New Science on Tamanu Oil
Tamanu oil continues to impress us as a carrier oil for skin care. It speeds healing, reduces inflammation, acts as a sunblock, is an anti-oxidant, and appears to have anti-cancer properties as well. Below are some abstracts from research on the oil. Good stuff!• In regards to the oils' skin healing actions,
researchers in the Journal of Cosmetic Sciences (2002 Dec;24(6):341-8.), in a report called "Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) - the African, Asian, Polynesian and Pacific Panacea" note the following:
Tamanu or Calophyllum inophyllum has been used traditionally as a local medicine for many different purposes. The oil has been proven to be vulnerary and cicatrising in its effects. The chemicals responsible for this action are calophyllolide and inophyllum in addition to other complex polyphenols.
Vulnerary simply means a skin-wound healing agent, and cicartrising means the oil will help in scar formation --- Now don't worry about scars the way we think of them: marks or bumps we don't want to have on our skin -- cicartrising implies that the oil helps the skin in "knitting" itself back together more quickly.• The oil was instigated specifically for its ability to prevent excessive UV radiation exposure.
In the European Journal of Pharmacological Science (2007 Mar;30(3-4):203-10. Epub 2006 Nov 9) researchers in Paris, France published a study called "Cytoprotective effect against UV-induced DNA damage and oxidative stress: role of new biological UV filter." Here is a summary of the abstract:
After middle age, a decrease in the production of antioxidants and anti-oxidative enzymes appears with accumulation of endogenous molecules that are phototoxic. UV radiations can induce reactive oxygen species formation, leading to various ocular diseases (Ed. note: This study has particularly to do with Tamanu's potential as being a component of essentially "sunscreen for the eye", most likely in the form of eye drops. However, this certainly does open the larger question as to the potential for tamanu oil to act as a natural sunscreen for the skin as well.).
The researchers continued: "...Calophyllum inophyllum oil thus exhibited antioxidant and cytoprotective properties, and therefore might serve, for the first time, as a natural UV filter."• Finally, the oil appears to have anti-cancer properties as well, as demonstrated in this study,
"Cancer chemopreventive agents, 4-phenylcoumarins from Calophyllum inophyllum." published in Cancer Letters. (2001 Aug 10;169(1):15-9.)
In a search for anti-tumor-promoting agents, we carried out a primary screening of ten 4-phenylcoumarins isolated from Calophyllum inophyllum L. (Guttiferae), by examining their possible inhibitory effects on Epstein--Barr virus early antigen (EBV-EA) activation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate in Raji cells. All of the compounds tested in this study showed inhibitory activity against EBV, without showing any cytotoxicity. Calocoumarin-A (5) showed more potent activity than any of the other compounds tested. Furthermore, calocoumarin-A (5) exhibited a marked inhibitory effect on (skin) tumor promotion in an in vivo two-stage carcinogenesis test. The results of the present investigation indicate that some of these 4-phenylcoumarins might be valuable as potential cancer chemo-preventive agents (anti-tumor-promoters).