Jojoba oil is extracted from the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis, the leafy, evergreen Jojoba shrub, indigenous to the SW of North America. The wild tree can grow up to 2 m. but occasionally to 6m. with taproots to 12 m. long. The male flowers are yellow, the female flowers pale green. The fruits ripen from April to July and the seeds fall to the ground in August (about 3-6 months after fertilisation). Seed production is generally limited until the fourth year of growth.
The oil of the Jojoba seed is unique in that it closely resembles sebum, the waxy substance produced by our skin glands, which functions like a natural skin conditioner. The oil moisturises a dehydrated skin and protects it from the drying effects of the environment. It also controls the oily skin which is important because an oily skin can be the starting point of e.g. acne and dandruff, which is often complicated by fungal infections. Jojoba oil has also been found to be effective in giving considerable relief to people with Psoriasis and eczema, as the oil forms a protective layer over the skin which forms a barrier to external infections.
The name ‘Jojoba’ comes from the O’odham name ‘Hohowi’. O’odhams are North American Indians from Arizona and Northern Sonora in Mexico and speak a Uto-Aztecan language.