Dr Michele Sayball N.D. Talks About Tamanu

Plant Name: Tamanu Tree

Latin: Calophyllum inophyllum

Parts used: nut of the tree’s fruit are cold pressed into oil

Actions: Topical analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant

Uses: Acne, psoriasis, especially large scale psoriasis, with friction massage of sciatica and rheumatic joints, sunburn or wounds, stretch marks, postpartum perineum, diaper rash, healing damaged skin and rejuvinating dry hair.

Constituents: slightly acidic pH rich in Oleic and LInoleic fatty acids; volcanic terrain provides rich minerals for this plant

Identification: It grows up to three meters tall, with its cracked, black bark symbolic of its use for healing cracked or dis-eased skin. and elliptical, shiny leaves. Twice annually in its tropical climate, the Tamanu tree produces fragrant, white, fragrant blooms. From these flowers come clusters of green skinned spherical fruit that turns yellow and then brown as it dries, then naturally falls off the branch. The dried fruit is collected and its inner nut is left out to dry for two months out in the sun. It is cold pressed to extract only a few drops of oil per nut. This process of cold pressing gives the oil it’s best value, as it retains all the good nutrients. An entire tree to produces only 5 liters of Tamanu oil two times annually.

Uses in Ethnobotanical history:

Healers of Southeast Asia; Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, South India, Sri Lanka, and the Melanesian and Polynesian islands have used this amazing herbal medicine for treating aging skin, for oily skin, acute acne and acne scarring, scars and stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, age spots, wounds and topical ulcers, burns and sunburn, as an anti-inflammatory friction massage for sciatica, muscular pain, rheumatism, and neuralgia.


Dr Michele Sayball became an herbalist, mother, midwife and naturopathic physician, in that order.  She specializes in chronic diseases and works at the Sophia Health Institute in WA.
Michele Sayball, ND, CPM, LM, LMP
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