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

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 22, 2023.

Clinical Overview


Tamanu oil has been used in traditional medicine for various purposes in several regions and countries. The oil possesses antimicrobial and antiviral activities and demonstrates wound healing potential. However, clinical trial data are lacking to recommend use for any indication.


Clinical trial data are lacking to provide tamanu dosing recommendations.




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


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

A case report exists of allergic contact dermatitis from tamanu oil. Tamanu oil may cause hypersensitivity reactions in patients with allergy to plants in the Clusiaceae family.


No data.

Scientific Family


The genus Calophyllum comprises approximately 130 species. C. inophyllum is indigenous to Southeast Asia and is also found in southern India, in Sri Lanka, and throughout the islands of Melanesia and Polynesia. C. inophyllum 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 grows best in salty and sandy soil.Ali 1999, Kilham 2004


Tamanu has been used in traditional medicine and is sometimes characterized as the African, Asian, Polynesian, and Pacific Rim panacea. All parts of the plant (bark, leaves, and seeds) have been used medicinally for antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, diuretic, and purgative purposes. The oils of the seed and root have been used to treat wounds and scabies. In Pacific Island folk medicine, the oil has been applied topically 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, and herpes sores, as well as 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 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 Recently, tamanu oil has been investigated for use as a biofuel mixture in diesel engines.Rappan 2015


Xanthones isolated from the C. inophyllum plant have antibacterial activity, and 4-phenyl coumarins obtained from the 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, Li 2010

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

Two epimers, inophynone and isoinophynone, have been isolated from the leaves of C. inophyllum, as well as friedelin, canophyllol, and canophyllic acid.Ali 1999

Four pyranocoumarin derivatives have been isolated from the seeds of C. inophyllum, designated as inocalophyllins A (1) and 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 been investigated: calophyllolide, inophyllum P (Soullatrolide), inophyllum B, inophyllum C, and inophyllum E.Spino 1998

Uses and Pharmacology

Suggested pharmacologic effects of tamanu oil are largely based on evidence from animal and in vitro studies.

Antibacterial activity

In vitro data

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, or the yeast Candida tropicalis.Yimdjo 2004 Another study demonstrated activity against S. aureus but not against Pseudomonas aeruginosa.Tran 2018 In keratinocyte cells, lower concentrations of the oil were reportedly required to inhibit bacterial growth and promote wound healing than those required for cytotoxic effects.Léguillier 2015

Anticancer activity

Animal and in vitro data

In a screening of 10 natural 4-phenylcoumarins isolated from C. inophyllum, inhibitory activity (except of inophyllum C and calocoumarin C) was demonstrated against 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 Triterpenoids and a friedelane-type triterpene demonstrated in vitro activity against human leukemia HL-60 cells.Li 2010 Additionally, C. inophyllum fruit extract induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells.Shanmugapriya 2017

Antiviral activity

In vitro data

Various chemical components of C. inophyllum have been examined for antiviral activity. Inophyllums are considered novel nonnucleoside inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Inophyllum B was active against HIV-1 in cell culture, with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 1.4 mmol. Inophyllum P (soullatrolide) has also shown anti-HIV activity.Spino 1998, Taylor 1994

Wound healing

Animal and in vitro data

In vitro and rodent studies have investigated wound-healing properties of tamanu oil and of a calophyllolide compound isolated from C. inophyllum seeds. Increased proliferation of collagen and fibroblasts has been demonstrated in vitro,Zalewski 2019 and attenuation of inflammatory cytokines has been shown in a mouse model.Nguyen 2017 In rodent experiments, wound closure was accelerated and recovery of normal epidermis and dermis structure was greater with tamanu oil compared with the comparator.Léguillier 2015, Nguyen 2017, Tran 2018 One study suggests that lower concentrations of the oil are required to promote healing and exert bacteriostatic activity than those needed for cytotoxic effects.Léguillier 2015


Clinical trial data are lacking to provide tamanu dosing recommendations.

Pregnancy / Lactation

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


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

A case report exists of allergic contact dermatitis from tamanu oil.Le Coz 2004 Tamanu oil may cause hypersensitivity reactions in patients with allergy to plants in the Clusiaceae family.


Review of the scientific literature reveals little to no toxicity data for tamanu.



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.

More about tamanu oil topical

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(6):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(1):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
Léguillier T, Lecsö-Bornet M, Lémus C, et al. The wound healing and antibacterial activity of five ethnomedical Calophyllum inophyllum oils: an alternative therapeutic strategy to treat infected wounds. PLoS One. 2015;10(9):e0138602. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.013860226406588
Li YZ, Li ZL, Yin SL, et al. Triterpenoids from Calophyllum inophyllum and their growth inhibitory effects on human leukemia HL-60 cells. Fitoterapia. 2010;81(6):586-589. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2010.02.00520188156
Nguyen VL, Truong CT, Nguyen BCQ, et al. Anti-inflammatory and wound healing activities of calophyllolide isolated from Calophyllum inophyllum Linn. PLoS One. 2017;12(10):e0185674. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.018567429020015
Rappan R, Udhayakumar K, Suresh V, Anbuselvan D. Performance and emission characteristic of a variable compression ratio direct injection diesel engine using tamanu oil. J Chem Pharmaceu Sci. 2015;7:44-47.
Shanmugapriya, Chen Y, Kanwar JR, Sasidharan S. Anticancer activity and molecular mechanism of polyphenol rich Calophyllum inophyllum fruit extract in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2017;69(8):1308-1324. doi:10.1080/01635581.2017.136794429068745
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(7):802-806.12843586
Spino C, Dodier M, Sotheeswaran S. Anti-HIV coumarins from Calophyllum seed oil. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 1998;8(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(9):6325-6331.7509800
Tran GB, Le NT, Dam SM. Potential use of essential oil isolated from Cleistocalyx operculatus leaves as a topical dermatological agent for treatment of burn wound. Dermatol Res Pract. 2018;2018:2730169. doi:10.1155/2018/273016929692805
Yimdjo MC, Azebaze AG, Nkengfack AE, Meyer AM, Bodo B, Fomum ZT. Antimicrobial and cytotoxic agents from Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry. 2004;65(20):2789-2795.15474565
Zalewski J, Mączyńska J, Bieżuńska-Kusiak K, et al. Calophyllum inophyllum in vaginitis treatment: stimulated by electroporation with an in vitro approach. Adv Clin Exp Med. 2019;28(2):223-228. doi:10.17219/acem/8704530465335

Further information

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