Skin Benefits of Tamanu Oil


Tamanu Oil (a/k/a Foraha Oil in Africa) is a powerful healing oil. The botanical name is Calophyllum inophyllum and means “beautiful leaf” in Greek. Tamanu is a member of the Guttiferae family – which also includes the popular mangosteen.

The Tamanu tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia, but is profuse in Polynesia, where it is known as “Ati”, a sacred gift of nature. The slow-growing evergreen tree with large twisted branches grows from 25 to 65 feet in height, has dark green oval leaves and small white flowers with yellow centers with a sweet perfume. It thrives in the salty, sandy soil of coastal areas. Today it is widely cultivated in all tropical regions of the world.


The fruit of the tree, about the size of an apricot, has a good flavor similar to an apple.


It has a thin flesh and large spherical nut hull inside with a thin shell concealing a pale yellow kernel. Tamanu oil does not exist in the fruit when it falls from the tree but forms progressively during the drying period. The process from harvesting to production is quite time consuming which makes this oil a bit more pricey than others. Once dried, the oil is extracted from the nuts by cold-pressing and filtration.


Tamanu Oil possesses a unique capacity to promote the formation of new tissue (“cicatrizing”), which accelerates wound healing and the growth of healthy skin.
In the late 1920’s, a Fiji Nun named Sister Marie-Suzanne, administered Tamanu oil topically to leprosy victims for the relief of neuritis with good results.

It’s aroma is light, slightly sweet and nutty but the texture of the oil is thick and rich with a yellowish-dark green color similar to olive oil. It is readily absorbed into the skin with no oily residue.

Before its commercial use today, it was widely used by Polynesian woman for promoting healthy, blemish free skin, used on babies to prevent diaper rash, as well as skin eruptions. Due to its cicatrizing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is suitable for general use on a broad range of topical conditions. Here’s just a few of Tamanu oil uses :

Applied liberally to cuts, scrapes, scars, burns, sunburn, bruises, insect bites/stings, acne, psoriasis, herpes, fungal infections, diabetic sores, blisters, eczema, and shingles.

It contains many beneficial properties such as calophyllolide, a substance known for its anti-inflammatory properties and delta-tototrienol, a form of Vitamin E.

For dry skin, it is moisturizing and quite beneficial when massaged into the skin to help relieve neuralgia, rheumatism and sciatica. While it can be applied undiluted to the skin, the oil is every bit as effective if diluted by 50% with either coconut oil or another topical oil with no loss of its effectiveness. Can also be healing in lip balms and lotion bars at 5%. Used in many topical cosmetic and scar preparations. At Arlys, we also utilize this amazing and unique oil in our White Feather “Nurture” Restorative Body Oil.

Remember – People allergic to nuts should not use any nut-based oils.

‘til next time,


About Aromatherapy Contessa

I love creating aromatic blends with essential oils whether for my Arlys Naturals product lines, for fun, or for customer special orders. I'm just drawn into the veil of mystery that nature has provided through these living plants, not just in their aromatic properties, but also their natural healing properties.
This entry was posted in Aches and Pains, Carrier Oils, Essential Oils A-L, Essential Oils K-Z, For the Feet, General, Massage Oils, Skin Care. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s