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.