Tea seed oil, also known as camellia oil, is an edible, pale amber-green fixed oil with a sweet, herbal aroma. It is cold-pressed mainly from the seeds of Camellia oleifera but also from Camellia sinensis or Camellia japonica.
With its high smoke point , tea seed oil is the main cooking oil in some of the southern provinces of China, such as Hunan—roughly one-seventh of the country's population. In Japan tea seed oil is derived from Camellia japonica, mainly from Izu Islands of Tokyo Prefecture and Goto Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture.
Tea seed oil resembles olive oil and grape seed oil in its excellent storage qualities and low content of saturated fat. Monounsaturated oleic acid may comprise up to 88 percent of the fatty acids. It is high in vitamin E and other antioxidants and contains no natural trans fats.
Tea seed oil is used in salad dressings, dips, marinades and sauces, for sauteing, stir frying and frying and in margarine production.
Tea seed oil is used to manufacture soap, hair oil, lubricants, paint and a rustproofing oil as well as in synthesis of other high molecular weight compounds. Soapmaking tables list it as one of the comparatively few oils that produce high-lather soap. Japanese tea seed oil is used for setting the hair of Sumo wrestlers and for tempura. Camellia oil is also used as rust protection for a variety of woodworking hand tools such as chisels and planes.
Research by the Institute of Preventative Medicine of Sun Yat-Sen University have found Camellia extract to be used in washing and laundry powders.