Tamanu oil, also known as green gold, is an oil extracted from the kernel of the fruit of the Tamanu Nut Tree. There is an extensive collection of research behind the benefits of this oil, found in areas of East Asia and Polynesia.
For centuries this powerful oil has been used for medicinal practises by the Polynesian people and other Pacific islands. Applies topically to soothe an enormous amount of skin conditions, even ones considered too infectious to treat. Cuts, burns, eczema, stings, bites, acne, dry skin and even body and foot odour. There are also papers from the 1900s documenting the use of tamanu oil used to help leprosy sufferers.
The Polynesian people quickly discovered that using this oil to promote healthy skin cell growth and restorative benefits when applying it to the skin, they even used it regularly on infant skin due to it being gentle enough and extremely nourishing for their skin.
It’s now the rest of us have discovered the wonderous benefits of this, pungent and deep green coloured oil, you will be amazed to learn a little more about the ways it can restore damaged skin to its original state without the bat of an eye lash. By this I mean there are no DIY recipes or formulas to worry yourself with and this oil is powerful enough to use on its own in its purest form. It is also hugely benefitial to be mixed into skin and body care products, which is why you will find it in our Intensive Skin Balm.
These hugely versatile benefits can feel overwhelming, and maybe even unbelievable, but this is why I am going to take some time to explain to you some of the uses of this oil and the variety of things it is able to help with. So, without further a due, let’s slather ourselves with the knowledge of this remarkable oil.
How Is Tamanu Oil Made?
As I explained earlier, the oil comes from the fruit of the Tamanu Nut Tree and its harvest is as unique and special as the finished product!
The collection of the tamanu kernels is very sustainable, due to the fact they are picked from the floor once they had naturally fallen from the tree. The pale-coloured kernels are left to dry in the sun for about 6-8 weeks, not forgetting to protect them from any humidity and rain. Once the nuts start to dry out their colour change to a brownish-red and become extremely sticky! This long process is needed to ensure the oil of the highest quality is produced.
After this the dried nuts are cold pressed in a screw press to gather the oil. Remarkably, only a few drops of this powerful ingredient come out of one nut. This results in 45 pounds of tamanu fruit produce 2 pounds of oil. An extremely laborious process but is the only proven way to reap the rewards of the incredible nutrients of these nuts!
As you can imagine, this process results in tamanu oil becoming very expensive. With this sadly comes a large variety of oil available on the market, all of which having various levels of quality. To use a high quality product you must be prepared to part with some money, cutting corners and opting for brands that have either oils that are yellow or black in appearance. Yellow will usually mean the oil has been chemically altered and black will be the result of the nuts being burnt in the hope of speeding up the drying. As you know, the tamanu oil has a strong, woody scent and is a deep green colour so this is the product you will know to look for.
What Does Tamanu Oil Do?
I think you mean, what doesn’t it do! Tamanu oil can help with a vast amount of skin concerns, hair problems, stretch marks, acne the list is honestly endless! There is a great deal of chemistry involved with this natural product. Tamanu Oil’s chemistry is fascinating to say the least. It contains a unique fatty acid called Calophyllic acid, a natural antibiotic called Lactone, and a natural non-steroid anti-inflammatory called Calophyllolide. And what sets Tamanu oil apart from other oils is the lipid Calophyllolide, which is not found in any other oil. This lipid has anti-inflammatory properties to aid in calming and soothing skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and irritation. It also helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by deeply conditioning the skin.
Applied topically, Tamanu oil benefits include its ability to:
- Soothe and soften the skin
- Promote the formation of new tissue and healthy skin
- Help with inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema
- Treat acne
- Help speed up the healing process
- Heal and reduce scars
- Moisturise dry skin
Tamanu oil’s benefits evidence by scientific research
The scientific name of the Tamanu plant is Calophyllum inophyllum which means "beautiful leaf," from the Greek 'kalos' meaning "beautiful" and 'phullon' meaning "leaf."
A study titled "Anti-inflammatory effects of Calophyllum inophyllum," done by Tsai SC, Liang YH et al, was published in Oncology Reports on September 28, 2012. In this study Tamanu oil was found it to be a very effective anti-inflammatory oil, helping in skin conditions such as acne, rashes, and other irritations such as insect bites, sores, and eczema.
Another study was done in 2015 entitled, "The Wound Healing and Antibacterial Activity of Five Ethnomedical Calophyllum inophyllum Oils: An Alternative Therapeutic Strategy to Treat Infected Wounds," was published by Teddy Léguillier, et al. This study evaluated the wound healing and antibacterial properties of Tamanu Oil extracted from trees growing in five different locations. They concluded that when used topically tamanu was effective in treating infected wounds and skin diseases such as acne.
This unique oil is the elixir to all our skin concerns, it’s amazing to think how it hasn’t taken over the world by storm, but on the other hand, it can be our little beauty secret!