The Healing Properties of the Jojoba Plant

Learn about the healing properties of the jojoba plant, includes a history of the use of the jojoba plant, medicinal uses for jojoba and information about the rich oil that can be obtained from this plant.

| November/December 1977

  • Can this unassuming little desert shrub, the jojoba plant, really save the world?
    Can this unassuming little desert shrub, the jojoba plant, really save the world?
    Illustration By Fotolia/acnaleksy

  • Can this unassuming little desert shrub, the jojoba plant, really save the world?

Discover the jojoba plant's healing properties, one of a number of characteristics that makes it important to our food, leather, paint, adhesives, cleaning and polishing, cosmetics, health, insulation, rubber, textile, and other industries in the future.

Tips on Jojoba Crops

Growing Jojoba Plants

The Healing Properties of the Jojoba Plant

No one really knows how long the native peoples of the U.S. Southwest have been harvesting and using the nut of the jojoba (ho-ho-be) shrub. As early as 1769, however, the famous Spanish missionary Junipero Serra reported that he had seen California Indians cooking with jojoba oil and using the fluid as a healing agent on wounds.

And there the matter rested until 1822, when an H.F. Link attempted to classify the jojoba plant. Unfortunately for us all, though, Mr. Link foolishly mixed his jojoba specimens (collected from the Sonora Desert) . . . with other plants gathered on a later field trip to China. This has since created two problems: [1] It caused a number of other botanists to waste a great deal of time, energy, and money fruitlessly searching that Asiatic country for the plant, and [2] it leaves the jojoba — a bona fide native of North America-saddled to this day with the misleading scientific name of Sim mondsia chinensis.

Still, it's hard to keep a good plant (even a misnamed one) down. And the hardy jojoba shrub — which can not only thrive in the kind of hot, dry deserts that kill most growing things, but produce an extremely valuable oil while doing it — is, indeed, a very good plant. Good enough, at any rate, to encourage several government agencies to attempt to introduce the jojoba to semi-arid, poverty-stricken northern Africa over the years. These efforts all failed, however, and the plant once again fell into obscurity.

Suddenly World War II — with its hotly contested struggles for control of both the planet's land masses and sea lanes changed all that. The increasingly sophisticated war machines thrown into the fray by nations on both sides of the conflict consumed absolutely frightening quantities of high-pressure lubricants — and that caused problems for everyone.

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