Tamanu oil, or Calophyllum Inophyllum, is from a tree found in Southeast Asia, mostly in Polynesia. The tamanu tree has a thick bark and small leaves. The tree produces a small fragrant fruit that has a large nut hull inside. By drying the nut and allowing it to mature, the nut produces a sticky oil that is pressed out of the hull. Tamanu oil has long been used for its healing abilities as a topical aid.
In the 1920’s, Sister Marie-Suzanne discovered that tamanu oil was beneficial in helping leprosy victims located in Fiji. The records she kept of her use of the oil in treating the leprosy victims, attracted the attention of scientists in France. Tamanu oil was researched in France originally for its anti-neuralgic properties, but the oil’s healing abilities became the main focus of the tests. Tamanuoil.com states, however, that reports of tamanu oil’s healing abilities are anecdotal and there is little information to back claims.
According to Chris Kilham, the Medicine Hunter, tamanu oil can heal skin ailments due to its abilities to promote the formation of new skin. His research finds that Pacific Island folk medicine has been using tamanu oil for many years to help with healing cuts, bites, eczema, sunburn and dry skin. Tamanu oil is also massaged into the skin to help with rheumatism and neuralgia, or facial nerve pain.
Types of Use
Drugs.com claims tamanu oil has been used in traditional medicines in the areas of Africa, Asia, China and the Pacific Rim for years. The whole tamanu tree is used: bark, leaves, berries and nuts. Some of the uses include as antiseptics, astringents, expectorants, diuretics and purgatives. However, there have been no clinical studies documenting the medical effectiveness of tamani oil.
Mountain Rose Herbs finds tamanu oil is used in many positive ways today. Indonesians soak leaves from the tamanu tree in water, which creates a blue liquid helpful for inflamed eyes. In New Guinea, the leaves are burned over fires to be applied to cuts, burns and bites. In the Philippines, the sap from the tamanu tree is mixed with other ingredients to create a salve to rub on skin ailments.
Tamanu oil is used in many cosmetics, helping give the products a silky texture and a nice smell. The tamanu oil absorbs into skin well and leaves it feeling soft and smooth.
Some people may have a mild allergic reaction to products containing tamanu oil.