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Amazing Benefits of Tamanu Oil

by Annette McDermott

Tamanu oil, also commonly called domba or dilo oil, comes from the tamanu nut tree native to Polynesia and South East Asia.  These trees produce a small, yellow fruit that contains a large nut (also called a seed). Within each nut is a kernel. When tamanu nut kernels dry out, they are cold-pressed and release a remarkably rich, nourishing, greenish-colored oil -- tamanu oil.

Tamanu Oil Properties

A synopsis published by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science (IJCS) states that tamanu oil contains beneficial fatty acids including linoleic and oleic acids. These beneficial substances have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing abilities.

In addition, tamanu oil contains a unique, little known fatty acid called calophyllic acid. This ingredient is believed to have powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and wound healing properties.

Tamanu Oil Uses

Native Polynesians harnessed the healing benefits of tamanu oil centuries ago. Today, they still use the oil to keep their skin moisturized and beautiful.

Tamanu oil's beauty secrets have reached far beyond the Pacific islands. Celebrities such as Carol Alt and Lauren Hutton rave about the benefits of the oil for younger looking skin. But tamanu oil has some uses that may surprise you. According to the IJCS synopsis, tamanu oil is used the following ways:

  • Chapped Skin: Tamanu oil is used to replenish moisture to chapped skin and lips, especially in dry, hot climates. The oil is also used to heal and prevent diaper rash.
  • Pain Reliever: The analgesic oil serves as a liniment to relieve joint pain from arthritis and gout. It has also been historically used to relieve sciatica pain.
  • Wound and Burn Healer: Tamanu oil is believed to have cell regenerating effects making it useful for healing wounds, ulcers and burns (including sunburn and chemical burns).
  • Heals Scars: The results of a nine week study on the efficacy of tamanu oil to heal scars showed the oil significantly diminished the appearance, length and width of the scars.

Author and holistic health educator, Chris Kilham,  offers these additional uses for tamanu oil on his Medicine Hunter website:

  • Relieves insect bites and stings
  • Heals abrasions and cuts
  • Reduces body and foot odor
  • Relieves anal fissures
  • Heals and prevents acne
  • Relieves eczema

The Medicine Hunter website also cites a remarkable incident in France in which a woman had a gangrene ulcer on her leg that would not heal. Although doctors were certain amputation would be necessary, they applied regular tamanu oil dressings for a period of time. The woman's leg healed completely and amputation was avoided.

Studies of tamanu oil support what native islanders have known for centuries. That the oil possesses anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. According to Drugs.com, research concludes that tamanu oil is effective against Staphylococcus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1.

A Natural Powerhouse

Tamanu oil is proving to be a powerhouse of the natural healing realm. Few products can match its multiple restorative and skin-soothing benefits.

Other than the chance of a rare allergic reaction that is possible with any substance, there are no known side effects; however, you should consult your physician or a certified herbalist or naturopath prior to using tamanu oil to treat a medical condition, especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

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