Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Mineral Oil is a transparent, clear oil that is derived from petroleum. It is usually a by-product created from producing gasoline from crude oil. Mineral oil is basically composed of cyclic paraffin and alkanes. This oil is produced in extremely large quantities and is considered to be relatively inexpensive.
Mineral oils are generally available at drug stores in both light and heavy grades. The three main classes of refined mineral oils are naphthenic oils, aromatic oils, and paraffinic oils.
History and Origin
Crude oil, from where mineral oil is derived, has been in existence on this planet for many years. Crude oil comes from ancient organic materials that have been fossilized. However, it was only in the 19th century that the term petroleum was used to refer to mineral oils that are produced by distillation. Crude oil is categorized as a mineral oil since it is obtained from rocks or sands and has no organic origin. Refined oils are the end products after certain processes are made out of the crude oil.
Traditionally, mineral oil had been used as a blending ingredient for conditioning oils in the Hoodoo way of life. These oils were used (and still are today) for anointing people and objects during ancient rites and rituals of those who follow this path. It was also used for massaging and relaxing of body muscles.
Since mineral oil is non-reactive, it is also being used for the curation of some artifacts. The stone artifacts are neither harmed internally nor externally and the mineral oil actually draws out the beauty in the artifacts.
Mineral oil is also used in the manufacture of skin lotions, baby care products such as baby liquid soap, baby lotions, baby oil, and baby shampoo and creams.
This type of oil is used for the manufacture of some veterinary medicines and animal treatment for tracheal and other parasites. Applying plain mineral oil onto the shank, toes, and webs of chicken can remove infections of scaly mites.
It is also used for cosmetic products such as lipsticks, cold creams or make-up remover creams, eye make-up removing creams, and liquid make-up foundations.
In some cases, it can also be used as an additive for food production such as candies. Since mineral oil does not absorb water and does not conduct electricity, it is used in numerous mechanical and industrial capacities as thermal fluid in electric components and as a non-conductive coolant.
Mineral oil is considered safe for human consumption and contact in the United States and thus has been approved by the FDA in cosmetic products, personal care products, and as an additive for food. However, in the UK, it has been discovered that mineral oils in ink can contaminate foods when they are packed in recycled cardboard. Therefore, because it may cause cancer, manufacturers are advised to stop using recycled cardboard in packaging.
Based on a study on mice, mineral oil has the potential to cause skin cancer although this is not yet verified since the study was only performed on mice.
Other side-effects are severe allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth and face when taken as a mineral oil emulsion.
Mineral oil ointment and other products containing mineral oil may cause mild itching, drying and burning of the skin.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan