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Tamanu Oil

Scientific Name(s): Calophyllum inophyllum L., Calophyllum tacamahaca
Common Name(s): Alexandrian laurel, Dilo, Dolno, Fetau, Kamani, Kamanu, Tamanu, Tamanu oil, Ti

Clinical Overview

Use

Tamanu oil has been used traditionally as a local medicine, and is sometimes considered the African, Asian, Polynesian, and Pacific Rim panacea. All parts of the plant (ie, bark, leaves, seeds) have been used medically as antiseptics, astringents, expectorants, diuretics, and purgatives. The oil possesses antimicrobial and antiviral activity.

Dosing

None suggested because of lack of clinical data.

Contraindications

None.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

There is a case report in scientific literature of allergic contact dermatitis from tamanu oil. Tamanu oil may cause hypersensitivity reactions in patients with an existing allergy to plants in the Clusiaceae family.

Toxicology

Review of the scientific literature reveals little to no toxicity data on the plant.

Botany

The genus Calophyllum consists of approximately 130 species. C. inophyllum is indigenous to Southeast Asia, and is also found in Southern India, Sri Lanka, and throughout the islands of Melanesia and Polynesia. It is a tropical evergreen plant that can grow up to 30 m in height. The trunk is typically thick and the bark is dark to grayish brown. The plant has dark green oval leaves and white flowers with a yellow center. The mature green fruit is inedible and is about the size of an apricot. The plant prefers salty and sandy soil.Ali 1999, Kilham 2004

History

Tamanu has been used traditionally as a local medicine, and is sometimes considered to be the African, Asian, Polynesian, and Pacific Rim panacea. All parts of the plant (bark, leaves, seeds) have been used medicinally as antiseptics, astringents, expectorants, diuretics, and purgatives. The oils of the seed and root have been used to treat wounds and scabies. In Pacific island folk medicine, the oil has been topically applied to treat various ailments such as cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and stings, abrasions, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, herpes sores, and to reduce foot and body odor. The oil has also been topically applied to the neck area to treat sore throat. The oil is valued for its analgesic and pain-relieving properties and has been used to treat neuralgia, rheumatism, and sciatica. The oil is used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat rheumatism, skin infections, wounds, leprous nephritis, pain, eye diseases, and inflammation.Ali 1999, Dweck 2002, Kilham 2004, Shen 2003

Chemistry

Xanthones isolated from the plant have antibacterial activity, and 4-phenyl coumarins obtained from its leaves may have antitumor-promoting activity. Several triterpenes, flavonoid glycosides, neoflavonoids, pyranoamentoflavone, and other bioactive compounds have been isolated from the plant. Two isomeric benzodipyranone derivatives have been isolated from the leaves.Khan 1996

The root bark contains the xanthones caloxanthone A, B, C, and D. Caloxanthone E was isolated from the root heartwood of the plant.Goh 1991, Iinuma 1995

Two epimers, inophynone and isoinophynone, were isolated from the leaves of the plant, as well as friedelin, canophyllol, and canophyllic acid.Ali 1999

Four pyranocoumarin derivatives have been isolated from the seeds of the plant, designated as inocalophyllins A (1), B (2), and their methyl esters (3, 4). Ten 4-phenylcoumarins have also been isolated from the plant.Itoigawa 2001, Shen 2003

The anti-HIV activity of the following coumarins has also been reviewed and includes: calophyllolide, inophyllum P (Soullatrolide), inophyllum B, inophyllum C, and inophyllum E.Spino 1998

Uses and Pharmacology

Review of the scientific literature reveals mostly animal studies evaluating the efficacy of tamanu oil.

Antibacterial activity

In vitro analysis

At a dose of 20 mcg/disc in an agar well diffusion assay, caloxanthone A, calophynic acid, brasiliensic acid, inophylloidic acid, calophyllolide, and inophyllum C and E, were found to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus but not Vibrio anguillarium, Escherichia coli, and the yeast Candida tropicalis.Yimdjo 2004

Antiviral activity

In vitro analysis

Various chemical components of C. inophyllum have been examined for antiviral activity. Inophyllums are considered novel nonnucleoside inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase. Inophyllum B was active against HIV-1 in cell culture with an IC50 of 1.4 millimoles (mM). Inophyllum P (soullatrolide) also has anti-HIV activity.Spino 1998, Taylor 1994

Anticancer activity

Animal studies

The isolation of 10 natural 4-phenylcoumarins from C. inophyllum inhibited (except inophyllum C and calocoumarin C) Epstein-Barr virus early antigen in Raji cells. Calocoumarin-A exhibited the most potent inhibitory activity in a 2-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis test.Itoigawa 2001

Dosing

None suggested due to lack of clinical data.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

There is a case report of allergic contact dermatitis from tamanu oil.Le Coz 2004 Tamanu oil may cause hypersensitivity reactions in patients with an existing allergy to plants in the Clusiaceae family.

Toxicology

Review of the scientific literature reveals little to no toxicity data on the plant.

References

Ali MS, Mahmud S, Perveen S, Ahmad VU, Rizwani GH. Epimers from the leaves of Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry. 1999;50:1385-1389.
Dweck AC, Meadows T. Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) - the African, Asian, Polynesian and Pacific panacea. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2002;24:341-348.18494888
Goh SH, Jantan I. A xanthone from Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry. 1991;30:366-367.
Iinuma M, Tosa H, Tanaka T, Yonemori S. Two xanthones from roots of Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry. 1995;38:725-728.
Itoigawa M, Ito C, Tan HT, et al. Cancer chemopreventive agents, 4-phenylcoumarins from Calophyllum inophyllum. Cancer Lett. 2001;169:15-19.11410320
Khan NU, Parveen N, Singh MP, et al. Two isomeric benzodipyranone derivatives from Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry. 1996;42:1181-1183.
Kilham C. Tamanu oil. A tropical topical remedy. HerbalGram. 2004;63:26-31.
Le Coz CJ. Allergic contact dermatitis from tamanu oil (Calophyllum inophyllum, Calophyllum tacamahaca). Contact Dermatitis. 2004;51(4):216-217.15500678
Shen YC, Hung MC, Wang LT, Chen CY. Inocalophyllins A, B and their methyl esters from the seeds of Calophyllum inophyllum. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2003;51:802-806.12843586
Spino C, Dodier M, Sotheeswaran S. Anti-HIV coumarins from Calophyllum seed oil. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 1998;24:3475-3478.9934455
Taylor PB, Culp JS, Debouck C, et al. Kinetic and mutational analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase inhibition by inophyllums, a novel class of non-nucleoside inhibitors. J Biol Chem. 1994;269:6325-6331.7509800
Yimdjo MC, Azebaze AG, Nkengfack AE, Meyer AM, Bodo B, Fomum ZT. Antimicrobial and cytotoxic agents from Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry. 2004;65:2789-2795.15474565

Disclaimer

This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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