Pharmaceutical and medical uses
In the pharmaceutical industry, sunflower seed oil is used as a filling material in soft gelatin capsules. In addition, it is used in the production of creams and ointments, and can replace olive oil and peanut oil in medical products. According to the book Oils – Naturally Cold-Pressed by Marcus Hartmann, sunflower seed oil is supposed to be easily digestible and help in reducing high cholesterol.
Industrially, sunflower seed oil is applied in oil paints and artists’ colors, and in the manufacture of soaps and lacquers. Additionally, it can be used as a preservative agent in textile making and in leather processing. Warm-pressed oil can only be used for industrial purposes. Pure sunflower seed oil can also be used as biofuel and as vegetable oil fuel. Its fuel qualities, however, are as yet scarcely researched. In contrast, sunflower seed oil today is often used in the production of biodiesel. Refined oil is also found in lubricants and plasticizers.
In the kitchen
Sunflower seed oil is considered valuable cooking oil because of its versatility. It is used in cooking, can be used as a dietary product, and is additionally well suited for use in baby food products and in the production of mayonnaise, salad dressings, and margarine. However, only sunflower seed oil from “high oleic” types should be heated to high temperatures, since carcinogenic substances (radicals) can form in all the other types of sunflower seed oil. The latter types should only be used in cold dishes. They are only able to be heated to a maximum of 120° C, yet do contain a very high proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, a marginal proportion of saturated fatty acids, and much Vitamin E. In contrast, the so-called “HO sunflower seed oil” (high oleic) contains a much higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids as compared to conventional sunflower seed oils, and can handle temperatures up to 250°C.
In folk medicine
Traditionally, sunflower seed oil is supposed to be used internally to ease constipation; and externally, for badly healing wounds, skin lesions, and rheumatism.
Lastly, the residues on the press, such as the defatted flour, have a wide range of applications. They can serve as livestock feed.