Information submited: 2014-03-11 Modified: 2018-05-10 By: 1
The Tamanu tree (Known in English as Alexandrian Laurel, Tamanu, Pannay tree, Sweet Scented Calophyllum) is indigenous to tropical Southeast Asia. It is found in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, South India, Sri Lanka, and the Melanesian and Polynesian islands.

The Tamanu tree is 2 - 3m high,and has a thick trunk covered with a rough, black and cracked bark. It has elliptical, shiny and tough leaves.

Its fowers, arranged in axilliary cymes, have a sweet, Lime-like fragrance. The tree, which fowers twice a year, is said to attain a great age. The Tamanu tree blooms twice annually with fragrant, white flowers, which later yield clusters of yellow-skinned spherical fruit nut.The fruit’s pulp tastes similar to an Apple, within which a large nut is embedded. The nut contains an odorless pale kernel, called punnai in some Pacific areas.

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.

The resulting oil of Tamanu is dark green and luxurious. Though oil of Tamanu is thick and rich, once it is applied to skin it is readily and completely absorbed, leaving no oily residue. This sticky oil is cold-pressed to make a greenish yellow oil.

Based on the known activity of known constituents, it is clear that oil of Tamanu possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. The unique cicatrizing properties of Tamanu oil are not yet explained in existing scientific literature, though this activity is established and accepted.

Chemical structure:

General lipid composition:

Neutral lipids -  92%
Glycolipids - 6,4%
Phospholipids - 1,6%

Neutral lipids:

Monoacylglycerols - 1,8%
sn -1,3 - Diaglycerides - 2,4%
sn -1,2 (2,3) - Diaglycerides - 2,6%
Free fatty acids - 7,4%
Triacylglycerols - 82,3%
Sterols, sterolesters and hydrocarbons - 3,5%


Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol - 11,4%
Acylated sterolglucoside - 13,1
Monogalactosylmonoacylglycerol - 22,2%
Acylmonogalactosyldiacylglycerol - 53,3%


Phosphatidylethanolamine - 46,3%
Phosphatidylcholine - 33,8%
Phosphatidic acid - 8,1%
Phosphatidylserine - 6,1%
Lysophosphatidylcholine - 5,7%

Calophyllic acid
- a novel fatty acid found only in Tamanu oil.
Calophyllolide - a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory 4-phenyl coumarin.

Jacareubin - an antibiotic xanthone which inhibits S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis and S. typhimurium.

Calophyllum B - an antibiotic xanthone which inhibits the growth of P. aeruginosa and B. subtilis.

Calanolide A - a coumarin which inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase.

Calaustralin - a 4-phenylcoumarin.

Calophynic acid - a dihydro coumarin.


Information submited: 2014-03-11 Modified: 2018-05-10 By: 1
Before the conversion of the Polynesians to Christianity, the Tamanu trees were considered as sacred. They were planted inside the royal marae (sacred areas).

There, according to ancient beliefs, the Gods would hide in the Tamanu trees and watch human sacrifices without being seen. It was their answer to skin protection from hot sun, high humidity and ocean wind.

In Christianity idols and gods were carved out of Tamanu wood. It is still considered a sacred relic of the past.


Information submited: 2014-03-11 Modified: 2018-05-10 By: 1
Since the 1920’s oil of Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum) has been studied in hospitals and by researchers in Europe, Asia and the Pacific islands.

The oil is used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat rheumatism, skin infections, wounds, leprous nephritis, pain, eye diseases, and inflammation.

This oil is especially recommended forall kinds of burns (sunburns or chemical burns), most dermatoses, postsurgical cicatrization, certain skin allergies, acne, psoriasis,herpes, chilblains, skin cracks, diabetic sores, haemorrhoids, dry skin, insomnia, hairloss.

Incosmetology, it is used in the preparation of regenerative creams. Fiji natives use Tamanu oil for joint pains caused by arthritis and gout.

The oil is also used for relieving nerve pain from sciatica or shingles. Tamanu oil is valued for its analgesic and pain-relieving properties.

Tamanu oil possesses a unique capacity to promote the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin. Its benefits are notable for scarring, stretch marks, minor cuts and abrasions, rashes, sores.

A 57-year old woman was admitted to a hospital in Paris with a large, gangrenous ulcer on her leg that would not heal. Normally, the leg would have been amputated. The leg was treated regularly with dressings of Calophyllum, and healing took place slowly within 7 months. The wound healed completely leaving only a smooth, flat scar.

The oil is applied to suppurating wounds including  coral sores and is commonly used for rubbing on the limbs of children who are slow in learning to walk. Tamanu oil has been employed successfully to heal severe burns caused by boiling water, chemicals and X-rays.

Tamanu oil is a remarkable topical healing agent with skin healing, antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties.

These healing properties make it effective on scabies, ringworm, and athletes foot,  jock itch, eczema, and diabetic sores. It is also used on babies to prevent diaper rash and skin eruptions.

This oil is used in cases of gonorrhoea and gleet.

The anti-HIV activity of the following coumarins has also been reviewed and includes: calophyllolide, inophyllum P (Soullatrolide), inophyllum B, inophyllum C, and inophyllum E.

Antibacterial activity in vitro analysis:

At a dose of 20 mcg/disc in an agar well diffusion assay, caloxanthone A, calophynic acid, brasiliensic acid, inophylloidic acid, calophyllolide, and inophyllum C and E, were found to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus but not Vibrio anguillarium , Escherichia coli , and the yeast Candida tropicalis .

Antiviral activity in vitro analysis:

Various chemical components of C. inophyllum have been examined for antiviral activity. Inophyllums are considered novel nonnucleoside inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase. Inophyllum B was active against HIV-1 in cell culture with an IC50 of 1.4 millimoles (mM). Inophyllum P (soullatrolide) also has anti-HIV activity.

Anticancer activity (Animal studies) :

The isolation of 10 natural 4-phenylcoumarins from Calophyllum Inophyllum inhibited (except inophyllum C and calocoumarin C) Epstein-Barr virus early antigen in Raji cells. Calocoumarin-A exhibited the most potent inhibitory activity in a 2-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis test.

Side Effects:

Tamanu oil is generally considered safe when used topically, it may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.

If you experience itching, redness, irritation, or other adverse effects upon using tamanu oil, discontinue use of the product immediately.

Tamanu oil may cause hypersensitivity reactions in patients with an existing allergy to plants in the Clusiaceae family.

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


Information submited: 2014-03-11 Modified: 2018-05-10 By: 1
Suitable for dry, sensitive, problematic with acne skin types.

Tamanu oil is the traditional oil used by Polynesian women for promoting healthy, clear, blemish-free skin. This oil is a rich, luxurious, thick oil that can be applied sparingly by itself, or in combination with other oils in skin care applications where healing is needed for dry or damaged skin.

Hawaiian Tamanu nut oil hydrates dry skin and has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling of rashes, insect bites, and sunburns.

Tamanu oil also possesses significant antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal qualities.

Facial oil treatments with Tamanu could help clear acne and fade acne scars in those who have a dry, chapped facial skin type, however it is a bit too heavy for those with sensitive facial skin.

Some proponents also claim that Tamanu oil can help aid in the regeneration of skin. For this reason, Tamanu oil is thought to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.

In addition, Tamanu oil is used as an ingredient in a variety of personal-care products, including lotions, serums, and moisturizers. Tamanu is also found in many creams said to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.

Tamanu oil has been thoroughly researched, and the conclusive evidence on its ability to heal damaged skin is overwhelming. While oil of Tamanu is thick and rich, once it is applied to skin it is readily and completely absorbed. Skin feels smooth and plump, with no oily residue. It can be used directly on the skin or mixed within formulations,

It has also been used for hair and scalp conditions. Dry and dull hair (as a nourishing and moisturizing remedy).

Tamanu oil is very good for weak nails (as a strengthening, promoting growth remedy).
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