Pulchritude: Jojoba

Cultivated almost exclusively for its seeds, which is used as an ‘oil,’ Jojoba is a shrub that is native to southwest United States and northwest Mexico.  They are specifically found in the deserts of Sonoran, Mojave, and Baja California.  The jojoba shrub (Simmondsia chinensis) typically grows between 3.3-6.6 feet tall and has short oval leaves that grow between 2-4 centimeters and 1.5-3 centimeters in length and width, respectively.  Its flowers are small and yellow-green in color, though it has no petals but sepals.  Contrary to popular belief, the ‘oil’ produced by jojoba seeds is actually a liquid wax which is very similar to human sebum and is an excellent conditioner for the hair and skin.  Jojoba ‘oil’ also has anti-fungal properties which can be used to treat dandruff.  Jojoba seeds were first cultivated by Native Americans who heated the seeds and crushed them to form a salve which was used on the skin and hair, and to treat animal hides.

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