Tamanu Oil

Native to Polynesia and Tropical Asia, the Tamanu Tree is a very functional part of day to day life. It is often planted in hedgerows and along the side of roads as an effective windbreak, which stops a lot of wind erosion to the soil. The timber of the tree is not usually large enough for construction or furniture, but it is frequently used in making small boats. Tamanu Oil is produced from the kernels of the tree’s fruits.

The fruits are collected and cracked open to get at the kernel inside. Rather than pressing immediately, the kernels are dried on racks for a month and during this time, they turn brown and sticky. Only then are the kernels ready to be pressed to release this wonderful oil.

Tamanu Oil is a dark green oil that is quite thick, and at colder temperatures it can solidify in the bottle. It is easily made fluid again by warming the bottle in warm water, and this does not damage it at all.

It is said to have a rich, woody scent, but to me, Tamanu Oil smells of curry! When it is blended into a cream or a lotion, the strong smell mellows a lot, and is more “hay like” and can also be masked with essential oils. 

A 3D pie chart showing the ratios of essential fatty acids and a text overlay "Chemical Profile of Tamanu Oil"

Typical Essential Fatty Acid Content

  • C16:0 Palmitic Acid 13% to 20%
  • C18:0 Stearic Acid max 14% to 20%
  • C18:1 Oleic Acid (Omega 9) 38% to 55%
  • C18:2 Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) 30% to 39%

Saponification Value mg KOH / g 185-205 (The SAP value is relevant if you are using the oil to make soap).

Scientific Name of Tamanu Oil

The INCI is Calophyllum Inophyllum. INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, whereby ingredients used in cosmetics are identified and categorized. The CosIng database is the skincare ingredients checker that helps you to identify what you are using. It lists the formal uses of Tamanu Oil as antimicrobial, antioxidant, hair conditioning, oral care, skin conditioning, UV absorber. It is all of those — and so much more! 

Facial photos of two men and a woman, all with good skin and a text overlay "Tamanu Oil reduces wrinkles, combats dry, flaky skin & makes skin soft"

Tamanu Oil For Skin

  • You can use the oil neat on the skin, where it is easily absorbed and leaves no greasy residue. It blends well with other oils and oil soluble actives like Vitamin E. This gives you an even more powerful product.
  • As Tamanu Oil is heat stable, it can be used in the Oil Phase of creams and lotions when water-soluble actives can also be added.
  • There has been good research showing that Tamanu Oil is effective for treating infected wounds. It was effective against Gram+ and Gram- bacteria and also promoted the wound healing quicker. It also helps to cleanse away the metabolic debris after injury or illness.
  • Using Tamanu Oil for scars caused by acne is effective as it promotes the growth of newer skin. It also prevents further acne breakouts due to its antibacterial qualities.
  • It locks moisture into the skin and provides a good barrier to exterior aggressors. This is very beneficial for treating eczema and psoriasis. As it can be used neat on the skin, it is a simple job to apply Tamanu Oil for psoriasis and eczema.
  • It calms down inflammation and stops the itchiness associated with many forms of dermatitis.
  • The skin will be moisturized and the delta-tocotrienol content (a potent form of Vitamin E) is very anti-inflammatory. Its antioxidant qualities make it very beneficial for reducing the appearance of wrinkles, combats dry skin, and it leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer. It’s excellent to use in a balm for after shaving and to treat razor burn.
  • It’s a perfect oil to include in a foot cream as it is antifungal, so will combat athlete’s foot and stop the itchiness associated with it. Furthermore, it helps to remove scaly skin and diminishes the irritation.
  • For anywhere on the body, it is an excellent oil to use for stretch marks. This is a great free recipe for stretch marks that uses Tamanu Oil. It has a stimulating property that can help reduce the discoloration of old scar tissue and can even help to diminish the appearance of old keloid scars.
  • It can diminish age spots on the back of the hands when used in a hand cream and in facial blends. You can use Tamanu Oil for rosacea, especially when blended with Rosehip Seed Oil.
  • For pain, it is a good choice and even better when combined with essential oils like Plai, Fragonia™ or Eucalyptus Globulus. Consider using it with rheumatism and neuralgia.
  • This pain relieving and wound healing ability is especially useful to use on anal fissures, where it can be applied neat. It is also safe enough to use on diaper rash.
  • Because Tamanu Oil is heat tolerant, it is very good for infusing cannabis into. This will enrich the CBD level and make every benefit listed above even more powerful. The only restriction would be not to use infused oil on a baby.

Tamanu Oil For Hair

  • To get longer and stronger hair growth with fewer breakages, use Tamanu Oil in hair packs or in a hair conditioner. It’s best to use a cationic emulsifier for this like BTMS 25 so that it bonds well with the hair shaft.
  • It restores a healthy sheen to the hair shaft and improves manageability.
  • Of course, just as on the body, it helps to improve scalp psoriasis as well.

It’s not a new oil, and centuries of continuous use have shown it to be very effective and incredibly useful to entire communities. Even people who have no pain issues, no skin complaints and don’t care how many wrinkles they have, still use Tamanu Oil as a form of fuel to run vehicles and farm equipment!

How To Get The Best Quality Products?

It’s always a concern when you buy something for the first time, to know that you are getting good quality. With vegetable oils, the risk is firstly that the oil is old and has started to go rancid. The other common thing is to find that it has been diluted in a cheap oil. I’ve hunted around and checked online paperwork to find suppliers that offer the best quality products at a fair price, and also make it easy for you. I recommend these that are available on Amazon;



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