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What Is Tamanu Oil Good For?

Myths and Truths About Tamanu Oil, Its Uses and Benefits? 

When it comes to myths about Tamanu Oil, there’s plenty. Tamanu Oil is a natural, wild harvested, beauty oil traditionally used in cosmetic formulations to address many common skin conditions.  However, be aware of some myths that simply lack scientific evidence such as a claim that it helps with hyperpigmentation.

Tamanu Oil (scientific name is Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil. However it is also known as Tamanu Nut Oil, Calophyllum Tacamahaca Seed Oil, Kamani Oil, Bitaog Oil, Dilo Oil or Dilo Nut Oil, Nyamplung Oil, Fetau Oil, Kamanu Oil, Alexandrian Laurel Oil, Foraha Oil, Beauty Leaf Oil, Domba Oil, Undi Oil, Punna, Punnaga Oil or Punna Oil, Pinnay Oil, Poon Oil, Daok Oil, Ballnut Tree Oil or Ballnut Oil, Mu u Oil and Beach Calophyllum oil.

Research studies on Tamanu Oil reveal conclusively that it is a unique skin rejuvenating and anti-aging agent that works fast and effectively to repair skin damage by stimulating the growth of healthy, new skin cells. The remarkable skin benefits of Tamanu Oil extend to everyday skin conditions that conventional medications just can’t compete with. Tamanu Oil benefits are wide and far-reaching from acne and acne scars to burns, general scarring, skin rashes, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis through to the removal, reduction and/or prevention of age spots, stretch marks to water warts and more.

Tamanu Oil is produced from the nut kernels of the Tamanu Tree. Its scientific name is Calophyllum Inophyllum – an evergreen tree and a member of the Mangosteen Family. This tree is actually indigenous to the tropical areas of South East Asia but it especially flourishes in tropical countries such as the exotic Melanesian islands of Vanuatu. It can also be found in parts of Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand and even Southern India but be very careful about the quality of the oil as it is often lacking due to the fact that it is not 100% Tamanu Oil or even if it is, it is unlikely to match the quality of Vanuatu Tamanu Oil.

Tamanu Tree

While the Tamanu Tree can grow inland, it prefers salty, sandy soil, with the result that it tends to grow profusely near the sea. The native Melanesian people of Vanuatu claim that the best quality virgin Tamanu Oil comes from the trees that grow near coastal areas, rather than from those that grow inland.

While the tree is slow-growing, it can grow up to 30 meters in height. The trunk is usually covered in dark, cracked bark while the leaves are elongated and glossy. Small, sweet-smelling white flowers (with a yellow center) are produced twice yearly. These flowers then give way to clusters of fruit. These start out green but turn a yellowy color as they mature. Inside this thin, fleshy fruit (which is inedible) is the Tamanu Nut (sometimes called “Punnai”). The fruit is allowed to fall naturally from the tree. The pale-colored nut kernels are then laid out on racks to cure for 6-8 weeks. During this process, these kernels turn a brownish-red color and release a strong, rich oil.

The Tamanu Oil is then extracted by cold-pressing and filtration. It takes a great many nuts to produce even a small quantity of oil – in fact, four trees will generally yield approximately 20 Liters of “pure” Tamanu Oil, depending on the size and yield of the trees!

This low-yield ratio is the primary reason for the relatively high cost of Tamanu Oil. However, don’t be fooled by companies pretending to sell pure Tamanu Oil. Many of these companies may well use pure Tamanu Oil but then dilute it with other ingredients such as Olive Oil! After the round, green fruit of the Tamanu Nut Tree falls naturally to the ground it changes to a darkish color. If you crack the fruit you see a white, almost round shape of the nut kernel inside. Then as the nut cures (not, it is not dried as some claim) you see it breaking down with the oil forming and beginning to come out. This is the time to cold press the oil from the nuts.


Perhaps a better question would be – what is Tamanu Oil not good for as there are so many skin conditions this incredible,  rejuvenating agent can help relieve from aging skin, irritations, rashes, stretch marks, blemishes, pimples, burns (including radiation burns following cancer treatment), dry, itchy and scaly skin irritations to fighting more specific skin problems such as acne, acne scars, general scarring, psoriasis, eczema, brittle fingernails, toenail fungus, athletes Foot and the list goes on.

Apart from its ability to promote and speed up the healing process, this extraordinary, beauty oil also possesses antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Tamanu Oil is not to be ingested but should be applied topically (directly onto the the skin).

Hyperpigmentation and Age Spots: Sun spots or age spots are a form of pigmentation and Tamanu Oil will work to fade or even get rid of them altogether. However, sometimes the application of Tamanu Oil makes absolutely zero difference to the appearance or density of sun spots or age spots. We don’t know why so you won’t know whether it works on your sun spots or age spots until you try. Just be aware that just because it may work on some doesn’t mean it works for all age or sun spots. 

When it comes to other forms of hyperpigmentation, there is a lack of scientific evidence that Tamanu Oil is effective in addressing it.  Yes, there’s plenty of websites making big claims but nothing to really back it up.

Here is a brief summary of scientific studies on Tamanu Oil and its benefits and uses:-

  1. Tamanu Oil contains Sc Glucan which provides natural UV protection. This new, biological UV filter (with an SPF 18-22 in ophthalmic preparations) protects against sun damage and oxidative stress.  (Eur J Pharm. Sci 2007 Mar; 30 (3-4):203-10. Epub 2006 Nov 9).
  2. Soothing and protective effect on the skin (insect bites, sunburn, skin redness, inflammation) – EVIC-CEBA laboratory study June 2000 – Ih268/01.
  3. Regenerating effect on the epidermis cells, wound healing (scars, burns, cuts, cracks…) Microna laboratory feb. 2003 – N°03/0607i
  4. Improves the appearance of aged scars (1 year or older) Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists Annual Congress, Hamilton Island 2003
  5. Anti septic, anti acne (Phytochemistry. 2004 Oct; 65(20) :2789-95)
  6. Anti viral (Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 1998 Dec 15;8(24): 3475-8) & (Med Res Rev. 2000 Sep;20(5):323-49)
  7.  Anti-inflammatory (ABICH oct.2005 – REL/ 244/05/ FUNZ /ELB)
  8. Moisturising, nourishing and repairing (epidermal cells) effect on the skin (dry and damaged skin, wrinkles, anti ageing…) Microna laboratory feb.2003 – N°03/0607i)
  9. Anti-bacterial (Microna laboratory oct.2002 – °02/4500i) & (Indian J Exp Biol. 1970 Jan;8(1):39-40)
  10. Fungal inhibitor, anti-coagulative, antibiotic (Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2004 Apr;39(4):305-8) 
  11. Increases microcirculation (heavy legs, bruising…) Dermscan – april 2007 – study N°07D0458
  12. Body hygiene (body odors, infections, skin rashes, dermatitis, psoriasis…) 2004 Oct;65(20):2789-95
  13. Cancer-chemopreventive agents (anti-tumor-promoting agents). Cancer Lett. 2001 Aug 10;169(1):15-9

As you can see from the above studies, Tamanu Oil is an extraordinary product and possibly the world’s No. 1 super oil when it comes to skin care. 


Initially, it may be necessary to apply the oil 3 or 4 times a day and then drop it back as the problem begins to heal. Once applied, massage in. The oil will absorb readily into the skin, without leaving any oily residue.

Routine: Pure Tamanu Oil is both antibacterial and anti fungal. So, if you are applying Tamanu Oil as a “spot treatment” and you are away from home (at work for example) just use our Tamanu Oil 15ml Roll On (see our Tamanu Oil Products range) directly onto the skin by simply rolling it on. However, when at home, always wash your hands and the affected area with a natural, unscented soap. Wash off and pat dry. Now apply 3 or 4 drops of Tamanu Oil by gently rubbing it onto the skin. If you are wanting to treat around the eye area then we recommend that you use the Volcanic Earth Eye Cream With Tamanu Oil (see our Facial Care range) rather than straight Tamanu Oil.

SHELF LIFE: Pure 100% organic Tamanu Oil has a shelf life of at least 3 years and as high as 5 years or more. It prefers to be stored at room temperature or even a bit hotter but avoid very high temperatures as this may reduce the shelf life of the oil. 100% Tamanu Oil should have a dark green color which may vary slightly depending on the variety. However, be wary of very yellowish-colored oil as this usually means it has been tampered with either through mixing with other oils or due to some type of refining process. Tamanu Oil has a tendency to separate if temperatures get too cold. This is the fatty acid content and the separation causes the oil to thicken and turn a milky color .  Should this occur we suggest you give it a good shake and then place it in the sun or in some hot water. 

As mentioned above, Tamanu Oil DOES NOT need to be diluted with Olive Oil or any other oil. Don’t be fooled by companies who sell you Tamanu Oil (at Tamanu Oil prices) but where it’s really 50% Tamanu Oil and 50% Olive Oil! Pure or light olive oil is likely to be chemically processed whereas Tamanu Oil is “naturally derived”, so why chance contaminating it with some inferior oil?

If you are paying for 100% Tamanu Oil, make sure that is what you are actually getting. Any supplier who puts “profits” before the “benefits to the customer” is a supplier you don’t need.


Tamanu Nut Oil is made from the nuts of the Tamanu Tree and Vanuatu Tamanu Oil is regarded by many as the best in the world. Apart from the obvious Tamanu Oil benefits for skin, hair and even animals, this extraordinary product doesn’t harm the environment in any way. It is only after the fruit of the Tamanu Tree has fallen to the ground naturally that the nuts are collected and cured. Consequently, there is no detrimental impact on the trees or the environment.

Vanuatu’s low population, unique rainforests (with very little logging), extremely low carbon emissions and a large land area rich in volcanic ash (plus 2500 km of exposed coastline) are all significant factors that go a long way to explaining why consumers prefer Volcanic Earth Tamanu Oil over any other. The different islands of Vanuatu are coral islands and the Tamanu Tree flourishes well by the sea. Local Ni Vanuatu believe this is because the roots of the Tamanu Tree feed off additional nutrients found in the coral itself. It is little wonder that Vanuatu Tamanu Oil is highly sought after around the globe. 

Also of importance to Volcanic Earth is how the harvesting of the nuts produces a very real benefit to local villages disadvantaged through poverty and remoteness. Cash payments are made for all of the Tamanu nuts collected and this represents a sustainable source of income for these Ni Vanuatu people (who are mostly women) living in a largely non-cash economy. There is little paid work on the outer islands and these local people would otherwise be very strapped for cash to pay for school fees, medical care and other basic necessities.

So, when you purchase Volcanic Earth Tamanu Oil give yourself a pat on the back as you are not only helping yourself but you are also making a positive contribution to the lives of these villagers as well as to the environment.

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