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Tamanu  Nut Oil - Exotic  Skin Care

By Patty Donovan, citizen journalist -See all articles by this author


Over the last several months I have become increasingly interested in natural healing substances that have been used by native peoples around the world. As my own healing journey has progressed I have become convinced that there is a natural, non-toxic remedy for virtually everything that ails us. One such substance I find fascinating is Tamanu Nut Oil. It has a multitude of uses which have been confirmed by research. Tamanu nut oil has been used by the indigenous people of the Philippines and Southeast Asia for at least a few hundred years.

In the 1930s, researchers in Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands began studying this oil in hospitals after Sister Marie-Suzanne, a French nun working in Fiji, reported remarkable results using Dolno, (tamanu nut oil) topically for the neuritis (nerve inflammation) associated with leprosy. Their research showed Tamanu nut oil to be an excellent topical healing agent for skin, that it definitely had properties which relieved nerve pain and that it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Although this research goes back almost 80 years, it is only in the past 10 years that this oil has been marketed as an ingredient in cosmetic and first aid applications. One company using this oil is Miessence, a company which sells Certified Organic products for everything from your skin to cleaning your house.

Certified organic products not only give you an exceptional natural product but also promote sustainable farming and agriculture and fair trade. I recently tried a few of these products and they are outstanding. One Miessence product containing this oil is called "Ambrosia Essence". To quote their literature: "Ambrosia Essence is an extremely potent combination of eight highly effective herbal and flower extracts to soothe, tone, and renew the skin. Use daily to revive and restore your complexion".

The scientific name for the tree which produces this nut is Calophyllum inophyllum, meaning beautiful leaf. The tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia, growing profusely on the coastlines and inland. Although no studies have compared the oil from coastal and inland trees, Polynesian natives claim the oil from the nuts of coastal trees is more beneficial than the oil of nuts from inland trees.

At this time, producers of the oil rely on nuts from coastal trees. The oil from the Tamanu nut is quite mysterious. When removed from the inedible fruit, there is little apparent oil in the blond kernel even when pressed or ground. Yet, once the nut has been dried on a rack for a month or two, it becomes a deep chocolate brown and is covered with sticky rich oil which is easily extracted by mechanical pressing. Science has yet to discover how this transformation occurs.

Tamanu nut oil possesses the ability to promote the growth of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and growth of new skin. This process is called cicatrization. In Pacific Island folk medicine this oil is applied liberally to every kind of skin malady imaginable such as cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites, acne, psoriasis, diabetic ulcers, sunburn, dry and/or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, and herpes sores such as cold sores and genital sores. It can eliminate or greatly reduce scarring from acne, burns and other skin trauma. The Polynesian natives even use it to reduce foot and body odor.

The oil can even relieve sore throat when applied externally to the neck. It has potent pain-relieving properties and the natives have traditionally used it topically to relieve neuralgia (nerve-pain), arthritis and sciatica. The women apply it to their skin to keep it clear and blemish free and massage it into babies to prevent diaper rash and other skin eruptions. Compounds in tamanu nut oil have significant anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically thereby reducing pain and swelling associated with these conditions.

Tumanu NutsThis oil also contains several powerful bactericide/fungicide agents, which have proven effective against various pathogens which cause much mortality and morbidity today. It holds promise in the prevention of MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus), the superbug that has been in the news a lot lately because it demonstrates very good activity against Staphylococcal aureus. When compared to ampicillin and amoxicillin, the compounds in tamanu oil were at least as good. Researchers concluded that the antimicrobial and anti-fungal agents in tamanu oil could be used effectively to treat a range of infections of the skin and eyes, including ring worm. (Mahmud).

Tamanu oil demonstrates antioxidant properties, specifically inhibiting lipid peroxidation (the break down of lipids by oxidation). Cell membranes are composed of lipids; therefore, tamanu oil inhibits oxidative damage to the skin. Although the oil itself is thick and rich, it is completely absorbed by the skin leaving no oily residue or greasy feel. It has a mild and pleasing aroma and a luxurious feel making it an ideal component of lotions, creams, ointments and other cosmetics.

This information forces me to ask a question: Why, if tamanu oil is so healing, do we not see it in global use as treatment for everything from first aid creams for minor scrapes to an ointment for major burns being treated in specialized burn units? If you aren't already aware of the answer, here's the short and not-so-sweet version: Approximately 80% of pharmaceuticals are derived from plants, but they have been condensed down to one "active-ingredient" and then synthesized because a natural substance cannot be patented while the synthesized version can be. Synthesize it and patent it and the pharmaceutical companies are set to make billions of dollars of profit at the expense (financially and physically) of the consumer. Once something is taken out of its "whole" it tends to become toxic. Examples are numerous including everything from sugar to chemotherapy agents.


About the author
Patty Donovan was in a wheelchair and could only walk around her house with a cane. She was on over 20 medications. When told to "take the morphine, get in the wheelchair and learn to live with it" by a neurosurgeon, she knew her life had to change. She is now almost a fanatic when it comes to healing through theuse of "whole foods" and natural remedies.
Since that time, she has spent countless hours researching nutrition and alternative health. After spending 30 years in the allopathic health care industry in both pharmacy andas an RN, she brings a unique perspective to readers. Since committing to this new life style, she no longer uses even a cane, has gotten off over 20 medications, lost over 50lbs and returned to work.



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 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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