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Tamanu Nut Oil: Divine Indulgence for the Skin

By: Klaus Ferlow
Source: Health Action magazine - Summer 2014

After researching botanicals since 1993, it amazes me that I am still uncovering new exciting plants like the tamanu tree (Calophyllum inophyllum). This tree is indigenous to tropical Southeast Asia and is found in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, South India, Sri Lanka, Melanesian, the Polynesian Islands and Madagascar.

Plant description
The tree grows to 30 metres high. It blossoms twice annually with fragrant white flowers that yield yellow-skinned fruit the size of an apricot, with a thin flesh and a large nut hull inside. Only after the kernel dries does its oil turn into an aromatic, green-yellow oil, which can be squeezed from the kernels using a simple screw press.

History and folklore
Natives believed the tamanu tree was a sacred gift of nature and that gods hid in its branches. It was their answer to skin protection from the hot sun, high humidity and ocean wind, and the oil is revered as "the green gold of beauty oils." It has been studied since the 1920s by researchers in Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands, and the results of this research are impressive.

Tamanu's healing powers
Some in the industry call it "a divine indulgence for the skin." The oil contains three basic classes of lipids--neutral lipids, glycolipids and phospholipids--along with the unique fatty acids calophyllolide, linoleic, oleic, stearic and palmitic acids.

Tamanu oil promotes the formation of new skin tissue and actually heals by speeding up the growth of healthy skin. It helps clear up acne, hydrates dry skin and has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling of rashes, insect bites and sunburn. Apply to cuts, scrapes, stings, psoriasis, rosacea, age spots, blisters, ringworm, athlete's foot, eczema, arthritis, gout, herpes sores, diaper rash, pulled muscles, damaged ligaments and sprains. It also reduces foot and body odour.

The perfect anti-aging ingredient, tamanu oil provides antioxidant, restorative and antibacterial properties. This luxurious oil helps to diminish scars and stretch marks and can transform dull, blemished skin to a smooth and glowing appearance. With chronic conditions such as psoriasis you need to apply the oil for several weeks before you will notice a gradual healing.

The oil's anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and antibiotic qualities can be particularly beneficial in cases of neuralgia, sciatica, shingles and rheumatism.

As with any topical applications, be sure to test tamanu oil on a small area of your skin first, particularly if you are allergic to nuts or have a known allergy of any kind.

Klaus Ferlow, HMH, HA, is an author, innovator, lecturer, researcher and writer. In 1975 he founded Ferlow Botanicals, which manufactures and distributes herbal medicinal and personal care products. He is a board member of Health Action Network Society and Dominion Herbal College in Burnaby, B.C. He is co-author of Seven Steps to Dental Health. www.ferlowbotanicals.com