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Palm Kernel Oil

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Palm Kernel Oil

LATIN NAME: Elaeis guineensis

FAMILY: Palmaceae

ETHYMOLOGY:Guineensis is the Latinized form of Guinea, in tropical West Africa.

The Plant and its Environment
A solidly built, tall (15-30 metres, 50- 100 feet) palm, which grows wild in Nigeria, is native to West Africa, and is now grown also in other areas near the equator, (ie between 10 degrees north and 10 degrees south) for example in the East Indies and in Brazil.

The wild palm does not produce oil until approximately 15 years old, unlike the cultivated variety which yields fruit at 4 years, and is smallish when young so that climbing it is not necessary until the tree is about 12 years old. The fruit grows at the top among the fronds in bunches of about 15-18 Kg containing 700-900 palm fruits. The thin yellow to reddish skin covers the pulpy pericarp which yields palm oil; this is chiefly used for soap making, although an edible oil is now produced in modern plantation mills.

The Oil
Palm kernel oil is obtained from the kernels, taken from the cracked nuts and usually exported to and processed in Europe (this first happened in 1850):the palm kernel oil is used mainly as an edible oil, but is also used in soaps. The kernel yields an oil greatly different from that extracted from the fleshy pericarp. The ripe fruits also are expressed to yield palm oil; both oils are solid in temperate climates (Bruneton 1995). Palm oil contribute about 20% of the world oil production.

Principal constituents - Palm kernel oil

FATTY ACID %
C8:0 2.4-6.2
C!0: 2.6-5
C12:0 41-55
C14:0 14-18
C16:0 6.5-10
C18:1 12.19
C14:0 0.5-2
C16:0 41-47
C18:0 5.5-6
C18:1 36-44
C18:2 6.5-12

Therapeutic Properties and Uses
Pal kernel oil resembles coconut oil in its constituents, properties  and application. Palm oil is used with the seeds of Physostigma venenosum (Fabaceae) to kill lice (Duke 1985).

Reference:Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy & Massage: Len Price with Ian Smith & Shirley Price

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