Rainforest treasures; andiroba oil

andirobaöljy

Rainforest treasures; andiroba oil

26.1.2022


The introduction of the cosmetic treasures of Amazon rainforest continues. Andiroba oil is still a very unknown cosmetic raw material from Amazon area. Amazon rainforests are bursting with useful ingredients. Andiroba is one such treasure. It belongs to the mahogany family. Andiroba tree is a traditional medicinal plant. Its bark, oil and leaves have been used in ancient indigenous medicine. In this article, I will tell about the benefits of andiroba oil in cosmetics use.

andirobaöljy
Photo by Mandy Choi on Unsplash

Andiroba is a traditional tree in the Amazon rainforest

The Andiroba tree, (Carapas guianensis), is a typical tree of the Amazon rainforest. It belongs to the plants used by the indigenous people of Brazil. The greenery of Andiroba is dense and the tree is very tall. It grows riverside in tropical rainforests. Andiroba is one of those trees that is preferably logged from the rainforest into lumber. The tree belongs to the mahogany family, although it is not classified as genuine mahogany.

The popularity of Andiroba as sawn timber is due to the terpenes it contains. The tree naturally repels mold, fungi and other microbes. It is a durable wood and therefore highly sought after as a building material. Andiroba also has an insect repellent property. Pests do not thrive on andiro boards. Andiroba oil is also commonly used to make insect repellents.

Andiroba oil production

An adult tree can produce up to 120 pounds of seeds. The average output is about 50 pounds. The seeds contain 40% fat. 12 kilos of seeds are needed to make one litre of oil produced by solvent technology. If produced by mechanical cold pressing, considerably more seeds per litre of oil are needed.

Traditionally, andiroba oil is made by boiling nuts. After boiling, the nuts are fermented for 25 days. The soft core is removed from the fermented nuts. The core is left to drain for a few weeks. This naturally removes oil from the seeds without pressing. The process is completely natural. No chemicals or compression equipment is required. Such andiroba oil is rare. Andiroba oil sold for cosmetics is usually cold pressed.

Why is it important to favour andiroba oil in cosmetics?

I am writing this series of “Rainforest Treasures” for ecological and ethical reasons. Of course, we have to favour domestic products, that’s for sure. However, Amazon’s rainforests are the lungs of the world. The world’s rainforests are threatened by massive logging. Many trees are utilized as sawn timber. Once the rainforest is felled, it will be replaced by a corn field or perhaps soybeans. The destruction of a natural rainforest biotope is catastrophic for many different reasons.

If we diligently use the natural products of Amazon’s rainforests, there is no need to cut down the trees at all. The indigenous people earn their living by selling the products that the jungle produces and there will be no need to log the trees anymore. Andiroba nuts is a good example of this.

Andiroba trees have also been cultivated in rainforests, with large plantations. With this cultivation, the problems are same with the monoculture. The biodiversity of the rainforest is disappearing. Trees are exposed to pests and the crop suffers. Chemicals are needed to destroy diseases and insects. Chemicals destroy other organisms in the rainforest. The circle is ready. It is worth researching carefully that the rainforest products you buy are sustainably produced.

What is andiroba oil?

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Andiroba oil is also called crab oil although it has nothing to do with crabs. Andiroba oil is a 100% vegan product that is pressed from the nuts of the andiroba trees. The oil is rich in hard fatty acids. It is thick and slightly reminiscent of Vaseline when cooled. The oil is pale yellow in colour and very bitter. The bitterness is due to a group of terpenes called Meliacines. Andiroba oil solidifies at 25 degrees like coconut oil.

One of the Meliacines in andiroba oil is called Gedunin. Gedunin has been shown to have similar anti-malarial properties to quinine. In chemical analyses, andiroba oil has been found to be highly curative and anti-inflammatory. These properties are due to the limonoids in the oil, called andirobins.

Fatty acids from andiroba oil

Andiroba oil is rich in hard fatty acids. However, the main fatty acid in andiroba oil is oleic acid. Palmitic acid in andiroba oil is up to over 30%. It is the rich palmitic acid that makes andiroba oil very firm and thick. Stearic acid is also abundant in oil.

The main fatty acids in andiroba oil

  • Oleic acid 45-58%
  • Palmitic acid 25-32
  • Stearic acid 6-13%
  • Linoleic acid 6-14%

Comedogenic classification 2

Colour yellowish

The aroma is strong, muscular

Andiroba has numerous medicinal properties

Andiroba oil is one of the best-selling medicinal oils in the Amazon rainforest. Andiroba oil is usually mixed with honey and used internally for many ailments. Honey is included not only as a health-promoting product but also because the andiroba oil tastes very bitter. With a mixture of honey and oil, locals have always fought flu and sore throats.

Fatty and thick andiroba oil doesn’t sound very good for acne prone skin. However, local people in Amazon  have successfully used andiroba oil for acne prone skin. The oil is very antimicrobial. Therefore, it soothes inflammation well.

Andiroba oil is well absorbed into the skin. Therefore, it can affect the deepest parts of the skin. Local people have also used andiroba oil to treat bruises and sore joints. Andiroba oil is especially popular as a massage oil. It’s like made to relax sore muscles.

Benefits of Andiroba Oil in Cosmetics

Andiroba oil contains a huge number of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is a very useful oil to regenerate the skin. The nutrients in andiroba oil are especially suitable for aging skin. The oil contains ingredients that have a beneficial effect on collagen production. Andiroba oil reduces wrinkles on the skin.

Andiroba oil is worth trying for many skin problems. It has plenty of skin rejuvenating and protective effects. Please bear in mind, however, that this particular oil is very strong and contains terpenes. Terpenes can cause severe allergies, especially to people who are allergic to resins. First, test if you tolerate andiroba oil at all. If you suffer from eczema, be really careful when trying new products. Although andiroba is specifically recommended for eczema and psoriasis, I would still be careful.

Andiroba oil has been used with success in the treatment of hair and scalp. As an antimicrobial oil, andiroba oil is well suited for treating scalp problems. For example, dandruff or itching of the scalp could be cured with a serum containing andiroba oil.

Andiroba oil also supports hair follicles and stimulates blood circulation to the scalp. This will make your hair grow better.

Andiroba oil is rich in palmitoleic acid, which protects the skin from drying out as well as external factors.

What products can andiroba oil be used for?

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Photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash

First of all, Andiroba oil seems to be a specialty oil suitable for body products. However, its use range is much wider. Andiroba oil, despite its heaviness, is a relatively fast-absorbing oil. That is why it is also worth trying for facial skin and hair care.

Prepare from andiroba oil

  • Massage oils to treat sore joints and muscles
  • Night creams and protective day creams to treat aging skin
  • Creams for impure skin
  • Creams for irritated skin
  • Antimicrobial creams for foot care
  • Oil treatment serums for the scalp
  • For soap making; special care soaps

Due to its bitter taste, andiroba oil should not be included in lip products.

Try andiroba oil as an insect repellent. Andiroba oil has a strong, musky scent that repels insects. If mosquitoes are being fought in the Amazon rainforest, why not in other areas as well. Did you know that neem oil is also quite an effective mosquito repellent?

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