What is Tea Seed Oil?
Tea seed oil (also known as Tea Oil or Camellia oil) is edible oil possessing acceptable organoleptic characteristics with the color of pale amber-green and sweet fragrance favor. It is cold-pressed mainly from the seeds of Camellia oleifera. Tea seed oil should not be confused with tea tree oil, an inedible essential oil that is used for medical and cosmetic purposes and originates from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. In Japan, Camellia oil is extracted from the seeds of Camellia japonica plants, this oil is also called as Tsubaki oil. Camellia oleifera may be confused with Camellia sinensis, which is mainly for tea, however, its seed can also be used for edible oil as well as industrial oil. A combination of sinensis and oleifer is used at times in different products.
The Constituent of Tea Seed Oil in Comparison with Olive Oil
Camellia oil is considered to be the Oriental Olive Oil, as their fatty acid composition, oil properties, and nutrient content are similar. They all contain physiological activator squalene, having the effect of anti-fatigue, anti-hypoxic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and enhancing human immunity. Besides, tea seed oil contains physiological activator tea polyphenols and tea saponin, which are not possessed by olive oil. The two antioxidants-tea polyphenols and tea saponin- can effectively improve cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases control, lower cholesterol, restrain the increasing of triglyceride and inhibit cancer cell. Like olive oil, Camellia oil is high in monounsaturated acid and low in saturated fat. Monounsaturated acid has been proved to lower bad cholesterol and protect human from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Rich in vitamins and minerals, tea seed oil can add nutritional value to foods cooked with it. It has a high level of vitamins A, B, and E. It is also a good source of the minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, and manganese. Since tea seed oil has a high content of antioxidants, it occupies excellent storage qualities, just like olive oil and grape seed oil. It has a shelf life of at least 18 months when stored in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight.
Tea Seed Oil Applications
Camellias grow in East Asia and the southern provinces of China, and the oil has long been used in their cultures in many ways. In US, Europe, and Southeast Asia, the refined high-quality Camellia has been favored by the middle and old aged consumers. Tea seed oil does not change or cover the taste of the foods cooked in it since it has a neutral flavor and no strong smell. It is commonly used in salad dressings, dips, marinades, and sauces. With its high smoke point, tea seed oil can be heated to very high temperature before it begins to break down and lose nutritional value, so it is an excellent choice for cooking processes using extreme temperatures like popping corn or stir-frying meat and vegetables. Meanwhile, the smoke is difficult to produce so that to maintain the kitchen hygiene by preventing smoke adhering to the wall of the kitchen and reducing the occurrence rate of lung cancer induced by the cancerogenic substance in oil-smoke. The use of tea seed oil is however not restricted to cooking only but is also used for skin care, medicinal purposes, and industrial application. Cosmetics and medicinal oil based on high-quality Camellia oil are favored by female consumers in various countries.