. Being with the oil slows down time and encapsulates the lazy-hazy mid-summer weather it thrives in. It is calming but not sedative and offers you time to rest, digest and repair. The olfactory experience goes straight down to the eliminatory organs and circulates through the solar plexus and deep into the lower abdomen.
Daucus carota essential oil is well tolerated by the skin and known as an effective regenerator as well as a detoxification supporter (i.e., it has an affinity for the liver). Historically it is a regenerative herb—not to be used during moments of crisis but during convalescence. In this sense it is not preventative but more reparative. It is antiseptic, antispasmodic, regenerative, diuretic and wound healing.
When considering the skin and digestion, which go hand-in-hand, what is going on inside manifests on the outside. Its umbels are tightly-knit as is the “seed nest”. When I think of this plant and its affinity for reparative and restorative properties for the skin this makes sense: think about knitting tissues together.
This plant grows on sites that are disturbed and neglected—it helps repair and heal the land. The taproot breaks up congested soil. It is nurturing without coddling. Following are main indications for working with carrot seed:
|Digestion||Detoxifier, diuretic, stimulates appetite, supports healthy digestion, constipation, sluggish digestion|
|Integumentary||Cell regenerative, detoxing, wound healer, fungal infections, support for edema (diuretic) and cellulite treatments, revitalizes dry-pallid skin|
|Calming, feeling stuck, emotional coldness, inability to let go, lack of expression|
Chemistry Highlights: Carrot seed essential oil is rich in the sesquiterpene alcohol, carotol, supported by sesquiterpenes. However, the chemical composition widely varies depending on where the plant grows (i.e., country, geography, elevation) as noted in the variation of carotol—from 33% upwards of 66% of the oil’s chemical composition.
Is Carrot Seed Essential Oil Safe?
Yes, this essential oil is generally regarded as safe and considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.
Blending with Daucus carota Essential Oil:
The aromatic palate of carrot seed starts off warm, spicy, fresh and sweet; layered with intense and persistent notes of earth, roots and woody tar-like notes. Going in deeper are layers of ozone mixed with chlorine and lovage root. After the first clear, sharp and pointed introduction, the dry-out is heavy with wood and sawdust, deep leather, dusky and languid. The end mellows into a warm, lazy summer day where carrot seed’s essence lets you know that “everything is going to be okay.” It is steady, quiet and enduring.
The aroma is very distinct. It is highly suggested to use the oil with discernment. The aromatic palate of carrot seed is deceptively complex and I’ve found it varies by the country and year it is from.
Daucus carota essential oil blends nicely with other Apiacea (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce, Levisticum officinalis), many Asteraceaes (Helichrysum italicum, Matricaria recutita, Achillea millefolium) and several Lamiaceaes (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. verbenone, Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula x intermedia) as well as other reparative plants such as Sandalwood (Santalum album), Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Rock rose (Cistus ladanifer) and Greenland moss (Ledum groenlandicum).
Creating Wellness Products with Carrot Seed
Revitalizing Hand & Neck Serum
Harness the power of these aromatic wonders that are known to help repair and tone tissues. The base oils for this serum are also quite healing and reparative as well as stable.
What you need to make 1 oz.:
- Graduated cylinder
- 1 oz. glass bottle with a pump top or dropper
|Essential Oils and Carrier/Base |
|Carrot seed (Daucus carota |
subsp. carota) essential oil
|Anti-inflammatory , calming, regenerative, healing||5 drops|
|Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, regenerative||5 drops|
|Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, regenerative||5 drops|
|Cistus (Cistus ladanifer) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, astringent, cooling, healing||1 drop|
|Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil||Anti-inflammatory, balancing||10 drops|
|Baobab (Adansonia digitata) fixed oil||Stable, antioxidant, regenerative, moisturizing, toning/elasticity, reparative||15 ml|
|Camellia (Camellia sinensis) fixed oil||Conditioning, non-comedogenic, astringent, cooling, scar repair, antioxidant||9 ml|
|Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba) fixed oil||Stable, vitamin E, protective, rejuvenation||6 ml|
How to make:
Combine the essential oils into the glass bottle and swirl the bottle around to combine the essential oils. Measure the fixed oils into a graduated cylinder then add the mixture to the 1 ounce glass bottle. Affix the pump top, shake to disperse the oils and label appropriately.
- For reparative work on the face and neck (e.g., sagging skin, toning) consider using up to 2 times daily, after cleansing, for 60 days. Consider applying the serum more often for work on the body (e.g., liver spots on the hands, scars).
- For maintenance, use 3 to 5 x/week for 60 days.
Digestive Support Salve
It isn’t always necessary to ingest botanicals to realize their effect on digestion. Help ease bloating, gas and get things moving by massaging a salve made with essential oils known to aid the eliminatory organs and dispel gas. Consider adding the following essential oil blend to the base ingredients of this salve recipe.
- 30 drops Carrot seed (Daucus carota subsp. carota) essential oil
- 30 drops Greenland moss (Ledum groenlandicum) essential oil
- 25 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil
- 25 drops Black pepper (Piper nigrum) essential oil
- 10 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read about carrot seed essential oil. Maybe it is an essential oil you work with a lot, or maybe it is a new ally to consider adding to your collection of essential oils. It is one I often turn to for face serums I create for myself. I chose to write about carrot seed during the time it is blooming here in the Mid-Atlantic States. Although it’s considered an invasive and noxious weed by some, it has a lot to share and communicate. As one of my dear teachers once said: “How can you hate a plant?” So true.
4 Host plant to caterpillars and other insects