Tamanu Oil

“The Nurse of the South Pacific” is a term given to the healing oil that is Tamanu.

The people of the Pacific hold its fine-grained wood in high regard for making boats, bowls, houses, and handicrafts.  The tree is also used as an ornamental tree.  However, what we are particularly interested in, is the nuts’ apparent ability to heal.

Tamanu seeds are very high in oil content but it still takes up to 100 kilograms of fruit to produce 5 kilograms of oil.

Tamanu oil has been used traditionally by Pacific Islanders for thousands of years as a topical skin remedy. The oil is used externally by Pacifica women to promote healthy, smooth skin. They also use it on their babies to prevent nappy rash.  Cosmetic companies use Tamanu Oil in the preparation of regenerative creams, for its soothing qualities and for its ability to improve skin elasticity, tone, firmness and appearance.

The fruits of the Tamanu tree are collected from the ground after they have naturally fallen from the tree, they are then cracked open, the kernel is dried in the sun, for a month or so, it turns a deep, chocolate brown, and becomes sticky with a rich oil. The oil is then extracted from the dark kernels. The harvesting practice has no negative impact on the ecology of the tree and provides a positive contribution to small village economies. This is one of the reasons that Lav Kokonas decided to bring this precious oil to New Zealand. The oil is cold pressed in a small factory in northern Vanuatu. The resulting Tamanu Oil has a rich texture and greenish-amber colour.

How to reap the benefits of this precious oil

It can take about two weeks of regular use for Tamanu Oil to start taking effect in terms of skin condition, although you may notice an improvement after a week. For scar tissue and stretch mark use, continue using the oil for 6 to 8 weeks. Tamanu Oil is also a very effective moisturiser and some people find it assists with reducing wrinkles, so you may wish to use Tamanu Oil on a daily basis.

Traditionally, Tamanu Oil has a history of topical use for relieving the pain of sciatica, shingles, neuralgia, rheumatism, and leprous neuritis. In the late 1920s, Sister Marie-Suzanne, a nun in the Society of Mary stationed in Fiji, became aware of a local topical aid for neuritis known locally as dolno , i.e., Tamanu Oil. The nun began to administer Tamanu Oil topically to leprosy victims for the relief of neuritis associated with that disease, with apparent positive results. Her reports of success with this treatment attracted the interest of scientists in France. As a result of its effective use in Fiji , Tamanu Oil was further investigated by French researchers in the 1930′s for its anti-neuralgic effects. But they quickly became more interested in Tamanu Oil’s cicatrizing (scar healing) properties, which subsequently received attention. French medical literature on Tamanu Oil reports several instances of its successful use in cases of severe skin conditions.

Tamanu Oil is for external use only – ie – onto the skin. There are some who suggest taking the oil orally, however we do not recommend this practice. As Tamanu Oil is a tropical oil, you may find during the cooler months in New Zealand, it will become cloudy and thicker. You can still use the oil in this condition, however you may wish to run the bottle under a warm tap to liquefy the Tamanu Oil before application.

To use

Apply sparingly to the affected area. You will find that a little oil goes a long way. You may wish to use up to 3 or 4 times each day, depending on what skin issue you are treating. Once healing begins, reduce to daily application. Some customers have reported success with using Tamanu Oil in conjunction with Lav Kokonas Virgin Coconut Oil to heal stubborn skin ailments.

What have other customers used Tamanu Oil for?

  • cuts and scrapes
  • insect bites
  • acne
  • sun burnt skin
  • blisters
  • nappy rash
  • athlete’s foot
  • dry and scaly skin
  • eczema and dermatitis
  • stretch marks
  • herpes sores
  • night cream
  • to reduce foot and body odour
Tamanu Tree

You can see how large the Tamanu Tree can grow. This one on Rah Island, Banks region in Vanuatu is dwarfing the buildings around it.


Tamanu Oil is extracted from tree nuts. It is strongly recommended that anyone with an allergy to nuts, or who has a life-threatening allergy to nuts should consult their doctor prior to use. If anyone using this oil experiences itching, redness, irritation, or other adverse effects. discontinue use.

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