From a tree in the Tahitian Islands, Tamanu oil is rare since the trees are found only in the few South Pacific islands. Today there are other varieties of Tamanu trees in Hawaii, Vietnam and Thailand.
Used by Tahitians and other south Pacific populations, Tamanu oil is very healing for the skin. It was very protective for any sun exposure and for traumatic dry skin problems.
The Story of Tamanu Oil
The fruit of the tree is similar in size to an apricot. Its botanical name is Calophyllum inophyllum. This nut is not like a typical “nut”, when the fruit is opened the nut kernel does not contain oil. Only after it dries in the sun, the nut turns chocolate brown and sticky with a pleasant smelling oil.
It takes a lot of patience and time to gather the seeds for the nectar inside. Everything is done by hand, gathering the nut and curing the seeds in the sun for about eight weeks. Then they can extract the oil from the seed; by squeezing the seed with a press.
Annually one tree produces enough nuts to equal five kilograms of cold pressed Tamanu oil.
Studies and Stories about Tamanu
Tamanu oil is topical oil that promotes regeneration of new tissue. It accelerates wound healing. Well known ethnobotanist, Chris Kiliam, says that Tamanu oil is very effective for forming new skin and healing wounds.
This oil when applied to the skin readily absorbs into the skin and leaves no oily residue.
Tamanu has been studied by the French since 1918, the French medical literature talks about how cases of severe skin conditions like burns and gangrene infections were completely resolved with Tamanu oil.
More recently researchers in Asia and Europe have found the compounds; calophyllolide, an anti –inflammatory, lactone an antibiotic, calophyllic acid, coumarins and 3 essential classes of lipids.
These compounds work together to give this oil its remarkable healing power.
Benefits of Tamanu Oil
- Heals scars and acne
- Helps regrow tissue over burns
- Prevents premature skin aging
- Decreases pain in joints and nerve pain
- Fights toenail fungus
- Resolves Stretch marks from pregnancy
- Relief from eczema and psoriasis
- Controls body odor and smelly feet
- Soothes sunburn
- Helpful in damaged tissue involved with gangrene or leprosy.
Tamanu possesses the unique property of “cicatrization”, the capacity to encourage regrowth and generation of new tissue.
Recipes Using Tamanu Oil
For Pain and Inflammation:
3 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil (EO)
3 drops of Ginger EO
3 drops of Rosemary EO
4 tsps. of Tamanu oil
Blend together. You only need one to two drops to blend into affected skin area.
For Relief of Psoriasis, Eczema and Dry cracked skin:
2 drops of Eucalyptus EO
2 drops of Thyme EO
2 drops of Lavender EO
1 drop of Tea tree EO
4 tsps. Of Tamanu oil
Blend together. Rub a drop or two on dry areas twice a day for softening of skin.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.