Tamanu oil has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties, which may make it a potential treatment for eczema. However, further research is required.

Tamanu oil is a fatty oil extracted from the seeds of the Calophyllum inophyllum plant, also known as the tamanu tree.

Traditional uses of tamanu oil include the topical treatment of various skin conditions, and it may have potential benefits for eczema.

This article examines whether tamanu oil may have any benefits for treating eczema, its potential side effects, and how to use it.

Tamanu leaves -2Share on Pinterest
Suprabhat Dutta/Getty Images

According to a 2021 review article, research shows tamanu oil to have the following properties that may make it beneficial as a skin treatment:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • antimicrobial
  • pain relieving
  • wound healing

These qualities may make it a potential treatment for eczema. Key features of eczema include:

  • impaired skin barrier function, which allows allergens or infections to enter the skin
  • chronic inflammation
  • an imbalance or dysfunction of the skin microbiome


Researchers still require further evidence on tamanu oil’s effects on eczema-related inflammation. However, the 2021 review notes that test tube and animal studies show that tamanu oil may inhibit the inflammatory processes involved in eczema.

Tamanu oil contains calophyllolide, which researchers have found to have anti-inflammatory effects in mice studies.

Tamanu oil may have similar anti-inflammatory effects as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac (Voltaren).


The review also looked at the antimicrobial effects of tamanu oil.

Tamanu oil has antimicrobial properties, which may help protect skin barrier function and promote the skin’s immune response, which may be beneficial for people with eczema.

Wound healing and skin barrier function

Eczema may impair wound healing. Tamanu oil may help increase collagen and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) levels, which play important roles in wound repair.

Calophyllolide in tamanu oil may help support and speed up wound healing and improve skin barrier function in eczema.


The 2021 review also notes the antioxidant properties of tamanu oil. Oxidative stress may play a role in the development of eczema, as it may cause chronic inflammation.

The antioxidant effects of tamanu oil may reduce free radicals in the body and help improve eczema symptoms.

A 2019 in vivo study examined the effects of a topical treatment of levocetirizine, an antihistamine, containing tamanu oil and sericin on eczema.

The researchers found that the topical emulgel, an emulsion and gel formula, reduced skin inflammation and the frequency of scratching compared to conventional treatments.

There are no proven or scientific guidelines for using tamanu oil for eczema. Additional research, particularly on humans, is necessary to determine whether tamanu oil is an effective treatment and how best to use it.

Before trying tamanu oil as an eczema treatment, it may be best to do a patch test. To check for signs of irritation, people can apply tamanu oil to the inner arm or elbow twice daily for 7 to 10 days.

If there is no irritation, it may be suitable for use on other areas of the body. If there is irritation, rinse the oil off and avoid using it.

When using tamanu oil for skin care, a person can either apply a few drops of oil to the skin, avoiding open wounds or broken skin, or add a few drops of tamanu oil to a body scrub, hand cream, or moisturizing lotion.

People may also want to look for a skin care or eczema treatment that contains tamanu oil as a main ingredient.

How long does it take for tamanu oil to work?

There is little scientific evidence on the effects of tamanu oil on the skin with eczema, so it is unclear how long it will take to work.

Researchers still require further evidence on how best to use tamanu oil for eczema, including how effective it may be or how long it may take to work as a treatment for eczema.

There is little scientific evidence on the side effects of tamanu oil. Anecdotal reports suggest the oil has few negative side effects, although it may be slightly comedogenic, meaning it may clog pores.

There have been reports of tamanu oil use causing contact dermatitis, an allergic skin reaction that causes an itchy rash.

Tamanu oil is a tree nut oil so people who are allergic to tree nuts should not use tamanu oil.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI) advises people with tree nut allergies to avoid any products containing tree nut oils, which can include body, hair, and skin care products.

Tamanu oil is a fatty tree nut oil extracted from the seeds of the tamanu tree. It may be beneficial for various skin conditions.

The combined anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties of tamanu oil may make it a potential treatment for eczema.

Researchers require further studies on the effects of tamanu oil on eczema to know if it could be a safe and effective treatment.