Jojoba is a soothing plant that possesses many uses. From medicinal applications to renewable energy, jojoba is truly remarkable.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Coffeeberry, goat nut, wild hazel
  • Scientific nameSimmondsia chinensis
  • Plant typeShrub
  • Native regionNorth America
  • Main producer(s)Mexico, United States of America
  • Main Economic UseMedicinal

Jojoba is native to the Sonora Desert in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States and has been a highly valued plant for centuries. It is a folk remedy for colds, dysuria, poison ivy, sores, sore throat, warts, and other skin conditions. Native Americans have used jojoba for a wide range of purposes, including applying jojoba oil to wounds and other skin issues. They also applied the oil to aching eyes and joints and drank jojoba preparations for colds and to facilitate childbirth. Jojoba is now cultivated as an oil crop in South America, Africa, and Israel. Today, jojoba's main industry is cosmetic, as it is used in countless skin and hair products for its restorative properties.

Medicinal and Nutritional Information

Quick Facts (Medicinal and Nutritional Information)
  • Medicinal actionAnti-inflammatory, Emollient
  • Key constituentsWax esters, long-chain fatty acids
  • Ways to usePoultice, Ointment
  • Medicinal rating(2) Minorly useful plant
  • Safety rankingUse with caution

Health Benefits of Jojoba

When applied topically, jojoba has numerous health benefits for the skin. These medicinal benefits include: Jojoba is traditionally used for:

  • Easing inflammatory pain. When applied topically, jojoba can relieve acne, skin redness, and eczema.

  • Moisturizing and soothing the skin. Jojoba's primary use is through its amazing skin care capacity. It is often used for moisturizing and soothing skin, as well as smoothing wrinkles and unclogging pores.

In addition, jojoba's medicinal properties include:

  • Cleansing wounds and burns. Jojoba was traditionally used for cleansing wounds and treating numerous types of burns, including sunburns.

  • Soothing skin conditions. Jojoba has traditionally been used to treat skin conditions, such as skin rashes.

How It Works

Jojoba oil is technically a liquid wax extracted from the plant's seed. The liquid wax makes up about half of the seed's dry weight, and consists of a 60% mixture of wax esters, fatty acids, and glycosides.

The wax esters contained in the oil from the jojoba plant have shown anti-inflammatory, cleansing, and moisturizing actions. Jojoba is also useful for unclogging pores and hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth and clear skin. Jojoba oil is highly resistant to oxidation and is stable at high temperatures. These properties make it a very high-quality lubricant.


Jojoba Side Effects

Jojoba is likely safe for most people when applied topically. It can cause minor skin irritation or rash in some individuals. However, it is likely unsafe when taken orally. This is because jojoba contains erucic acid, which can be toxic when consumed and can lead to heart damage.

How to Consume Jojoba

As it is considered toxic when taken orally, all of jojoba's medicinally properties can be found in its medicinal, topical applications.


Main preparations: Cream, oil, salve

  • Cream. When applied as a cream, jojoba moisturizes the skin due to its cleansing properties. It is can also be applied to skin to soothe skin rashes and sunburns.

  • Oil. In its most commercially popular form, jojoba oil, which is actually a wax, can be used to treat acne or eczema due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used for the hair and scalp.

  • Salve. When applied as a salve, jojoba relieves inflammation of the skin through its anti-inflammatory properties.


Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buyFarmers' markets, Specialized health stores

Jojoba oil is sold in its pure, extract form. It is also commonly used in cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions because of its restorative properties. Jojoba products are available year round at most grocery stores, health stores, and online.


Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Harvested partsSeeds
  • Light requirementsFull sun
  • SoilLight (sandy)
  • Growing habitatArid or desert regions
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones9a (From −6.7 °C (20 °F) to −3.9 °C (25 °F)), 9b (From −3.9 °C (25 °F) to −1.1 °C (30 °F))
  • Potential insect pestsAphids, Deer, Slugs
  • Potential diseasesFungi

Hailing from desert regions, jojoba thrives best in arid or semi-arid climates, where the temperatures average 80 - 100°F (27 - 38°C). While it is a low maintenance plant, it is important to note that seedlings are highly sensitive to frost, so it is best to avoid any potential cold exposure during this time. For additional growing tips, follow the guidelines below:

Growing Guidelines

  • Jojoba prefers light, sandy soils that have a good drainage in order to allow adequate moisture.

  • While very little water is required for growth, soils that contain nitrogen will help it thrive, especially during its first year.

  • Jojoba needs full sun exposure in order to grow

  • The soil should have an ideal pH of 5 – 8

  • Jojoba plants are vulnerable to aphids, thrips, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

  • Jojoba plants are also vulnerable to deer and bighorn sheep

Additional Information

Quick Facts (Additional Information)
  • Other usesCosmetics, Fuel

Plant Biology

Jojoba is an evergreen shrub native to the Sonoran desert of southern California , north-western Mexico, and western Arizona. Its leaves are oblong, coarse, leathery, and can grow up to 2.5 inches (6.5 cm).

Jojoba shrubs typically grow to 3.3 - 6.6 feet (1--2 m) tall. There are reports, however, of it reaching heights of 9.8 feet (3 m). Its flowers, which typically bloom between March and May, are small and greenish-yellow, with 5 - 6 sepals and no petals.

  • Classification
    Jojoba, or Simmondsia chinensis, is the only species within the Simmondsia genus, which is the single genus of the Simmondsiaceae family (formerly Buxaceae). Jojoba it is unique among plants in that its seeds contain an oil which is a liquid wax

  • Varieties and Subspecies of Jojoba
    Being Simmondsia chinensis the only member of the Simmondsia genus, there are no subspecies of this plant. However, many cultivars have been developed in Australia and Israel, among other countries, in order to improve yields and quality of this economically important crop.

Historical Information

Jojoba scrubs were first referenced in literature in the 1789 by Mexican historian Francisco J. Clavijero, who noted that the Native American tribes of Baja California prized the fruit for food and the oil for medicinal purposes, such as treating cancer and kidney disorders. Native Mexican tribes used the oil for its hair restorative properties.

When Heinrich Friedrich Link, a 19th century professor of botany and the director of the botanic garden of the University of Berlin, examined specimens of jojoba, he thought that they came from China and described the plant as a new species of Buxus (Boxwood) and named it Buxus chinensis.

In 1836, Thomas Nuttall, an Englishman who spent 33 years in the United States as a naturalist and explorer, collected samples of jojoba near present-day San Diego, California, placed the plant under a new genus: Simmondsia, and named it Simmondsia californica. When J. Mueller recognized that Buxus chinensis and Simmondsia californica were in fact the same species, he chose Nuttall's name, but C.K. Schneider later proposed its current name: Simmondsia chinensis.

Economic Data

Jojoba has been adapted to different countries and environments because of its high economic potential: today, 40,000 acres of jojoba are under cultivation in the southwestern U.S. Each jojoba plant may yield up to 11 pounds (5 kg) of seed (dry weight); approximately 50% by weight is the liquid wax, or "jojoba oil." One hectare can yield 2,480 - 4,960 pounds (1,125 - 2,250 kg) of oil per year, and recent prices are around $23 USD per pound ($50 per kg). In addition to its high demand in the cosmetics industry, the stability of jojoba oil makes it attractive to the electronic and computer industries.

Other Uses of Jojoba

Jojoba has numerous uses, most of which are in a cosmetic capacity. These other uses include as a lip balm, as a hair and scalp serum, and as a make-up remover.


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