Camellia Sinensis (Theaceae)
This is the plant whose leaves, leaf buds and even twigs are used to produce different types of tea: white tea, green tea, black tea. Different leaf ages produce different teas since the chemical make up of the leaves is different. The leaves a shiny, typical of the camellia genus. young leaves are bright green with hairy underside.
It originates from Asia and Southeast Asia, particularly Japan but is nowadays cultivated in all tropical and subtropical regions. It is a tall tree which would normally reach a height of 17 m but is kept below 2 m by constant trimming of the young leaves. Given a chance, it will have white and yellow flowers which will cover the trees all winter. They are followed in the autumn by small round fruits which contain 1 to 4 round, slightly flattened seeds.
It is cold-pressed from the seeds and is a light yellow colour with a very faint odour. It has been produced and used traditionally as a cooking and seasoning oil as well as to nourish skin, hair and scalp.
Camellia oil is light, penetrates the skin easily, does not have a strong odour and as such makes the ideal carrier oil for massage. Somewhat on the onerous side, it is better to blend it with less expensive oils: jojoba, sunflower, walnut, sesame provide a good blending palette.
Camellia oil has excellent nourishing properties. It has recently been shown to contain anti-oxidant and therefore good restructuring skin qualities along side Rosehip, Borage and Argan oils. It is a useful ingredient to add in all after sun products, moisturizers for damaged, dry and mature skins, healing balms …