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Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

The evergreen jojoba shrub grows in the Sonoran Desert, which occupies parts of Mexico, California and Arizona. The somewhat shaggy-looking shrub grows about two meters tall and is perfectly adapted to the dry climate: The taproot, which reaches up to ten meters in depth, supplies the plant with water, and the leathery, dull gray-green leaves are protected from too much evaporative loss by a layer of wax. The small, yellowish flowers appear from March to May.

Origin and cultivation.

There are female and male jojoba bushes. The inconspicuous white flowers of the female specimens produce fruits that initially resemble large green olives in shape, color and dimensions. When ripe, the braun and wrinkled capsules burst open to reveal the redbraunseed inside. Cultivation areas of the jojoba shrub, which is insensitive to diseases, include the USA, Israel, India and Kenya. Because the jojoba can cope with very dry locations, it is of great interest as a crop for inhospitable regions.


Jojoba seeds consist of about 50 percent jojoba oil, which is not actually an oil but the only naturally occurring wax that is in liquid form at room temperature. Its chemical structure is very similar to that of spermaceti, which is extracted from sperm whales and is no longer used, with good reason. Jojoba oil does not oxidize, so it cannot become rancid. It has anti-inflammatory and bacteriostatic effects; among other things, it also contains vitamin E, provitamin A and other antioxidants. Cold-pressed jojoba oil is clear golden yellow and has a light fragrance; refined oil, on the other hand, is colorless and odorless.

Use of the jojoba oil.

Jojoba oilJojoba oil
  • Jojoba oil is one of the most important natural base oils for cosmetics that care for skin and hair. Products with jojoba oil have a balancing effect on the fat-moisture ratio of the skin, even flaky and oily scalp reacts positively
  • Since jojoba oil is easily absorbed and does not leave an annoying greasy film on the skin, it is particularly well suited for the care of oily skin. Excess sebum production is regulated, an imperceptible waxy layer remains on the skin, but does not seal it and protects it from drying out
  • Jojoba seeds are not suitable for cooking, they are indigestible and contain the glycoside simmondsin, which releases prussic acid. Jojoba oil itself has also been found to be incompatible when taken internally.

The jojoba got its misleading name "chinensis", i.e. "coming from China", because the botanist Johann Link accidentally read the label on a box of plant material as "China" instead of "Calif". To make the confusion complete, there is the Chinese jujube (Ziziphus jujuba), commonly cultivated in East Asia (and now also in Southern Europe), whose edible fruits outwardly resemble jojoba, but which belongs to a completely different plant family.

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