Carrier Oils For Aromatherapy



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Tamanu Oil - Calophyllum inophyllum

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Tamanu Oil - Calophyllum inophyllum 

Latin Name: Calophyllum inophyllum

Family: Clusiaceae

The Plant and its environment: Calophyllum inophyllum is from tropical south Asia and Polynesia, where the drupe-like fruit is used. It has naturalized to Hawaii and is also grown in Madagascar. It is cultivated as an ornamental tree due to its handsome leathery, glossy foliage and fragrant white flowers, and is frequently found near the ocean because of its resistance to salt air (Britannica CD 1996)

The Oil: Calophyllum oil is thick, viscous and dark grey-green to black in colour.

Methods of extraction: The oil is obtained by cold-pressing the combined fruit and seed. The following figures are based work done at the Universite d'Antananarvio (Randriambola 1984)

Folk-lore and traditional plant uses
Calophyllum is a traditional medicine in the South Pacific, where it is used for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and cicatrizant properties. The fruits are expressed to yield a pasty mass rich in triacylglycerols; the paste itself is used in several countries as a healing and analgesic agent in the treatment of burns (Brueton 1995). Formely tamanu was used to treat leprosy.

Principal Constituents

Type Based on Content - %
 saturated fatty acid units    
 C14:0  myristic acid 13
 C16:0  palmitic acid  
 Typical saturated fatty acid unit   content   22
 Monounsaturated fatty acid units    
 C18:1  oleic acid 33 
 Typical monounsaturated fatty acid unit content    
 Polyunsaturated fatty acid units     
 C18:2  linoleic acid 40-44
 C18:3  linoleic acid 0.3-1.3
 Typical polyunsaturated fatty acid   unit content   43

  • Therapeutic properties - external use
    can help with various problems of the hair and scalp
    eczema, psoriasis
    facial neuralgia
    a combination of tamanu vegetable oil and Ravensara aromatica essential oil has been used successfully as a treatment for shingles (Herpes zoster) (Penoel 1981)
    effective for shingles (Cadwallader 1997, Keville & Green 1995)
    stimulates phagocytosis (Schnaubelt 1994)
    claimed to have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties (Anon 1997) which make it useful in cases of sciatica and rheumatism; it is rubefacient (Quisumbing 1951)
    non-irritant to mucous membranes and so can be used on anal fissures, for vaginitis and on cracked nipples.

Cautionary notes
As far as is known, Calophyllum inophyllum has no contraindications.

Reference:Carrier Oils For Aromatherapy & Massage: Len Price with ian Smith & Shirley Price

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