The Plant and its Environment This plant was probably brought to Hawaii by early Polynesian settlers, and it is now grown there extensively; 1995 it was named as the official state tree. The tree has pale leaves, silver grey on the underside so it is easy to distinguish from other trees growing on the lower mountain slopes, where it has adapted well to the climate and volcanic soil. The kukui fruits have a hard covering about 6 mm ( ¼ inch ) thick: inside a hard wrinkled nut (perhaps 2) and as it matures it turns progressively from white to brown black. Each tree yields about 35-45 k (75-100lb) of nuts per year.
The Oil Kukui oil is derived from the nut; it is high in linoleic and linolenic essential fatty acids.
Method of Extraction Traditionally in Hawaii the nuts were shelled by the natives and the kernels lightly roasted before pressing to produce the clear oil.
Folk-Lore and Traditional Use New born babies used to be anointed with this gentle oil to protect their skin from sun and sea.
Therapeutic Properties - External Use A penetrating oil, easily absorbed acne eczema
good protective oil for outdoor pursuits.
Cosmetic Use Used in skin care, pharmaceuticals, soaps, foods, paints etc.
Cautionary Notes Kukui nut oil has no known toxicity and is regarded as non-irritant even to the eyes.
Reference: Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy & Massage: Len Price with Ian Smith & Shirley Price