Tamanu oil or calophyllum inophyllum is a secret that has been long forgotten. A sacred gift from nature. This rich dark green oil has been used for over 100 years in Southeast Asian medicine for practically every skin problem. Tamanu has been traditionally used as a remedy for scars, acne, rosacea, abrasions, psoriasis, eczema, stretch marks, age spots, toenail fungus, sunburn, skin rashes, insect bites, blisters, dermatitis and more.
(a brief) History of Tamanu
Tamanu oil originates from the sandy islands in the South Pacific and is grown on an Ati tree. This tree blooms twice a year bearing fruit called ballnut. When ready to pick, the fruit turns a beautiful yellow or vibrant red. The valuable oil is in the kernel of the ballnut and needs to be dried first before extraction. After 8 to 10 weeks of drying, the rich oil will start to form on the kernel. This is when it can finally be extracted by cold press. It is best to not refine or use heat to extract since its medicinal values can decrease.
Ariipaea Salmon and Ni Vanuatu women drying Tamanu nuts. Photo by Chris Kilham
It's all in the biological activity..
Although extensive research has not been made on tamanu oil, researchers did find out tamanu oil is made of three basic classes of lipids; neutral lipids, glycolipids, and phospholipids. Tamanu also contains a unique fatty acid called calophyllic acid, a novel antibiotic lactone, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent called calophyllolide. These and the other constituents account for its true healing benefits.
- Possesses a unique process called cicatrization which promotes the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin. This makes tamanu ideal for any lingering ailments such as acne scars, stretch marks, sunburn, and blisters.
- Unique capability of penetrating all three layers of the skin. This capability allows for its anti-microbial abilities to work effectively where infection begins.
- Traditionally used in Fiji for relieving the pain of sciatica, shingles, neuralgia, rheumatism and leprous neuritis.
- Offers natural UV ray protection.
Tamanu is being revitalized as more become enlightened on its benefits. I hope others can see its purpose and to see it more commonly in cosmetics and body care as it can replace some toxic ingredients. Which is why I love to use it in our products. The rich oil may be thick but once it is applied it abosrbs into skin without leaving a greasy residue which is perfect for salves and lotions. It is so universal that all can benefit from its healing. The oil is safe for delicate baby skin and works wonders on diaper rash.