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Sunflower

Sunflower
Sunflower or Suryamukhi is one of the most beautiful flowers. Sunflower oil extracted from its seeds is the world’s second most edible oil. It is rich in healthy fats, various vitamins and minerals that play a very important role in reducing the risk of many health problems.
Consuming soaked Sunflower seeds helps manage constipation by reducing dryness of the intestine. Sunflower oil is also beneficial for the heart due to the presence of antioxidants that help manage cholesterol levels in the blood. Using Sunflower oil for cooking might help to improve digestion. It also helps reduce pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory property.
You can apply Sunflower oil to helps manage skin infections due to its antimicrobial activity[2-5].

What are the synonyms of Sunflower?

Helianthus annuus, Suryamukhi, Surajmukhi, Beliphul, Jirasol, Suriakamal, Adityabhakti, Suryakanthi huvu, Sumukhi, Curiyakanti, Suryakanti, Adityabhakti chettu, Shuriamukti, Suryaphula, Brahmoka, Surajmuka, Suryakanti, Mirasol, Common Sunflower, Arzivana, Aftabi, Guliaftab[1]

What is the source of Sunflower?

Plant Based

Benefits of Sunflower

What are the benefits of Sunflower for High cholesterol?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seed oil may be useful in managing high cholesterol. It is rich in linoleic acid and oleic acid that plays a role in lowering total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in the blood[3][5][6][10][11].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
High cholesterol is due to an imbalance of Pachak Agni (digestive fire). Impaired digestion at the tissue level produces excess waste products or Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This causes accumulation of bad cholesterol and blockage in the blood vessels. Sunflower oil helps to improve digestive fire and reduce Ama due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. This helps control high cholesterol level.
Tips:
1. Use 1/2 -1 tablespoon of Sunflower oil for cooking purpose.

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Constipation?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Sunflower seeds may be useful in managing constipation[6][13].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Constipation is caused due to an aggravated Vata dosha. This can be due to the frequent consumption of junk food, excess intake of coffee or tea, sleeping late at night, stress and depression. All these factors aggravate Vata in the large intestine and cause constipation. Soaked Sunflower seeds help to reduce dryness of the intestine and manages constipation. This is due to its Vata balancing nature.
Tips:
1. Eat 1/2-1 teaspoon of raw, roasted or dried Sunflower seeds 30-60 minutes before a meal.
Or, you can sprinkle it over your food or roast and have it as a snack.

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Hypertension (high blood pressure)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seed oil may not be useful in managing high blood pressure[6][12].

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Rheumatoid arthritis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Sunflower seeds or oil may be useful in managing Rheumatoid arthritis[6][17].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is known as Aamavata in Ayurveda. Amavata is a disease in which vitiation of Vata dosha and accumulation of Ama takes place in the joints. Amavāta starts with a weak digestive fire which leads to accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This Ama is carried to different locations through Vata but instead of being absorbed, it gets accumulated in the joints and causes Rheumatoid arthritis. Using Sunflower oil in cooking helps to improve digestive fire and reduce ama due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. This helps in improving mobility in case of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Tips:
1. Use 1/2 -1 tablespoon of Sunflower oil for cooking purpose.

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Atherosclerosis (plaque deposition inside the arteries)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seeds and oil may be useful in managing atherosclerosis. Sunflower seeds and oil contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that have potent anti-atherosclerosis activity. They decrease total cholesterol, triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level in the blood. This reduces the formation of plaques in the arteries and prevents atherosclerosis[3][6][16].

How effective is Sunflower?

Likely effective
High cholesterol
Likely ineffective
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Insufficient evidence
Atherosclerosis (plaque deposition inside the arteries), Constipation, Rheumatoid arthritis

Precautions when using Sunflower

Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
People sensitive to members of the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family such as chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies etc. are also allergic to Sunflower. In such cases, consult a doctor before using Sunflower[6].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
Although Sunflower is safe to consume in food amounts, consult your doctor before consuming Sunflower supplements during breastfeeding[6].
Patients with diabetes
scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower may lower the blood glucose levels. So it is generally advised to monitor the sugar levels regularly while taking Sunflower along with anti-diabetic drugs[3].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
Although Sunflower is safe to consume in food amounts, consult your doctor before consuming Sunflower supplements during pregnancy[6].

Recommended Dosage of Sunflower

  • Sunflower Capsule - 1-2 capsules twice a day.
  • Sunflower Seeds - ½-1 teaspoons once or twice a day.
  • Sunflower Powder - ¼-½ teaspoon twice day.

How to use Sunflower

1. Sunflower Seeds
a. Eat 1/2-1 teaspoons of raw, roasted or dried Sunflower seeds 30-60 minutes before a meal.
b. Sunflower seeds can also be added to salads.

2. Sunflower Oil
It can be used in general cooking for e.g., frying, baking etc.

3. Sunflower Powder
a. ¼-½ teaspoons of Sunflower powder can also be taken twice a day.
b. You can also sprinkle it over food or have it as a snack.

4. Sunflower Capsule
a. Take 1-2 Sunflower capsule.
b. Swallow it with water after taking lunch and dinner.

Benefits of Sunflower

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Skin infections?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower oil may be useful in managing skin infections. It has antimicrobial activity and forms a barrier against many skin pathogens. Sunflower oil may also act as a moisturizer as it can be absorbed by the skin and provide deep nourishment[6][5][18-20].

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Skin regeneration?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seeds and sprout may be useful in wound healing. It contains phenolic compounds that helps accelerate wound healing. Sunflower seed oil also has antimicrobial property which reduces the chances of wound infections and further speeds up the healing process[3][21].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sunflower oil is useful in quick healing of wound. It also decreases swelling and brings back normal texture of the skin due to its Ropan (healing) property.
Tips:
Take ½ -1 teaspoon of Sunflower oil.
Apply directly on the affected area.
Repeat once or twice a day for quick healing of wound.

What are the benefits of Sunflower for Athlete's foot (tinea pedis)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seeds and oil may be useful in managing fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot. Sunflower seeds and oil are rich in flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins and tannins that have potent antifungal activity[6][3][16].

How effective is Sunflower?

Likely effective
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis)
Insufficient evidence
Skin infections, Skin regeneration

Precautions when using Sunflower

Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
People sensitive to members of the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family such as chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies etc. are also allergic to Sunflower. In such cases, consult a doctor before using Sunflower[6][8].

Recommended Dosage of Sunflower

  • Sunflower Oil - 1-2 teaspoon or as per your requirement.

How to use Sunflower

1, Sunflower Oil
A. Sunflower oil moisturizer
i. Apply 1 teaspoon of Sunflower oil directly on face and body.
ii. Repeat this to control fine lines and wrinkles.

B. Sunflower oil face mask
i. Take 3 teaspoons Sunflower oil.
ii. Add 1 cup plain greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
iii. Mix well to make a smooth paste.
iv. Apply on face and neck.
v. Leave for 20 minutes.
vi. Wash it off with normal water.

2. Sunflower Powder
a. Take 1-2 teaspoons (or as per your requirement) of Sunflower powder.
b. Make a paste with rose water and apply on the skin.
c. Leave this paste for 1-2 hour.
d. Wash it off with normal water.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is Sunflower oil good or bad for you?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower oil is good for you as it is low in unhealthy saturated fatty acids and so it does not raise your cholesterol levels. It is naturally free from trans fat and sodium and is rich in linoleic acid and vitamin E. It improves the immune system and reduces the risk of heart disease.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, Sunflower oil is good for you. It is Madhur (sweet ) in taste, Laghu (light to digest) and Snigdha (oily) in nature. It also help balance all the three doshas. Regular use of Sunflower oil increases energy, improves the immune system and promotes a healthy digestive system.

Q. Can you eat raw Sunflower seeds?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Sunflower seeds can be eaten raw. They are naturally low in sodium and high in oil content. Sunflower seeds can also be roasted or baked. But their consumption must be limited as they are high in calories (100 grams of Sunflower seeds have about 584 calories).

Q. How do you get Sunflower seeds out of the flower?

scientific
Modern Science View
To harvest Sunflower seeds:
1. Check for ripeness of the Sunflowers. The back of the head of the flowers that have turned brown from green are selected (this happens about 35-40 days after bloom).
2. Cut the head off the plant (about 4 inches below the flower head) and remove the seeds with your fingers or a fork.

Q. Are Sunflower seeds low carb?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seeds do not contain a lot of carbohydrates but are high in calorie. Two tablespoons of dried Sunflower seeds contain about 6 gram carbohydrates and 160 calories.

Q. Q. What are the dangers of eating Sunflower seed shells?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower seed shells are very high in fiber so eating them may result in intestinal blockage and constipation. The sharp edges of shells may cause cuts to the lining of the digestive tract causing stomach pain.

Q. Is it safe to eat a lot of Sunflower seeds?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although Sunflower seeds are healthy. But they are high in calorie and fats. According to USDA, ¼ cup of raw Sunflower seeds contain about 2014 calories. Thus, they should not be consumed in excess[7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
No, eating a lot of Sunflower seeds can cause excessive bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence. This is because they take time to digest due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Guru (heavy) properties.

Q. Do Sunflower seeds make you gain weight?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although Sunflower seeds are healthy, they are high in calorie and fats. According to USDA, ¼ cup of raw Sunflower seeds contain about 2014 calories. Thus, they should not be consumed in excess as they might increase your weight[7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Sunflower seeds can increase your weight when taken in large amounts. This is because Sunflower has the property of Guru (heavy) and Madhur (sweet) which increases Kapha leading to weight gain.

Q. Can Sunflower seeds cause cancer?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Sunflower seeds have anticancer property and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. This is due to the presence of oleic acid and Vitamin E[3].

Q. Is Sunflower oil good for liver?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Sunflower oil may be good for the liver due to its hepatoprotective effect. It lowers the concentration of enzymes that damages the liver[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sunflower oil helps to protect your liver because of its Laghu (light) nature.

Q. Is Sunflower oil good for heart?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes. Sunflower oil may be beneficial for the heart. Sunflower oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and flavonoids. It lowers cholesterol levels in the blood thus lowering the risk of heart attack and other heart diseases[3][14].

Q. Is Sunflower seeds good for weight loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Sunflower seeds may be useful in managing weight. Sunflower seeds contain active phytochemicals that have anti-obesity effect. It also lowers the body mass index (BMI) and body weight[5][16].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
An increase in weight is due to unhealthy food habits and lifestyle which leads to a weak digestive fire. This increases accumulation of Ama causing an imbalance in meda dhatu and thus resulting in obesity. Eating Sunflower seeds help to correct digestive fire and reduce Ama due to its Ushna (hot) nature.

Q. Are Sunflower seeds good for diabetics?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Sunflower seeds may be useful in managing diabetes. Sunflower has antioxidants that have antidiabetic effect. It lowers the blood glucose level and stimulates the production of insulin[14][15].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes also known as Madhumeha is due to an aggravation of Vata and impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin. Eating Sunflower seeds helps to balance Vata and reduce Ama. This is because of its Ushna (hot) potency which is responsible for impaired function of insulin. This helps control high blood sugar level.

Q. Are Sunflower leaves beneficial?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Sunflower leaves have many benefits. Sunflower leaves contain saponins which helps in reducing inflammation. The leaves are useful in managing cough and skin problems. A tea made from the leaves is helpful in high fever. The crushed leaves are used as a poultice on sores, swellings, snakebites and spider bites[11].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Use of Sunflower leaves helps to maintain the symptoms of cough and cold due to its Kapha balancing property. It helps to expel excessive sputum from lungs when it is taken orally. Sunflower leaves also reduce inflammation and helps in quick healing of skin problems due to its Ropan (healing) property.

Q. Does Sunflower oil causes inflammation?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Sunflower oil actually has anti-inflammatory property. It inhibits the release of inflammatory chemicals and reduces inflammation[9].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sunflower oil is good for the skin because it has Ropan (healing) property. It helps to reduce skin inflammation and gives a soothing effect when applied to the affected area.

Q. Are Sunflower seeds good for the skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Sunflower seed oil may be good for the skin. Sunflower seed oil may protect against skin infections due to its antimicrobial activity. It may also act as a potent moisturizer. It can be easily absorbed by the skin and provide deep nourishment[5][18-20].

Q. Is Sunflower oil good for acne?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, topical application of Sunflower oil may be useful in managing acne. Sunflower oil is rich in linoleic acid which has anti-inflammatory activity. It inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria (P. acnes)[14][22].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sunflower oil gives good result in case of skin problems like acne or pimples. According to Ayurveda, an aggravation of Kapha leads to an increased sebum production and clogging of pores. This results in the formation of both white and blackheads. Another factor, an aggravation of Pitta causes red papules (bumps) and inflammation with pus. Applying Sunflower oil controls the production of sebum and removes clogging of pores. It also reduces swelling around acne due to Sita (cold) property.

Q. What are the benefits of Sunflower oil for the skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sunflower oil is easily absorbed by the skin and provides deep nourishment. It is rich in vitamin A, D and E which has strong antioxidant activity and controls the signs of ageing. It is applied on the skin to promote wound healing. It protects premature babies from bacterial infections. It contains linoleic acid which keeps skin hydrated and prevents acne[10].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sunflower oil is not only useful for cooking food, but can also be applied to the skin. Sunflower oil removes excessive dryness and helps in quick healing of wound when applied externally. It also helps to prevent signs of aging and restores the normal texture of the skin due to its Snigdha (oily) property.

References

  1. Balkrishnan A.Tulsi.Ayurved Jadi Buti Rehsya. Danik Bhaskar.2017.
  2. Sepideh M.Helianthus annuus: A systematic review of Pharmacological activity.Der Pharma Chemica, 2016, 8(14):73-76.
  3. Shuangshuang Guo,Yan Ge,Kriskamol Na Jom.A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common Sunflower seed and sprouts (Helianthus annuus L.).Chem Cent J.2017;11:95.
  4. Dwivedi A, Sharma GN.A Review on Heliotropism Plant: Helianthus annuus L.The Journal of Phytopharmacology 2014; 3(2):149-155.
  5. Al-Snafi EA.The pharmacological effects of Helianthus annuus- A review.IAJPS 2018;05(03):1745-1756.
  6. WebMD.Sunflower-oil: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  7. USDA.Basic Report 12036, Seeds, Sunflower seed kernels, dried.2018.United States.
  8. Hausen BM, Spring O.Sunflower allergy On the constituents of the trichomes of Helianthus annuus L. (Compositae).Contact Dermatitis.1989;20(5):326-334.
  9. Díaz-Viciedo R, Hortelano S, Girón N et al.Modulation of inflammatory responses by diterpene acids from Helianthus annuus L.Biochem Biophys Res Commun.2008;369(2):761-766.
  10. Arjmandi BH, Khan DA, Juma S et al.Whole flaxseed consumption lowers serum LDL-cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) concentrations in postmenopausal women.Nutr Res.1998;18(7):1203-1214.
  11. Binkoski AE, Kris-Etherton PM, Wilson TA et al.Balance of unsaturated fatty acids is important to a cholesterol-lowering diet:comparison of mid-oleic Sunflower oil and olive oil on cardiovascular disease risk factors.J Am Diet Assoc.2005;105(7):1080-1086.
  12. Mutanen M, Kleemola P, Valsta LM et al.Lack of effect on blood pressure by polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat diets.Eur.J.Clin.Nutr.1992;46(1):1-6.
  13. Pal D.Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) seeds in health and nutrition.Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention.Elsevier BV;2011.
  14. Bashir T, Mashwani ZUR, Zahara K et al.Chemistry, pharmacology and ethnomedicinal uses of Helianthus annuus (Sunflower):a review.Pure Appl. Biol.2015;4(2):226-235.
  15. Saini S, Sharma S.Antidiabetic effect of Helianthus annuus L., seeds ethanolic extract in streptozotocin- nicotinamide induced type 2 diabetes mellitus.Int J Pharm Pharm Sci.2013;5(2):382-387.
  16. Islam RT, Islam AT, Mazumder K.In vivo anti-obesity activity of methanolic extract of Helianthus annuus seeds.International Journal of Applied Research.2015;1(13):518-522.
  17. Heo JC, Woo SU, Kweon MA et al.Aqueous extract of the Helianthus annuus seed alleviates asthmatic symptoms in vivo.Int J Mol Med.2008;Int J Mol Med.2008;21:57-61.
  18. Nandha R, Singh H, Garg K et al.Therapeutic potential of Sunflower seeds:an overview.Int J Res Dev Pharm Life Sci.2012;3(3):967-972.
  19. Darmstadt GL, Saha SK, Ahmed ASMNU et al.Effect of topical treatment with skin barrier-enhancing emollients on nosocomial infections in preterm infants in Bangladesh:a randomised controlled trial.Lancet.2005;365(9464):1039-1045.
  20. Darmstadt GL, Badrawi N, Law PA et al.Topically applied Sunflower seed oil prevents invasive bacterial infections in preterm infants in Egypt:a randomized, controlled clinical trial.Pediatr Infect Dis J.2004;23(8):719-725.
  21. Marques SR, Peixoto CA, Messias JB et al.The effects of topical application of Sunflower-seed oil on open wound healing in lambs.Acta Cir Bras.2004;19(3).
  22. Arshad M, Amjad M.Medicinal use of Sunflower oil and present status of Sunflower in Pakistan :a review study.Sci Tech Dev.2012;31(2):99-106.External Link
  23. Lim TK.Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants.Volume 2.Springer Science & Business Media.388-389.External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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