What is Tamanu Oil?
Tamanu oil (Calophyllum inophyllum) is an inedible greenish-yellow oil obtained from nuts of the tamanu tree. Calophyllum inophyllum (a species of the Guttiferae family) is an enormous evergreen tree found in the tropics of Southeast Asia. The tree also thrives in the Polynesian and Melanesian islands. The Melanesian people say that they get the best quality of oil from the nut kernels harvested from the trees that grow near the sea.
The tree bears fruit that is characterized by large seeds. These seeds/kernels are harvested once the fruit ripens and then they are dried for a month or longer. Once these seeds obtain a deep brown color and become sticky with oil, they are taken to a screw press, where the oil is extracted. The nuts can contain up to three quarters of oil.
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Tamanu Oil Benefits
- Skin Conditions (Main Benefit)
- Arthritis Aid
- Woulds & Sores
Tamanu oil has a wide variety of benefits when used on the human body to the extent that ancient Polynesian people regarded it as a sacred gift of nature.
In 2002, an article was published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science explaining the various constituents and benefits of Tamanu oil.
According to the extensive study carried out on tamanu oil, it was concluded that the oil has a range of healing properties due to its diverse chemical constituents. Professor Lender, a French scholar, discovered that tamanu oil contained calo-phylic acid and a lactone that is actually an antibiotic. Over the years, the oil has been used to get rid of a range of symptoms associated with ailments like arthritis and rheumatism and to heal small wounds or sores.
The healing abilities of the oil are thought to be because of its wide range of healing constituents. These substances include; a substantial amount of antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories, and compounds that accelerate the healing process.
Around three-fifths of the produced oil is obtained from the kernel which constitutes benzoic acids, traces of vitamin F, callophyloids, terpenic essences, phospho-aminolipids, glyceroids and saturated fatty acids. Callophyllolide, when studied independently, showed anti-inflammatory properties in formaldehyde-induced arthritis in rats. This compound also prevents blood from coagulating as well as having antibacterial properties. The sample studied was also found to contain delta-tocotrienol, a type of vitamin E that benefits metabolism and the cardiovascular system. The bark of the tree constitutes of tannin which is also an antiseptic agent with astringent properties. The leaves of the tree contain triterpenes and friedelin that accelerate the healing of wounds and which are good for protecting brittle skin. The tree also has 4-phenylcoumarins that have proved to prevent tumors.
In addition to this, tamanu oil also contains chemical compounds that combat leukemia proving that the oil could be beneficial in fighting the disease.
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Tamanu Oil uses
Tamanu for the Skin
Tamanu oil promotes faster healing of wounds because it encourages tissue regeneration. The skin is a vulnerable organ and is occasionally exposed to harsh external factors such as cold, cuts, burns, punctured wounds and abrasions. Conditions such as rashes, inflammation and chapped lips may be due to the natural brittleness of the skin.
Other physical damages to the skin may be due to laser treatments, a minor surgical procedure or any form of aesthetic treatment. Tamanu oil works by strengthening the collagen fibers in the skin.
Tamanu for Acne
Acne is a condition brought about by many factors including bacteria in the skin. Tamanu oil gets rid of bacteria that cause acne as well as counteracting all inflammation brought about by acne. The chemical compounds responsible for this include the 4 phenylcoumarins, calophyllolides and a group of xanthones- euxanthone, dehydrocycloguanandin, mesuazanthone-B, calophyllin-B, jacareubin and mesuazanthone-A. These agents are anti-inflammatories and also counter redness due to inflammation, sores, rashes, abrasions and swelling.
Tamanu for Toenail fungus
Tamanu oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It can therefore be used as an effective remedy against toenail fungi. The chemical compounds believed to be responsible for giving tamanu oil antifungal properties include canophynoll, inophynone, canophyllic acid, and friedelin.
Tamanu for the face
Tamanu oil is a very good anti-aging product that re-establishes the natural beauty of the face. It goes deep into the skin removing all signs of aging. The oil consists of coumarins and xanthones that are known to possess anti-aging properties. These coumarins and xanthones are also excellent antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce the aging process by fighting free radicals that usually accelerate the aging process. In addition to this, the oil contains Calophyllic acid which is thought to make new tissue. Other constituents include lactone that has antibiotic properties and anti-inflammatories like calophyllolide and courmarins.
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Tamanu for Scars
Tamanu oil has the ability to generate new tissue, thus can be applied on wounds to facilitate faster healing. In the year 2002, the International Journal of Cosmetic Science documented research that revealed the healing properties of tamanu oil. Test subjects involved had visible scars that were present for at least one year and the application of tamanu oil diminished the scars. It did this by forming new tissue- a process known as cicatrization. Visible changes in the healing of the scars started to be seen just after 9 weeks when pure oil was used. The length of the scars was reduced by an average of 2.8 mm in length and 1.2 mm in width.
Tamanu for Eczema
Tamanu oil consists of delta-tocotrienol; a type of vitamin E that can treat the eczema. The oil also consists of calophyllolide that has anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Tamanu for Stretch Marks
Aside from treating ordinary scars, tamanu oil can also be used to treat stretch marks found in pregnant women and obese individuals. The investigation of tamanu oil’s ability to heal scars was carried out by tamanu oil.com. According to the study, when the oil was applied twice a day consecutively, for a nine week period, the size of the stretch marks decreased by about 0.28 centimeters in length and 0.12 centimeters in width.
Tamanu for Hair
Tamanu oil has a range of benefits it offers to the hair, some of which include;
- Deep conditioning: The oil gives amazing results even for very dry hair. When the oil is used twice a week, the hair is conditioned deeply. For super dry hair, conditioning with hot oil treatment twice a week makes the hair smoother and more thick.
- Repairs damaged hair: Tamanu oil has the ability to penetrate deep into the strands of hair and mend hair that has been damaged due to excess usage of chemicals, colours or heat processing.
- Vanishes split-ends: As Tamanu oil works wonders for conditioning the hair and repairing it, it can also get rid of split-ends. Applied to the locks, focusing on the ends, will eventually leave the hair with no split-ends.
- Combats hair loss: The oil is also known to grow hair on the scalp where there is none. Users are advised to massage the scalp regularly in these regions with no hair.
- Stimulates hair growth: As much as the oil grows hair where there was acute hair loss, the oil is also important in giving longer strands of hair.
- Adds volume and shine to the hair: Tamanu oil gives that extra shine to the hair, as well as more volume, making the hair look shiny and beautiful. To give the hair this improved appearance, warm up a little amount of oil and use it to massage your scalp. Once you do this, rub your oily fingers to the tips of the locks.
Tamanu for Tattoo Healing
Due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, antibiotic and healing properties, Tamanu oil is often used after tattooing to repair damaged skin, reduce inflammation and prevent infection.
Tamanu Oil Side Effects
Despite its many benefits, there is a possible risk of developing contact dermatitis when using tamanu oil; this is according to a study carried out in 2004. However, the good news is that not many people are allergic to tamanu oil. A patch test can be used by people concerned about their sensitivity to particular kinds of oil.