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What is Kukui Nut Oil?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt , Writer
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for TheHealthBoard, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.

Discussion Comments

By anon168367 — On Apr 16, 2011

If my son is allergic to nuts, will he have an allergic reaction to kukui oil?

By anon153060 — On Feb 16, 2011

i want to know if there is a big difference between candle nut and kerosene?

By closerfan12 — On Jul 27, 2010

Does anybody know if there is a big difference between regular kukui nut oil and organic kukui nut oil?

I know they're grown differently, but I don't know if that changes their effectiveness, etc.

Does anybody out there have any idea?

By FirstViolin — On Jul 27, 2010

Similarly to kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil is also good for the skin.

It is slightly heavier, so it's probably better suited to those with drier or less sensitive skin.

However, when used properly, it is really moisturizing and also protects the skin against damage.

It is also similar to kukui nut oil in that it is very good for treating minor burns, especially sunburn.

By rallenwriter — On Jul 27, 2010

Many also use kukui nut oil for eczema or psoriasis.

The high levels of linoleic acid in the oil make it extremely moisturizing without having the greasiness of some deep moisturizers.

Often applied right after bathing, the oil is really popular since it is hypoallergenic, and can be used on children and infants too.

Sara Schmidt

Sara Schmidt

Writer

With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for TheHealthBoard, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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