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 made 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 ate 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.
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 categorised. 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!
How To Use Tamanu Oil
You can use the oil neat on the skin where it is easily absorbed and leaves no greasy residue. Applying Tamanu Oil for eczema is simple and easy, with no mess.
Tamanu Oil For Skin
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. It’s 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. 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 discolouration 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.
This pain relieving and wound healing ability is esoecually useful to use on anal fissures where it can be applied neat. It is also safe enough to use on diaper rash.
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.
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 mgKOH / g 185-205
The SAP value is relevant if you are using the oil to make soap.
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!