Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum L.)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Alexandrian laurel, ati tree, bioflavanoids, brasiliensic acid, calaustralin, calophyllolide, Calophyllum inophyllum L., calophyllic acid, calophynic acid, caloxanthone A, Clusiaceae (family), delta-tocotriene, dilo, dipyranocoumarin, dolno, fatty acids, feta'u, fetau, Foraha oil, Guttiferae (family), hydrocyanic acid, Hypericaceae (family), inocalophyllin A, inocalophyllin B, inophylloidic acid, inophyllum B, inophyllum C, inophyllum E, kamani, kamanu, linoleic fatty acid, nambagura, ndamanu, oleic fatty acid, palmitic fatty acid, poon, punnai, punnakkai, saponins, stearic fatty acid, sterols, temanu, ti, tocopherol, tocotriene, tree of a thousand virtues, triterpenes, undi, xanthone.
Tamanu is a large tropical tree native to Polynesia and Southeast Asia. In Chinese and Tahitian traditional medicine, tamanu is used for abrasions, acne, anal fissures, blisters, burns (boiling water, sun, x-rays), cuts, diabetic ulcers, dry skin, eczema, herpes sores, insect bites and stings, psoriasis, scars, sore throat, foot and body odor, and for pain from muscle, nerve, shingles, leprous neuritis (inflammation associated with leprosy), or rheumatological etiologies.
The phytochemistry of tamanu has been well established, and there are several laboratory and animal trials showing effectiveness of tamanu as an antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral agent. There is limited evidence from human clinical trials, however, about its safety or effectiveness.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Abrasions, acne, age spots, anal fissures, analgesia (inability to feel pain), anthelmintic (expels worms), antibacterial, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, athlete's foot, bed sores, blisters, burns (boiling water, sun, x-rays), cancer, cicatrizant (scar tissue formation), constipation, cuts, diabetic ulcers, diaper rash, dry skin, dysentery (severe diarrhea), eczema, eye disorders (sore eyes), eyewash, gout, hemorrhage (internal bleeding), herpes, insect bites/stings, leprosy, molluscicidal (kills mollusks), neuralgia (nerve pain), pain, psoriasis, rheumatism, ringworm, scabies, sedative, skin conditions, sore throat, stretch marks, wound care.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for tamanu. For wound healing, tamanu oil has been applied "liberally" to cuts and other wounds.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for tamanu in children, and use is not recommended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to tamanu or its constituents. Allergic dermatitis has been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
There are very few reports of tamanu and its adverse effects. Allergic dermatitis has been reported. Although not well studied in humans, tamanu may cause central nervous system depression (eg. sedation), and increase prothrombin and bleeding time. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Tamanu is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Although not well studied in humans, xanthone compounds from tamanu may potentiate ether anesthesia. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before combining therapies.
Tamanu may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Xanthone compounds from tamanu may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Tamanu may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Xanthone compounds from tamanu may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Adeyeye A. Studies on seed oils of Garcinia kola and Calophyllum inophyllum. Journal Of The Science Of Food And Agriculture 1991;57(3):441-442.
Crane S, Aurore G, Joseph H, et al. Composition of fatty acids triacylglycerols and unsaponifiable matter in Calophyllum calaba L. oil from Guadeloupe. Phytochemistry 2005;66(15):1825-1831. View Abstract
De Clercq E. Current lead natural products for the chemotherapy of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Med Res Rev 2000;20(5):323-349. View Abstract
Hemavathy J, Prabhakar JV. Lipid composition of Calophyllum inophyllum kernel. Journal Of The American Oil Chemists' Society 1990;67(12):955-957.
Itoigawa M, Ito C, Tan HT, et al. Cancer chemopreventive agents, 4-phenylcoumarins from Calophyllum inophyllum. Cancer Lett. 8-10-2001;169(1):15-19. View Abstract
Laure F, Herbette G, Faure R, et al. Structures of new secofriedelane and friedelane acids from Calophyllum inophyllum of French Polynesia. Magn Reson.Chem 2005;43(1):65-68. View Abstract
Le Coz CJ. Allergic contact dermatitis from tamanu oil (Calophyllum inophyllum, Calophyllum tacamahaca). Contact Dermatitis 2004;51(4):216-217. View Abstract
Mahmud S, Rizwani GR, Ahmad M, et al. Antimicrobial studies on fractions and pure compounds of Calophyllum inophyllum Linn. Pakistan Journal of Pharmacology 1998;15(2):13-25.
Oku H, Ueda Y, Iinuma M, Ishiguro K. Inhibitory effects of xanthones from guttiferae plants on PAF-induced hypotension in mice. Planta Med 2005;71(1):90-92. View Abstract
Patil AD, Freyer AJ, Eggleston DS, et al. The inophyllums, novel inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase isolated from the Malaysian tree, Calophyllum inophyllum Linn. J Med Chem 12-24-1993;36(26):4131-4138. View Abstract
Sekino E, Kumamoto T, Tanaka T, et al. Concise synthesis of anti-HIV-1 active (+)-inophyllum B and (+)-calanolide A by application of (-)-quinine-catalyzed intramolecular oxo-Michael addition. J Org Chem 4-16-2004;69(8):2760-2767. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
Spino C, Dodier M, Sotheeswaran S. Anti-HIV coumarins from Calophyllum seed oil. Bioorg.Med Chem Lett. 12-15-1998;8(24):3475-3478. View Abstract
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 3-4-1994;269(9):6325-6331. View Abstract
Yimdjo MC, Azebaze AG, Nkengfack AE, et al. Antimicrobial and cytotoxic agents from Calophyllum inophyllum. Phytochemistry 2004;65(20):2789-2795. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017