What is harakeke seed oil?
Flax is divided into two unique species, the Harakeke or Phormium Tenax (or swamp flax or common flax), and the Wharariki or Phormium Cookianum (or mountain flax). They grow on cliffs, in swamps and on mountains, where they receive sunlight but not in the shade of the forest. Naturally, the mountain flax tends to higher altitudes. They can be distinguished in two ways. The swamp flax variety tends to have rigid leaves with a stiff keel or butt and grows red flowers with upright seed pods. The leaves of mountain flax are more malleable and usually fold and it grows yellow flowers with drooping seed pods.
The flowers of flax produce a sweet-tasting nectar. Birds such as pihipihi (waxeye), starling, koromiko (the bellbird) and tūī like to feed on this nectar, as does the common honeybee. When they perch on the plant, and dip their beaks into the flower tube to suck the nectar, fine grain pollen collects on their heads. The pollen is the male gamete. It grows on a stamen (stalk). When the bird or the bee comes to another plant of the same species, the stigma and style, which are the female parts of the plant lean in to receive the pollen, which travels down the style to the ovaries at the base. This fertilizes the egg (ovule).
A fertilized egg becomes a seed in a seed pod. Depending on the phormium species, the pod is either upright or drooping.For the plant to propagate, the pod will burst open and release dozens of black, glistening seeds. They scatter to the wind and become new plants.
We harvest the seed pods before they open. To obtain the oil, we press the seeds.
Ingredients in the seed oil include linoleic acid, phytosterols and omega 3 and omega 6, which are fatty acids. In addition to being edible, flax seed oil contributes to skin health. Linoleic acid is nature’s great moisturizer. Phytosterols reduce redness and irritation, and omega 3 and 6 have antioxidant potential. Further, omega 6 will work together with oleic acids to speed cell turnover. Overall, your skin is hungry for the nutrition of this substance (flax seed oil) for collagen protection and regeneration and hydration.
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