< Back to Newsletters

Tamanu Seed

Tamanu Seed/Calophyllum

Dear Friends,

Up till quite recently my entire focus has been on offering essential oils, absolutes, traditional attars and CO2 extracts. In the coming months I will be offering a range of fixed/carrier oils for those of you who use them in compounding your delectable products for personal use or for your customers. Just last week I procured a first consignment of Calophyllum inophyllum oil from Africa which you may enjoy exploring. Kindly note that the information provided is selected for your education and enjoyment.

Etymology The name Calophyllum inophyllum means "beautiful leaf," from the Greek words, Kalos-beautifulÑand phullon-leaf.

Plant description
The tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia, but is profuse in Polynesia, where it is traditionally known as Ati. Tamanu grows up to 25 or even 30 meters in height, with long, spreading limbs. The tree trunk is typically thick, with dark, cracked bark. The tamanu branches are covered with shiny, dark-green oval leaves and small white flowers with yellow centers. The blossoms give off a delightful, sweet perfume. The fruit of the tree, about the size of an apricot, has a thin flesh and a large nut hull inside. http://www.healthwellexchange.com/manzone/12_00/supplier/tamanu.cfm
images of different parts of plant


Components of Tamanu Oil
General Lipid Composition
Neutral lipids
92% Glycolipids
6.4% Phospholipids
1.6% Neutral Lipids
1.8% sn -1,3 ? Diaglycerides
2.4% sn -1,2 (2,3) ? Diaglycerides
2.6% Free fatty acids
7.4% Triacylglycerols
82.3% Sterols, sterolesters and hydrocarbons
3.5% Glycolipids Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol
11.4% Acylated sterolglucoside
13.1 Monogalactosylmonoacylglycerol
22.2% Acylmonogalactosyldiacylglycerol
53.3% Phospholipids Phosphatidylethanolamine
46.3% Phosphatidylcholine
33.8% Phosphatidic acid
8.1% Phosphatidylserine
6.1% Lysophosphatidylcholine
Calophyllic acid-a novel fatty acid found only in tamanu oil.
Calophyllolide-a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory 4-phenyl coumarin. 6-desoxyjacareubin-an antibiotic xanthone that inhibits S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis, and S. typhimurium, and K. pneumoniae. Jacareubin-an antibiotic xanthone that inhibits S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis, and S. typhimurium.
Calophyllum B-an antibiotic xanthone that inhibits the growth of P. aeruginosa and B. subtilis.
Calanolide A-a coumarin that inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase.
Costatolide-a coumarin that inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase.
Calaustralin-a 4-phenylcoumarin.
Calophynic acid-a dihydro coumarin.


Calophyllum as a Flower Essence
Hawaiian name: Kamani Botanical name: Calophyllum inophyllum Common name: ...
Identity: A valued hardwood tree held sacred to the Polynesians, which bears sweetly fragrant clusters of white blossoms.
Flower Essence Properties: To protect the sanctity and integrity of a place from negative energies (use in spray bottle or bowl of water). Also heals trauma and disharmony by clearing the heart center of a person.

Uses: The reddish-brown timber is hard and straight, thus valued for making boat masts (Malaysia). It is also made into planks. The beautiful tree is planted as a wayside tree in Singapore. In Hawaii, it is also used in building boats. Because the timber does not smell or taste bad, it was also carved into food containers. The thick, dark green oil which exudes from the drying seeds was used as lamp fuel and to waterproof cloth ... The fruits are also used to make a brown dye. If the trunk is cut, it exudes a gum which solidifies. The fragrant flowers are used in leis (garlands).

A member of the mangosteen family with the scientific name of Calophyllum inophyllum, kamani was brought north to Hawai`i from the South Pacific islands in early migrations of Polynesian settlers. Also called Alexandrian laurel, true kamani was probably introduced by seed, which is how it is propagated. This native of the Pacific and of tropical Africa, grows slowly along sandy shores and in lowland forests. It was cultivated in villages, near houses and also in groves away from villages. When found growing in windy areas it is sometimes in a picturesque, crooked or misshapen form. True kamani is not to be confused with "false kamani", a common tropical almond that grows profusely along the shores of Hawai`i. This "kamani haole" was introduced after the first white settlers arrived, and has the scientific name of Teminalia catappa. It was planted for shade and as an ornamental, also growing from the edible seed in its corky pod that washes ashore with waves and currents. True kamani is a large attractive spreading tree up to 60 feet high, with a rounded head of dense foliage and rough grey bark. A reddish-brown hardwood is derived from the trunk. From this was carved many objects including canoes; homes; `umeke la`au, wooden containers or calabash, specifically `umeke kamani, food bowls and trays called pa kamani. As with milo and kou wood, there is no bad-tasting taste or odor in kamani wood, so it is perfect for vessels that will be contacting or containing food. The leaves of kamani are large, stiff, shiny, leathery and oblong with a blunt tip. They are 3-8 inches long, arranged opposite each other and have closely placed fine parallel veins running from a prominent raised yellow-green midrib to the leaf margin. The delightfully fragrant (when new) flowers are small, 1 inch wide, and white with 4-8 petals. They smell like orange blossoms and were used to give fragrance to kapa cloth, and also for lei making. They are waxy and showy with golden yellow stamens and a pink pistil, and grow in clusters of a dozen or so flowers found hanging from a long stalk. The fruit begins pinkish-green, rounds out to about 2 inches long and becomes bright green. When mature, it has a thin leathery dark grey-brownish skin which covers a bony shell that holds a partly poisonous kernel or seed surrounded by a cork-like substance. A lamp oil for light was produced from the kernel and was used at times instead of kukui nut oil. The kernel is called a "punnai nut" in some areas of the Pacific, and the oil is dark, green, thick and called "dilo oil". Sometimes this oil is useful for lomi lomi, massage, especially when enhanced with coconut oil or flower fragrances. The oil may have been useful in waterproofing tapa cloth. In the old days an extract from the fruit was used to make a brown dye to color tapa cloth. Kamani was often planted around heiau, temples. Kamani was mentioned in early chants, and considered a sacred tree in parts of Polynesia. An especially fine grove is to be found on the island of Moloka`i.

Tamanu Seed Carrier/Fixed Oil
Physical Apperance-Very thick green pourable oil produced from cold pressed seeds of wild growing trees in Madagascar
Olfactory characteristics-rich, woody-spicy oil bouquet

nice information about the plant and its use in landscaping
calophyllum project of the Sarawak Forest Department
detailed description of Calophyllum genus
research on calophyllum