As much as fats and oils get a bad rap for being detrimental to us, the truth is that we need to consume a certain number of oils and fats just to survive. Our body uses them in a number of different ways, including as an energy source, as well as a nutrient packed ingredient in a vast number of sweet and savory foodstuffs.

But, as they used to say in an ad for the automotive industry, oils ain’t oils.

Trans fats and palm oil have taken a battering in terms of public image lately, and olive oil- once the darling of the kitchen- now has to compete with a dozen other oils from rape seed to flax and anything with the words Omega 3 in their title.

Oils are also noted as being excellent for the skin. Whereas everything you used to put on your body once needed to have the word ‘milk’ in it, these days you are more likely to use bio-active ingredient packed naturally occurring spray on fats to keep your skin soft.

Coconut oil has gained a reputation as an all-round great thing for your body either sitting on top of your skin as a moisturizer, or inside you as a healthy alternative to consumable fats. If you love the smell of coconut, this oil has another advantage over others, like virgin olive oil, because instead of smelling like a salad when you leave the house, you will smell like a Pina Colada.

Coconut oil is so in favour now that people are claiming it can do everything from clean and whiten your teeth, to curing stomach ulcers and most skin conditions. It is used as an alternative to make-up remover as well as being a healthier way to deep fry food.

One little known, but slowly emerging oil is Crocodile oil. Yes. Made from real crocodiles.

The animals are squeezed and squeezed until…, wait. It’s not like that. Actually the oil is extracted from the dead crocodile’s fatty tissue in much the same way salmon oil or any other animal oil is retrieved. Ancient Egyptians used crocodile oil as medicine, and indeed there are those who claim that this product will cure eczema, lung conditions and acne.

Little scientific research has been done on the subject, but any oil wiped on the body will help keep it supple and moist.

Crocodile oil is also sold for this purpose……

And this is why we can’t have nice things.

Another small but powerful product in the market is Emu oil.

Emu’s are large flightless birds indigenous to Australia. Their oil is processed when the birds are killed either for their feathers, or their meat. Emu oil is marketed as having medicinal qualities and is therefore sold as being anti- inflammatory, anti- aging and even cholesterol lowering.

Of course, emu oil can be used cosmetically as well. It is not yet sold as an oil to be used as an alternative to, say, corn oil when deep or shallow frying.

The good thing about emu oil is that it can be used for polishing wood and sharpening tools, as well as for fighting of colds and flu’s and weight gain.

And last, but by no means least, snake oil. Which is a real thing.

The term ‘snake oil salesman’ implies that there is trickery about. For actual sellers of actual snake oil, this can’t make their job any easier.

Real snake oil is sourced from the Chinese water snake and is used primarily for joint pain, as it has been for centuries in Chinese medicine.

Snake oil is available as a balm, as well as a consumable.

Unfortunately for snake oil, it has been used for many other purposes as well – such as a cure for male pattern baldness in ancient Egypt when mixed with lion, hippopotamus, crocodile, tomcat oils and Nubian ibex.

This makes it sound all a bit….well….whacky….but as much as any oil can be good for you, even if to just massage into our skin, snake oil is now being more widely accepted as an actual product, not just a term of derision.

As with anything, all things in moderation, but if you are looking for something a little bit different in the areas of health and beauty these and many other exotic lipids are out there in the market place. Just do a little research first, and for heaven’s sake, watch where you put that Croc oil!!!!



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