The sunflower is an annual plant typically grown in the United States. Sunflower oil is made from the seeds and has numerous positive health benefits. It can be used to alleviate constipation. It can also be applied to the skin for poorly healing wounds, and can help to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
The medicinal parts of the plant are the ray florets, the leaves, the ripe fruit, the oil extracted from the seeds, and the mature flower heads.
Flower and Fruit
The very large, composite flowers are solitary or in small clusters, usually nodding, and 10 to 40 cm wide on the stems. The bracts appear in a number of rows and are leaflike, ovate, acute, and sparsely bristly. The 20 to 70 asexual, linguiform golden-yellow ray florets are 3 to 10 cm long and 1 to 3 cm wide. The numerous tubular disc florets are androgynous. They may be brown, purple, or yellow, with black or purple anthers. There are small 3-pointed paleas on the base of the capitula. The fruit is compressed at the sides, obovate to almost wedge-shaped; it is an achaene. It is densely appressed, downy and whitish, straw yellow or gray to black.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The sunflower is a 1 to 3 m high annual plant with a long primary root and numerous lateral roots. The stem is erect, branchless, or branched higher up, densely covered in hairs, and filled with thin white pith. The leaves are alternate, cordate-triangular, long-petioled, irregularly serrated and covered with short bristles on both sides.
Helianthus annuus is indigenous to central and eastern North America and is cultivated worldwide.
Sunflower oil is the fatty oil of the achenes of Helianthus annuus, which is recovered from the fruits, excluding the shell, by cold pressing. The ray florets and leaves are collected at the beginning of the flowering season.
Corona Solis, Helianthus, Marigold of Peru, Sun Rose
Actions & Pharmacology
Compounds: Sunflower Oil
Triglycerides: chief fatty acids linoleic acid (35-62%), oleic acid (25-42%), palmitic acid (4-7%)
Steroids: Sterols including campesterol, cholesterol, beta-sitosterol
Effects: Sunflower Oil
Useful as a dietary supplement.
Indications & Usage
Sunflower oil is used internally to alleviate constipation (as a lubricant). It is used externally as massage oil, for poorly healing wounds (as an oil dressing), and in the treatment of skin lesions, psoriasis, and rheumatism. Sufficient information on the efficacy of the drug is not available.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Health risks or side effects following the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages are not recorded.
Mode of Administration
In folk medicine, the drug is mainly for external use. In other areas, it is used as an inactive ingredient in pharmaceutical preparations.
Keep protected from light, in tightly sealed containers. Oils from different deliveries should not be mixed.