Pracaxi oil is a fairly new discovery to the Western economy however it has been used for medicinal purposes in Central and South America for thousands of years. Its wide use has given it the name of ‘miracle oil’ due to its anti bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-hemorrhagic properties. Traditionally it has been used in the treatment of sores,, acne, insect bites, broken skin as well as hyperpigmentation. It is thought to be great for minimising stretch marks caused by weight gain and pregnancy.
Location and Ecology
You can find Pracaxi oil in the Amazonian rainforest as well as the Guyanas and parts of the West Indies. It grows to about 35m high and 1.3m in diameter and you will see it near rivers and swampy grounds where it can get lots of water.
The oil is extracted from the pods of the tree and harvested from February to May each year. It is not cultivated so the supply is limited to harvesting during its harvest season. The pods of the tree are dried and boiled which releases the oil. About 35 fruits are needed to obtain one kilo of seeds.
Fatty Acid Composition
Pracachy oil has one of he highest concentrations of Behenic acid. It is also rich in is rich in oleic and linoleic acid. All this means that it has excellent moisturising properties.
Studies have reported the insecticidal ability of Pracachy oil, particularly against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is the carrier of dengue and yellow fever . Fractions isolated from the oil have important bioactive compounds with anti-hemorrhagic activity, which can be used to treat snakebites, or possibly as a new drug for the treatment of other diseases.
The oil is used traditionally by Amazonian people to treat stretch marks on young adults and pregnant women. A poulice of bark is made from the ground up bark to apply to snake bite wounds, scorpion and other insect bites. Hair is treated with the oil to condition and enhance shine and manageability. Interestingly it has also traditionally been used to treat bacterial skin infections. As a result Pracaxi oil has been called ‘miracle’ oil for its multitude of uses.
Antimicrobial activity of amazonian medicinal plants. Oliveira AA, Segovia JF, Sousa VY, Mata EC, Gonçalves MC, Bezerra RM, Junior PO, Kanzaki LI.‘Pentaclethra macroloba inhibited the growth of Klebsiella ozaenae and Acinetobacter bauman.
Antihemorrhagic, antinucleolytic and other antiophidian properties of the aqueous extract from Pentaclethra macroloba.Jocivânia O da Silva, Juliana S Coppede, Vanessa C Fernandes, Carolina D Sant’ana, Fábio K Ticli, Maurício V Mazzi, José R Giglio, Paulo S Pereira, Andreimar M Soares, Suely V Sampaio