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Tamanu oil - a tropical treasure

Written by Jacqui on May 1st, 2012.      2 comments

tamanuThe tamanu tree is native to the tropical coast of Africa and southern India, and to tropical South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands. It has a long history of traditional medicinal use: The oil is applied generously to problem skin (psoriasis, acne, eczema, rashes) and to cuts and scrapes as well as fungal conditions. It is also rubbed on joints that are painful from arthritis and rheumatism. We now know that it contains substances that promote the formation of healthy new tissue, as well as substances with antimicrobial properties.

Tamanu fruit are collected for their oil-rich kernels, which are dried then cold pressed to give a rich, long-lived oil. One hundred kilos of fruit yields 5 kilos of oil. Although they begin fruiting at around 5 years old, the trees are long-lived, growing into gnarled giants.
madagascar stream
When you use tamanu oil, you are supporting the survival of these wonderful trees. The timber of the tamanu tree, marketed as calophyllum, has a similar appearance to kwila, another tropical hardwood. It is not yet grown in plantations, and most timber comes from Pacific islands. Unless strongly regulated, the forestry industry is not known for its commitment to sustainability – short-term cash flow can trump long-term considerations. So the greater the demand for tamanu oil, the greater the value of a living tree (compared with a dead tree).

For more information on the uses of tamanu oil, select Tamanu oil on our website, then click on its name.


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