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Tamanu Oil Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Tamanu oil benefits the human body in so many ways, the ancient Polynesians believed that this oil was a sacred gift of nature.  It contains significant amounts of antioxidants and compounds that include calophyllolide, a substance known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and delta-tocotrienol,  a form of vitamin E shown to benefit the cardiovascular and cardiometabolic system.

Tamanu oil is extracted from the nut kernels of the Tamanu tree, a large evergreen tree ,native to tropical Southeast Asia. A member of the Guttiferae family (which includes mangosteen); the Tamanu tree also grows in the Melanesian and Polynesian islands, where it can grow up to 30 meters in height. Its trunk is characteristically thick with a dark-colored bark. Although it has the capacity to grow inland, the Tamanu tree favors the salty, sandy soil of coastal areas. According to the Melanesian people, the highest quality tamanu oil is those extracted from the kernels harvested from the trees growing near the sea.

The fruit of the Tamanu tree contains a single large seed or kernel. As it ripens, the fruit becomes wrinkled, and its color turns from yellow to brownish-red. The process of producing the oil starts by harvesting and drying the kernels for a month or so. The kernels will then turn from green to deep, brownish in color and become sticky with rich, sticky oil. The oil is extracted from the dark kernels using a screw press.

Producing 5 kilograms of oil would take 100 kilograms of harvested nut kernels – about the same quantity that a single Tamanu tree produces in a year. This is why tamanu oil is a bit pricey when sold commercially.

Tamanu Oil Benefits

Tamanu oil works by promoting the formation new tissues, and is favoured as a natural remedy for acne, eczema, psoriases and a whole host of skin ailments. Apart from its ability to produce new skin tissue, this miracle oil also contains anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties.

Applied topically, the wide variety of tamanu oil benefits include its ability to:

  • Soothe and soften the skin
  • Get rid of foot and body odor
  • Treat acne and reduce scars
  • Moisturize dry skin
  • Ease rashes, insect bites, and sunburns
  • Eliminate scabies, ringworm, eczema, and athletes foot
  • Relieve pain due to sciatica, shingles, and rheumatism
  • Prevent diaper rash and skin eruptions on babies

While tamanu oil is rich and thick, it can be absorbed completely when applied to the skin. The skin feels smooth soon after, without any greasy residue. Because of this, it features on the ingredients lists of a wide variety of natural cosmetic products such as moisturizers and lotions. Thanks to its regenerative properties, Tamanu is also found in a large number of creams that reduce stretch marks and scars.

To maintain its efficacy, store tamanu oil at room temperature. Precipitation may occur in cold temperatures and cause the fatty acids to disintegrate.

Tamanu Oil Side Effects

Tamanu oil does not seem to produce any side effects, but always use a patch test if you suspect you’re sensitive to a particular oil.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.