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Essential Oils

Tamanu Oil – A Restorative Beauty Leaf Carrier Oil

Essential oils can be great skin care and massage products. However, many essential oils are not safe to apply directly to your skin. If you want to enjoy the benefits of essential oils you will need to mix them with a carrier oil. Tamanu oil is a little known, but incredibly restorative carrier oil that can be used in a range of applications.

tamanu oil History of Tamanu Carrier Oil

Tamanu oil is made from the pressed kernels of fruit from the Tamanu tree. It is also called 'beauty leaf oil' and 'green gold', and it is a great restorative oil with a long history. In Polynesian culture, the oils were used to promote tissue repair and circulation. More recently, in the 1900s, French scientists documented the pain-relieving properties of the leaf. 1

Chemical Composition

Tamanu oil is rich in both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, including capric acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, stearic acid, caprylic acid, arachidic acid, palmitic acid, behenic acid, and lignoceric acid as the main saturated fatty acids, with alpha linoleic acid, oleic acid, and EPA being among the unsaturated fatty acids. 2

Uses of Tamanu Carrier Oil

Tamanu oil is a good antioxidant, antimicrobial agent, and moisturizer and it has a wide range of uses, including:

Treats Acne Tamanu oil

The fatty acids in Tamanu oil can help to soothe the skin and reduce the appearance of acne. 3 These effects can be boosted by making an essential oil blend with other skin-friendly essential oils such as tea tree, to kill off the bacteria that may be promoting the appearance of spots and blemishes.

Reduces the Appearance of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks occur when the skin is forced to grow more quickly than normal. They typically occur as a result of puberty-related growth spurts or during pregnancy. Over time, stretch marks will normally fade but it is not uncommon for marks to be left behind. There is a large market for products to treat stretch marks, but evidence for how effective those commercial products are is limited. 4 There is some evidence to suggest that treating stretch marks with moisturizing oils can be an effective non-invasive option. 5

Tamanu oil Soothes Rosacea

Rosacea is a condition characterized by extreme redness of the skin, from enlarged or broken blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Certain fatty acids can be helpful for reducing the thinness of the skin and alleviating the symptoms of rosacea because fatty acids are important components of your skin. 6

Reduces pain from Arthritis

Studies show that a diet including unsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in the tamanu carrier oil, can help with the pain of arthritis. 7 Using such oils in a massage could also help to reduce arthritic pain, because of the therapeutic action of the massage, which will improve circulation and help to encourage the muscles to relax. Even self-massage has been found to be helpful in reducing pain, although it has not been found to help improve range of motion in the affected joint.

Essential Oils that Go With Tamanu Carrier Oil  width=

Tamanu carrier oil can pair well with a range of oils. If mixed with lavender and tea tree it makes a good topical treatment for skin infections. Clary sage, bergamot, and lavender are all good options for massage oils. Tamanu carrier oil has a clear and nutty aroma, so it is a good idea to mix it with slightly stronger scents so that the scent of the essential oil carries through. The oil is quite thick and viscous, which means it is a good massage oil in its own right. Consider mixing with coconut oil to make a thicker 'butter' or with a thinner carrier oil to make a cleansing product, makeup remover, or perfume.

Safety and Warnings

Tamanu oil is generally well tolerated by most people, however, there is always some risk of an allergic reaction. It is a good idea to perform a patch test with a small amount of any new carrier oil, or any new essential oil blend, before using it fully. Apply a small amount of the oil to the inside of your arm and leave it covered for several hours. If you experience itching, soreness or redness, wash the oil off and do not use it again. If you experience no side effects then it is likely that the oil is safe for you to keep using.

Tamanu oil can be used as a carrier oil to dilute other essential oil blends. If you are planning to do this, then remember that essential oil dilutions do not need a lot of the active ingredient at all. Most blends for adults are at about 2 or 2.5%. Some essential oils can be used when made up to much stronger dilutions, such as 10%, but this is unusual. With only a few exceptions, essential oils should not be applied directly to your skin. There is the risk of allergic reactions, irritation, and photosensitivity when oils are applied directly to your skin. A two percent dilution is 2-3 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of the carrier oil.

If you are making an essential oil blend for a child, then the blend should be much weaker, typically 0.5%. Not all essential oils are safe for use on children, so discuss your plans with the child's physician before giving them any essential oils and if you do decide to give them some, make sure that the dilution is mild and that the oil is given to them only occasionally. Store the essential oils out of reach of the child, because some essential oils can be very dangerous if ingested. 8


Tamanu oil is an under-appreciated but versatile oil. If you dislike some of the stronger aromas of other carrier oils, then why not give it a try? The oil is easy to work with and makes a good addition to any dedicated essential oil lover's aromatherapy toolkit.

PhotoCredits: TaniaKhalazi/, RomarioIen/, Artmim/, P00NG PEED/, Sylvie Lebchek/

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