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
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
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.
This 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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