Kalahari Melon Seed Oil
The Kalahari Melon grows across the Kalahari Desert and is an important source of water for the nomadic San people that travel across this extremely dry part of the world. People would generally not attempt to cross this desert outside the fruiting season of the melon. A person can survive for six weeks on an exclusive diet of Kalahari Melon with no other food or water. This plant is the ancestor of the Watermelon but bears very little resemblance to the commercially available plant.
The fruit is harvested from the wild by members of the Eudafano Women’s Cooperative in a fair trade agreement overseen by PhytoTrade Africa. PhytoTrade also oversee the sustainable harvest of the plants. This ensures that populations of these desert plants are maintained.
The oil is cold pressed at a facility wholly owned by the community. Subsequent processing takes place at below 60°C and includes deodorization and ultra-filtration.
Kalahari Melon is an excellent source of omega-6 essential fatty acids for skincare applications and brings the additional benefit of high phytosterol content. It is commonly used as food oil and has very low risk of sensitization and has good resistance to oxidation.
The oil content of the Kalahari Melon seeds is about 51%. The oil has some key advantages.
It has an omega-6 essential fatty acid composition that is comparable to Evening Primrose (68% vs 72%). This gives it strong moisturizing and restructuring properties in skincare application.
The oil also has a high sterol content with nearly 2% unsaponifiables. This includes β-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and 5-avenasterol. The skin’s stratum corneum has a significant sterol component (14% of lipids) and this is integral in maintaining barrier function in skin.
The oil is stable to oxidation in comparison to conventional oils. This is primarily due to the high γ-tocopherol content (70mg/100g). Further resistance to oxidation is brought by the phenolic acids that are present – gallic, protochatechuic, vanillic, syringic, ferulic and caffeic acids.