Tamanu oil comes from the evergreen Calophyllum Inophyllum found in tropical South East Asia, Vanuatu, Polynesia, as well as Vietnam, Malaysia and parts of Africa. It is common along the seashores of the Philippines and India. Considered a sacred tree to the Polynesians, it has many traditional uses and names in different countries. Tamanu Oil comes from the kernel of the round apricot sized fruit but cannot be obtained without a little helping hand. When the fruits are ripe, they drop to the ground and are collected and opened to reveal a pale nut. The nuts are spread out to dry in the sun for a month or two and only then do they darken and fill with oil.
Although Tamanu Oil has been used for thousands of years by islanders, it is relatively new to the west. It enjoyed brief fame at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in Paris where it was used to completely cure a gangrenous wound and so prevented a leg amputation. Tamanu Oil is rich and dark green with a pleasant floral aroma and a complex make up. It has the following fatty acid composition: Oleic acid 49%, linoleic acid 21%, palmitic acid 15%, steriac acid 13%, linolenic acid 0.3% and eicosanoic acid 0.9%. Besides these, Tamanu Oil contains calophyllic acid, a unique fatty acid, lactone, a novel antibiotic and calophyllolide, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, plus coumarins, also anti-inflammatory components. It also has glycolipids and phospholipids.
Tamanu Oils is thick but disappears surprisingly rapidly into the skin, leaving no trace of oiliness behind. It is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal and antisecticidal. The most distinctive features of Tamanu Oil are its established abilities to cicatrise a wound and to relieve pain from sciatica, shingles, neuralgia, rheumatism and leprous neuritis. It stimulates the production of new tissue formation which speeds up healing and promotes the growth of new, healthy skin. It accelerates the activity of phagocytes – the cells responsible for engulfing and destroying bacteria, viruses, foreign substances as well as dead, diseased and worn out cells. Tamanu Oil also protects the vascular system.
Tamanu Oil should not be ingested and is for topical use only, either on the skin or mucous membranes. It can be applied to skin neat – it does not need to be diluted but as it is likely to be expensive, it can be added to other creams. Tamanu Oil has been incorporated into commercial skin creams, soaps, facial products and lip balms.
It is wonderful for any skin condition where regeneration and rejuvenation is required and it is particularly recommended for any type of burn (physical, chemical or sun) and for post-surgical wounds – both for alleviating pain and for reducing scarring. Also for age spots, dry skin, sensitive skin, wounds, skin irritation, infections and fungal issues, herpes, psoriasis, eczema, acne, diabetic sores, anal fissures and of course, scars, stretch marks and wrinkles. In a massage, Tamanu Oil relieves the pain of rheumatism, arthritis, injuries, muscle aches and neuritis. Can be used for weak nails and dull, dry hair too.