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Shea Terra Organics Tamanu oil- tested and rejected

Is a Solution for:
Dry Skin
Reviewed by Marta May 14, 2010 7 Comments
All it takes is a Dr Oz mention and the world gets tamanu oil fever. Including yours truly. Summar added some Truth In Aging perspective with her post on getting behind tamanu hype. But the only way to know whether tamanu is a miracle cure all or even a humble bathroom cabinet staple is to try it out so I hit Amazon one-click for a bottle of Shea Terra Organics Tamanu Oil ($20). Since its arrival, I have been dabbing it here and applying it there. I have zoomed in on zits, scratches, mosquito bites and dry skin waving my tamanu oil like a talisman to face down demons. The demons won.

I'll concede that tamanu oil did an OK (not great) job for patches of dry flakey skin. But for everything else it did next to nothing. For the scratched bug bite on my left shoulder, I finally gave up on tamanu and reached for argan oil. Two days of argan dabbing later, I started to see an improvement.

I chose Shea Terra fairly randomly, largely on the grounds the oil was 100% organic. Perhaps there is something about this brand's oil, the way it as been processed maybe that has given me a poor introduction to tamamu. After all, the healing components are more than mere folklore. The bark, which contains tannin, is an astringent and antiseptic. The leaves contain friedelin and triterpenes, which are beneficial for the skin barrier and wound healing. Calophyllolide was isolated from the nuts and showed anti-inflammatory activity in formaldehyde-induced arthritis in rats, according to one study.

And the oil, of which 60% is obtained from the seed, contains terpenic essences, benzoic acids, small amounts of vitamin F, phospho-aminolipid, glycerides, saturated fatty acids and calophyllolids. Calophyllolids have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-blood coagulation properties. The plant even has 4-phenylcoumarins that are said to have anti-tumor activity and according to one piece of research, the oil fights leukemia cells.

Tamanu oil is supposed to be effective at smoothing wrinkles. But I have to admit that I'm too disappointed and bored with it to spend weeks putting it to the test. In the meantime, scratches and bites seem to respond more argan oil or aloe vera oil.
  • June 8, 2016

    by Darcy

    Not sure what Tamanu oil author used but Tamanu does work. Dry patches, dark marks and scars, etc. all can benefit form Tamanu. Not sure about Argan oil. I've used in on my face and it doesn't seem to penetrate like Tamanu. I guess whatever works for you then use that.

  • April 14, 2014

    by Sim

    I know Tamanu oil for scars and marks on your skin not open cuts bites etc. I use tea tree oil for that with fantastic results.

  • June 6, 2010

    by Melody

    I'm taking Nattokinase to thin my blood and was wondering if tamanu oil would be safe to use since it has anti-coagulant properties. Thanks!

  • May 20, 2010

    by Junko

    Erica, Pangea looks like a very, very, nice oil containing both Argan and Tamanu. It's a have your cake and eating it too oil. Please let us know if you try it and what you think of it. I'll be trying a differnt brand of Tamanu for the next few weeks and will post back later.

  • May 18, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Erica, the ingredients of the Pangea look pretty good and it says it suitable for oily skin. I'd give it a try if I were you.

    Ingredients: rosa canina (organic rose hip) fruit oil, argania spinosa (organic argan) oil, simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba) oil, butyrospermum parkii (liquid shea) butter, calophyllum tacamahaca (organic tamanu) oil, punica granatum (organic pomegranate) seed oil, oenothera biennis (organic evening primrose) oil, borago officinalis (organic borage) oil, squalane, mixed tocopherol (vitamin e), punica granatum (organic pomegranate) extract, camellia sinensis (organic green tea) leaf extract, rosa gallica (organic french rose) extract, pelargonium graveolens (wildcrafted himalayan geranium) oil, pelargonium graveolens (organic geranium) oil, helichrysum italicum (organic helichrysum) oil, rosa damascena (rose otto) oil * essential oil

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