Despite the lack of scientific and clinical evidence pertaining to tamanu oil’s treatment of psoriasis, many people are still trying it. But can tamanu oil really treat psoriasis?
What is Tamanu Oil
Tamanu oil is a greenish oil extract that comes from Calophyllum inophyllum nuts, which grows in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Polynesia. It can be bought from health food stores. The notion about its potential healing on people with psoriasis started years ago since those who practice traditional medicine used extracts from Calophyllum inophyllum tree to treat skin disorders and aid wound healing.
This oil has natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Apart from psoriasis, it is also used to treat sunburn, insomnia, herpes and hair loss.
With that, many believe that it can provide benefits for the skin. In fact, it is an ingredient in some cosmetic skin care products.
Can tamanu oil improve psoriasis?
Psoriasis, which is an inflammatory skin condition, has no cure. However, certain treatments can reduce inflammation and make the symptoms more manageable.
Although there are no scientific studies that tamanu oil can reduce psoriasis symptoms, there is some evidence that extracts from the Calophyllum inophyllum tree have anti-inflammatory properties.
What Research Say
Since tamanu oil is not well-known in areas outside of Southeast Asia, there are only a few research studies about it and its effects on psoriasis.
It has been traditionally used topically in Fiji to treat symptoms of arthritis. This manifest that it may be beneficial for people who live with psoriatic arthritis.
In 2017, a study was conducted which suggest that a compound called calophyllolide, found in extracts of this tree, have anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects in mice. Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2012 showed that extracts from the leaves of this tree could reduce inflammation in cells.
Although these findings are interesting, the research is only small-scale and more research is needed to prove that tamanu oil can reduce inflammation in humans.
Tamanu oil has properties as a flare-up reducer and it can also be effective at treating the symptoms of other common skin conditions. It is high in fatty acids, particularly linoleic and oleic acid. According to Health Line, diets that are high in linoleic acid like those consumed in most parts of Africa, are also associated with lower rates of psoriasis.
The oil does have many natural healing properties. It’s thick and rich texture can help hold in moisture in the skin. But still, there is no concrete proof that it can cure or reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. It is important that you talk to your doctor or dermatologist before using tamanu oil to treat psoriasis symptoms.
Who Should Avoid It
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, herbal remedies may cause harmful side effects. There is also a possibility that it could interact with other medications. It is advised to avoid herbal remedies in the following cases:
- pregnant women
- nursing moms
- those with preexisting medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
- infants and children
Others may think that it is okay to use it since its a natural oil. But it may not be right for everyone. People who are allergic to tree nuts may have an allergic reaction to it since it comes from Calophyllum inophyllum tree. It may cause skin irritation to some users. Those who find that using tamanu oil causes their inflammation to worsen or spread should avoid using it.
Other Uses of Tamanu Oil
Aside from several different types of fatty acid, tamanu oil also contain antibacterial compounds that can contribute to one’s skin health. These compounds are used in several cosmetic skin products like creams for skin regeneration, after-sun protection, soothing irritation, and anti-aging.
Tamanu oil can also be manufactured into biofuel. It has low emissions when burned similar to other plant-based oils.