What is Andiroba Oil?
Are you looking for a natural treatment for your dry skin, acne or wrinkles? You may be after a natural treatment for your muscle pains or arthritis. If that is the case, then a little known oil called Andiroba oil may be the answer to many of your ills.
If you do not know much about this healing oil then let us start with a brief explanation.
Andiroba oil is derived from the seeds of a tree native to South America called the Andiroba tree. The tree is also sometimes known as Crabwood and Candiroba and has the botanical name of Carapa guianensis. While it is abundant in many Amazonian areas including Brazil and Peru, the tree also thrives in parts of Africa.
The extraction process of this oil is long and gradual. The Andiroba seeds are found in the tree’s nuts which are first boiled and then allowed to ferment for around 25 days. After the necessary fermentation period, the pulpy insides of the nut are removed then left outside for several weeks in order to let the oil extract naturally.
No chemicals are added to this oil during the production process. This ensures that the oil is 100% natural and organic. The resultant oil contains various natural ingredients which are incredibly beneficial to both the skin and the muscles.
Not only does andiroba oil work on the body but it is also an effective insect repellent. I am currently writing this article at dusk in Northern Thailand surrounded by nasty mosquitoes so I am more than open to any information about potential repellents that eschew the use of chemicals.
Medicinal Properties and Chemical Constituents
Andiroba oil has various medicinal properties including astringent, anti-inflammatory and vulnerary activities.
It contains a number of medicinal compound and acids including andirobin, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid and many others. It is also high in Vitamins A, C and E which work as natural antioxidants on the skin.
Traditional Uses of Androba Oil
Andiroba has been traditionally used for many years because of its high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and its well known anti-inflammatory effects.
It has been variously used to promote skin healing after injury and to promote the growth of new skin cells. It is considered to be an effective treatment for several chronic skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis as well as blemishes like wrinkles and age spots. Andiroba oil is also widely used as a massage oil to help treat arthritis, rheumatism and other muscle pain.
In the Amazon, the locals have also used the bark from the tree to help reduce fevers and inhibit parasitic worms. They have also been known to use it to treat insect bites, ulcers and repel the multitude of insects that live in the area.
The local inhabitants of the Amazon area use the oil to make a therapeutic type of soap which is applied to combat many skin diseases. The indigenous people of the Northwest Amazon brew the tree’s bark and occasionally the leaves to make a tea with vermifugal and fecrifugal properties. The tea is applied topically in the form of a topical wash to treat various skin issues, wounds and ulcers. A similar infusion is also used by some of the indigenous tribes to treat and repel parasites.
Native Americans have also long applied the oil to their skin to treat wounds and help them to heal and as an emollient to soothe rashes on the skin. Its anti-inflammatory nature makes this oil perfect for a whole host of skin complaints.
Potential Uses of Andiroba Oil
There is good reason why this oil has been used for so long by the natives of South America. There are also plenty of modern experiments that lend credence to its use for the skin. Listed below are several of the most common uses of the oil.
1) Andiroba Oil For The Skin
This wonderfully emollient oil can be used on the skin for a variety of purposes. It can be used to moisturize the skin and is especially effective on dry or cracked skin. It penetrates through the skin very easily and is an excellent choice of carrier oil to use with some of your favorite essential oils.
The oil is also rich in fatty acids and vitamins that work as antioxidants which help protect the skin and can even help undo the damage caused by free radicals. You can use andiroba oil to diminish the appearance of age spots, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Andiroba oil is actually used as an ingredient in many commercial anti-aging products including Oil of olay and Aveda.
Not only does andiroba oil help for cosmetic reasons, it can also be used to treat some more serious chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Andiroba oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the irritation and redness common with these conditions.
2) Andiroba Oil For The Muscles
Andiroba oil has traditionally been used by the Amazonians as a warm massage oil to help treat muscular aches and joint pains. By all accounts, the Brazilian national soccer team use andiroba after every match to relax their muscles.
Andiroba oil is very high in beneficial, healthy omega 3 fatty acids and when applied to the skin, these acids are quickly absorbed and immediately circulated in the direction of the ache or pain. Because these acids are anti inflammatory in nature, they can get to work on the muscles and restrict further swelling and pain. As well as reducing inflammation, the oil helps promote more effective circulation to the muscles which improves mobility and decreases discomfort.
If you find that your legs are aching after a ling day on the feet or a heavy exercise session or if you suffer from the pains of rheumatism and arthritis, why not give yourself a massage with andiroba oil. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for an even more dramatic effect.
3) Andiroba Oil for The Hair
Andiroba oil contains many beneficial compounds and nutrients. It is actually made up of over 60% essential fatty acids which are known to help promote natural and healthy hair. Andiroba oil can also be applied to damaged, dry and curly hair to help stimulate healthy hair growth. When applied to your scalp, andiroba oil can stimulate the flow of blood to the scalp which will result in healthier hair growth in the long run.
4) As an Insect Repellent
Andiroba has traditionally been used to keep unwanted insects away from your skin. It has also been used to help remove ticks from the skin. There have been several studies into the ability of andiroba oil to keep mosquitoes at bay. One study published in 2004 compared the effects of the oil with DEET which is the most effective mosquito repellent known.
While andiroba oil was only around 50% as effective as DEET, it is also far more natural and contains none of the dangerous chemicals that DEET contains. (1)
5) Other Potential Benefits
Apart form its topical uses, there are several other potential benefits of the oil. It is sometimes gargled to help treat sore throats and may even work as a cough remedy. Andiroba oil may also be antibacterial in nature and it is sometimes used to treat earache and infection by squeezing a few drops directly into the ear.
How To Use Andiroba Oil
You can safely apply andiroba oil directly to your skin several times each day without worrying about any side effects. It can be applied simply to moisturize the skin or to help treat more severe skin complaints like eczema. Warm up the oil and use it as a massage oil to help treat muscular aches and pains. For a sore throat, add 2 ml to a warm glass of water and gargle twice a day.