Chaulmoogra Oil
quantity in basket: none
code: 61085


Latin Binomial: Taraktogenos kurzii
Plant Part: Seed
Extraction: Cold Pressed
Growing Practice: Ethical
Country of Origin: India

Refractive Index: 1.471 @ 20.00 °C.
Specific Gravity: 0.959 @ 20.00 °C.
Appearance: pale yellow or brownish yellow
BioChemicals: chaulmoogric acid (crystalline, C18H32O2) and hydnocarpic (C18H28O2)(unsaturated fatty acids)

palmitic acid
Melting Point °C: 22-30°C
Saponification Value: 198-213
CAS No: 8001-74-9

Chaulmoogra oil (also spelled Chalmogra) is extracted by cold pressing from the seeds of trees in the genus Hydnocarpus in the Family Flacouriaceae. It is now known that Taraktogenos kurzii (per GRIN a synonym for Hydnocarpus kurzii) is the species that produces the authentic oil. The INCI name is apparently Hydnocarpus laurifolia. According to the FAO, Chaulmoogra oil is also called Maroti oil, Hydnocarpus oil, or Gorli seed oil.

There are about 40 species of Hydnocarpus found in rain forests from India to the Phillipines and Celebes. The flowers are unisexual and small, producing large (3 in.), globose, woody, indehiscent fruits that contain 10-16 seeds set in the pulp, accounting for about 20% of the fruit weight. In India the harvesting period is August to September. The seeds are pretreated by removing the outer covering and the oil is pressed out by traditional methods or small expellers.

Production is about 50 lb. of seeds per year per tree. The kernels are about 60-70% of the seed weight and contain 63% pale yellow oil.

The fatty acids in the oil are not straight chain fatty acids but have a cyclic group at the end of the chain.

Hydnocarpus kurzii is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as "Data Deficient" based on a report from 1997 that "the species has declined by 50% in population numbers in the last 10 years." It is not clear if this is the same species, since there seems to be some confusion among H. kurzii, T. kurzii, and H. laurifolia as well as H. wightiana and other related species which are listed in various references with various differing ranges.

Citation: CAMP Workshops on Medicinal Plants, India 1998. Hydnocarpus kurzii. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. . Downloaded on 20 June 2011.

Use as additive, base, or Carrier oil.

Used for chronic skin disease, wounds, ulcers, rheumatism, sprains, sciatica.

Formerly used to treat leprosy.

Chaulmoogra oil has an interesting but not unpleasant odor which may need to be overcome when used as the principle component of a cosmetic formulation.

Chaulmoogra oil was used in China to treat leprosy from the 14th century or earlier. In 1854 a British doctor, Frederic John Mouat who was working in Calcutta reported that it might be useful in treating leprosy, and by the 1920s Chaulmoogra oil or its derivatives were the principle treatment available, but were not without difficulties because of the need to take it internally (causing nausea) or inject it subcutaneously (causing pain). Eventually Alice Ball, an African-American woman working at the college of Hawaii discovered that the ethyl esters of the fatty acids could be made and were suitable for injection. Unfortunately she died before she gained recognition for the work, but a plaque in her honor has now been placed on the campus of the University of Hawaii-Manoa honoring her work.

The treatment was used widely during the 20s and 30s, but in 1942 its efficacy was challenged by some physicians, and in the 1940s it was discovered that sulfones were effective against leprosy and they became the treatment of choice. John Parascandola closes his history with: "As for Chaulmoogra oil, by the 1950s it had essentially become just a colorful relic of pharmacy's past."

This paper presents in full the interesting history summarized above of Chaulmoogra Oil as a leprosy Treatment.

Gastro-intestinal irritant. For External Use Only. Solid at Room temperature. Warm with hot water to liquefy.

Generally considered to be of low hazard for skin care, although no believable specific information was found.

{There is a lot of obviously inaccurate information about Chaulmoogra Oil on the Web.)

The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep carriers and bases tightly closed and in a cool, dark place, out of reach of children. If redness or irritation occurs when applied to the skin, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.