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Calophyllum Inophyllum
(Tamanu Oil)

Tamanu leaves and fruit A healing tradition
Tamanu Oil, extracted from the fruit of Calophyllum Inophyllum is renowned for its remarkable healing properties. It has been shown to greatly aid cicatrization of wounds, including severe cuts and burns, while acting as an effective germicide to kill or prevent infection. It has long been used as a traditional medicine in the Polynesian Islands and its benefits and versatility are now increasingly known and accepted in the modern world.

A surprising oil Stages in production
Hundreds of species of Calophyllum, the Tamanu tree, grow throughout the Pacific region but it is Callophyllum Inophyllum Taitensis, specific to the Polynesian Islands, that is best regarded for its theraputic qualities.

The tree grows to 10-15 metres, producing big twisted branches from around 2-3 metres. Its produces fruits, 3-4cm in diameter, in small bunches. The fruit is a green to yellow colour when ripe and has a good flavour similar to Apple. Inside each fruit is a smooth spherical nut with a thin shell concealing a pale yellow kernel.

The harvested fruits are slightly crushed to safely extract the nuts which are then sun-dried in thin layers on outdoor drying racks over a period of around eight weeks. During this time, the nuts turn brown and lose about a third of their original weight. Inside, their germinating power disappears and their oil content becomes very high. This is unlike most vegetable oils which are present in the ripened fruit; Tamanu Oil does not exist in the fruit when it falls from the tree but forms progressively during the drying period.

Once dried, the oil is extracted from the nuts by cold-pressing and filtration. Around 5kg of cold pressed oil is produced for every 100kg of fruit, the typical yield of an adult tree.

Practical uses
Beyond its traditional use, Tamanu Oil has been in varied use since the late 1930s

The Fijiian missionary Sister Mary Suzanne developed an ethyl ether of the oil as an intra-muscular injection to relieve the pain and symptoms of leprous neuritis. This treatment, also applied to sciatica and shingles, became common in the region in the Second World War and remained standard practice for many years after.

The oil is now perhaps best known a dressing to help serious wounds heal well, after accidents, illness or surgical procedures. It has also been used to treat diabetic sores, psoriasis, herpes and hemorroids. However, it can easily and effectively be applied to a whole variety of everyday situations...

Face washing To cure nappy rash After shaving
For insect stings To heal cuts and grazes To treat athlete's foot
To combat head lice To treat ingrowing or infected nails To heal blisters
To relieve sore throats To eliminate dandruff To fight acne
To prevent body odours To treat burns To relieve sunburn
On dry or scaly skin To relieve sprains or strained muscles To treat chilblains

Technical Specifications

Major components -
Average composition of fatty acids (%)
Oleic acid (C18:1) 49.4%
Linoleic acid (C18:2) 21.3%
Palmitic acid (C16) 14.7%
Stearic acid (C18) 12.66%
Eicosanoic acid (C20) 0.94%
Eicosenoic acid (C20:1) 0.72%
Linolenic acid (C18:3) 0.28%

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