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Tamanu / Foraha Oil
Calophyllum inophyllum

If one has allergies to tree nuts, you may want to consider another carrier product.

Country: Madagascar
Extraction Method: Cold pressed nut from Tamanu Tree; unrefined and therefore is brownish-green, dark and milky. It has a rich vegetable scent, is luxuriant and moist. It smooths and softens the skin without leaving a residue because it is readily absorbed, which makes it a great carrier oil.
Aroma: Moderate nutty/vegetable scent; Susan Parker describes it as a "pungent, healing scent".
Color: "Muddy" green
Components: The fatty acid compounds are: Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Palmitic acid and stearic acid.
Approximate Shelf Life: 1 year when properly stored.

Shelf Life Suggestions:  
  • Refrigeration will extend shelf life.
  • Oxygen is a big enemy to shelf life. Keep caps snug.
  • Write the date of purchase on the label in permanent marker. 
  • Avoid contaminating the oil with fingers or pipettes inserted into the bottle. Unsterilized items such as fingers, cotton balls and pipettes that come into contact with the oils will potentially contaminate them. Pour off the quantity you will need into a smaller container or bottle and work from that.

Tamanu oil may support, aid, ease, soothe, reduce, calm, relax, promote and/or maintain healthy function:
Acne scarring
Age spots
Antibiotic alternative
Athlete's foot
Bladder infections
Body odor
Burns: heat, chemical, X-ray burns (add Helichrysum essential oil)
Diabetic sores
Diaper Rash
Diphtheria - the cause of
Dry or scaly skin
Foot odor
Infection (skin)
Insect bites
Jock itch
Lather (Susan Parker notes in soaps on contact with sea water)
Leprosy: In the 1920s, Sister Marie-Suzanne, a nun stationed in Fiji, topically applied Tamanu oil to leprosy victims with positive results.
Leprous neuritis
Madura Foot, which causes the foot’s skin to swell and split
Skin: absorbs deeply (3 layers), chapping, cracked skin, dry, eczema, inflammation, infection, insect bites/stings, nursing, scars, shingles, skin ulcers, sunburn
Sore throat (applied to the neck)
Urinary tract infections
Wound infections (add Helichrysum essential oil)

Application Suggestions
Apply topically as desired, directly on the skin undiluted is fine for most people (considered non-toxic and non-irritating). "When applied to damp skin, it has a beautiful smooth, silky, non-oily feel" (Susan Parker).

When blended with Helichrysum, it is very effective for wounds and burns. Tamanu has traditionally been used in Indonesia internally for heatstroke, but we found no specific recommendations for internal usage.

Studies done in 1998 at University of Sherbrooke in Canada, analyzed Tamanu/Foraha and determined coumarin in the oil contained two compounds, calanolide A and calanolide B, which other studies have concluded to be useful against HIV.

In another study, scientists in Japan studied several 4-phenylcoumarins taken from Foraha and concluded that calocoumarin-A produced positive results when trying to inhibit the Epstein-Barr virus.

Tamanu oil possesses significant antimicrobial qualities, as proven in antibacterial and antifungal tests.  It contains powerful bactericide and fungicide agents that defeat human and animal pathogens. There are no reports of adverse effects from topical application. Tamanu oil has compared favorably when used instead of antibiotics in alleviating many maladies.

Scientific studies have confirmed that Tamanu oil is a significant healing agent that regenerates cells of the epidermis (production of new skin tissues). Most importantly studies have found that Tamanu oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties. Therefore, scientists have confirmed the use of Tamanu oil is a natural way to treat many conditions such as; psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease and eczema and acne.

The Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists has researched Tamanu oil chemical compounds and the beneficial effects in the role of anti-ageing and improvement of scars. The Bioscience Laboratories concluded that Tamanu oil’s ability to improve the appearance of scars was significant after a nine week study was completed on six subjects with obvious scars for one year or more. The effect on the subjects scar length was reduced by an average 0.28 centimeters, and width was reduced by an average 0.12 centimeters.  

Tamanu oil was applied twice daily for nine weeks, and obvious improvement appeared after six weeks and continued throughout the nine week test. Quantitative measurements of skin color for melanin (darkness) and hemoglobin (redness) were made on the scar and surrounding normal skin areas, as well scars were rated for roughness, length and width.

Science Direct Study: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the toxicological effects of feeding the oils Calophyllum inophyllum (and others) to rats. The rats showed good physical appearance and steady weight gain, with no mortality recorded.

Source: Dweck, A.C.: Calophyllum inophyllum – Tamanu oil the African, Asian, Polynesian and Pacific Panacea. International Journal of Cosmetic Science 24, 6, 1-8 (2002).
Parker, Susan M., Power of the Seed: Your Guide to Oils for Health ? Beauty, Process Self-reliance Series, page 128-129.