Botanically known as Calophylluminophyllum, Tamanu oil is a carrier oil extracted from the seeds of a large, evergreen tree, found in regions of East Africa, India, Malaysia and Australia. It has long been used for its medicinal values. In India, it is found in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtraand the Andamans. It is known as the ‘Green Gold’ in the Polynesian and Melanesian Isles, for its cicatrisant (scar healing), anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, anti-microbial, anti-biotic and anti-oxidant properties.
The oil is extracted from the seeds of the Tamanu Tree, which have been dried for several months. The oil is cold pressed, without any additives, and is filtered naturally.The composition of the seed oil are oleic, linoleic, stearic and palmitic acid. It also includes calophyllolide (anti-inflammatory), lactone (anti-bacterial), and calophyllic acid (fatty acid that helps heal acne). It is a thick oil, with a nutty odor, that comes in a translucent dark green color.
What are its benefits?
The research on the health benefits of Tamanu Oil is limited, but there are numerous evidence that proves its health benefits. It is often used by natives for the following purposes:
- Acne and acne scars.
- Skin Conditions: Regular use has shown its effectiveness against eczema, psoriasis and skin burn.
- Pain relief – Topical application can alleviate pain caused due to sciatica, shingles, and rheumatism.
- Regeneration of skin –It has shown positive results in reducing the appearance of stretch marks and acne scars.
- Numerous researchers have shown that it helps promote the formation of new skin tissue.Its anti-aging properties leads to the reduction of the appearance of wrinkles and age spots too.
- Burns, blisters, cuts, scrapes and insect bites.
- Treatment of ulcers, genitourinary and venereal diseases.
- Hair conditioner – It leaves the hair feeling soft and shiny.
- It hydrates dry skin and regulates oily skin.
- It is also used to treat ring worm and athlete’s foot.
How do I use it?
Pure Tamanu oil can be used as a spot treatment or applied directly onto the affected area. A pea-sized amount is enough to massage the entire face. Since it is a carrier oil, it can be mixed with essential oils to increase its potency. The oil is dense, hence will leave the skin feeling slightly greasy. There have been accounts wherein oily, normal and dry skinned beauties have loved using it equally. However, beginners may want to stick to spot treatment initially, before trying to figure out how their skin adapts to the use of this oil. Many skin care products in the market have also started infusing this as a main ingredient, some of which have been mentioned below.
Are there any side effects?
When used topically, Tamanu oil has been considered to be very safe. However,the effectiveness depends on the individual’s skin type. It works extremely well for some, while other individuals may experience allergic reactions. Those allergic to nuts may want to steer clear off this. If itching, irritation, redness or any other harmful effect persists, stop using the product immediately.
Brands that infuse Tamanu Oil in some of their products:
Neal’s Yard Remedies, Aveda, The Body Shop (Entire Tea Tree Range), La Mav, Lush, Artistry Essentials, Elemis, Estee Lauder, Derma E, Trilogy, The Face Shop, NARS, Yves Saint Laurent, Matrix Biolage, The Organic Pharmacy, Nude by Nature, Perricone MD, Shiffa and many more!
Where can I buy it from?
It’s important to get the best quality of oil, preferably 100% pure, organic one. That is, it should be unrefined, cold-pressed or CO2 extracted, without the use of additives. Some oils may be sold with the addition of small amount of Vitamin E oil, to increase its longevity and stability. Others may be sold with a mixture of essential oils. It may be slightly expensive, but the amount you’d get goes a very long way and there should never be any compromise regarding personal health. I’d suggest trying to find it in your local, natural products store. Being a research-pro engineer, I thought if you’d know the local name of this oil, it would be much cheaper to find it in your city. So here is a list of what it’s called in some popular languages in India:
- Hindi: Sultan Champa
- Marathi: Surangi,punnag,undaorundi
- Tamil: punnai
- Telugu: Punnaga, nameruvu,ponna
- Kannada: surhonne,
- Oriya: tungakesara
- Malayalam: punna
- Urdu: surpun
- Sanskrit: kambojh, kumbhikh, naagchampa, nagapushpah,
- Konkani: undi, unga
For NRIs like me, shipping it from US, could also be another option.
In the next post, I’d be sharing my experience of using Tamanu oil. If you have any questions about Tamanu oil, feel free to leave a comment and I’d be more than happy to answer it. 🙂
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to overpower the advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a licensed physician. I’ve had a very good experience using this oil and I only wanted to share my research,which was done before I started using it. This post may not cover all possible precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, however, it is essential to acquire prompt medical care for any health issues and consult a doctor before you decide to use alternative medicine or make a change to your regimen.
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