Kukui nut oil is a liquid extracted from the seed of the kukui nut, or candlenut, tree. A transparent oil with low viscosity, it is purported to yield dozens of health benefits. Some of these include soothing chapped skin, alleviating fevers, and inducing a laxative effect.
Also known as the Indian walnut, Varnish, or Kemiri tree, the kukui nut tree is the official state tree of Hawaii. Hawaiian natives have used sweet oil to heal acne and to soothe a variety of burns. Sunburn is the most common affliction that can be assuaged by the oil. Windburn, heat induced burns, and radiation burns may all be remedied to some extent by kukui nut oil as well.
In traditional Hawaiian culture, babies were anointed with the oil to protect them from elements of nature, such as salt and sun. Kukui nut oil has been used as a massage oil for members of royalty in the state. Wounds, scars, psoriasis, lesions, dry scalp, and skin irritations in general have all been treated with the oil.
The essential oil is a popular solution for these needs as it glides on smoothly, without leaving an oily film or greasy residue behind. A remedy that is rapidly absorbed into deep tissue, it can leave rough and dry skin with a smooth texture. It has been used to moisturize all kinds of skin types, including dry, damaged, and mature skin. Most people with sensitive skin may be able to benefit from the oil as well.
Made up of a variety of antioxidants and vitamins, kukui nut oil can help protect and hydrate skin. Vitamins C, A, and E are all present within the liquid. It is also high in linoleic acid, a fatty acid beneficial to skin care.
With such a high oil content, kukui nut seeds are often used as candles. Hawaiians sometimes remove the oil from the seeds themselves in order to burn it in a kukui hele po, or stone oil lamp. The oil has also been used for stimulating hair growth in some regions.
High temperatures can alter the product; it is advised to keep the oil at room temperature. The oil generally has a shelf life of twelve months. Before using this oil, people with nut allergies should consult a physician. Any oil can stimulate a harmful reaction if not used properly; carrier oils that dilute the essential oil are often recommended for use.