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Saturday, 22 February 2020
Babassu Oil
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The Brazilian babassu palm, which belongs to the Family Arecaceae, can reach a height of up to 30 meters and a diameter of 50 cm. In some states like the Maranhão (in the northeast of Brazil) grow up to 10,000 palms on solely one hectare.

The babassu nut itself is similar to the coconut due to its brownish colour, but only has a length of 10 – 12 cm.

The nuts are harvested by native women, the so called “quebradeiras de coco”. Therewith, they contribute a considerable part to the subsistence of more than 300,000 families. The “quebradeiras” are dependent on the self-sufficient economy of this nut in their workaday lives, since every part of it is used and of essential importance. For example, the wood is used for the construction of houses, bridges and benches; the leafs for roofs, walls, doors and windows due to their waterproofness; the fibers for mats, torches or birdcages; the kernels for oil and soap and their rests as animal food or bait for fishing; the peel for wood charcoal, as key source for fuel to cook, and the resulting smoke as insect repellent.

The babassu nut is among the hardest nuts worldwide and is opened manually with an axe turned upside down, so that the nut can be pushed onto the axe blade with a wooden rod. The contained kernels are collected and driven to the oil presses, where the crude babassu oil is produced.

However, big landowners do not see the babassu nuts as sufficiently profitable. Therefore, some babassu fields stay empty and are not harvested until the nut rots or is burnt. At the same time, there is massive interest for the destruction of these areas in order to cultivate soya beans. Gustav Heess cooperates with a non-commercially cooperative of the Maranhão, whose objective is the improvement and preservation of quality of life of the rural babassu cultivators.

Due to its fatty acid composition with a major part of lauric acid (C 12: 40 – 50 %), the melting point is at around 24° C and therefore similar to coconut oil. Lauric acid has got the special attribute of an antimicrobial effect. When getting into contact with the body, the babassu oil immediately starts to melt and causes a flossy, very smoothly skin feel. The melting process is accompanied by a slight cooling effect, which brings about a feeling of freshness.

The spreading of the oil is high, however, is at the same time viscosity-reducing when used in emulsions. Its versatile characteristics make its use very flexible. For example, one can use it having oily scalp and mild inflammations (also in case of acne) due to the antimicrobial and cooling effect, but at the same time against dry skin.

Soap manufacturer use it as basic oil, since the high creamy foam formation gives a soft and glossy feeling.

INCI Name: Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil


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