Babassu oil facts and health benefits

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Babassu oil facts and health benefits

Babassu Oil Quick Facts
Name: Babassu Oil
Scientific Name: Attalea speciosa
Origin Northeastern part of Brazil
Colors Light brown
Taste Mild tasteM
Calories 120 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Total Fat (38.86%)
Vitamin E (17.33%)
Health benefits Anti-Inflammatory Properties, Skin Protection and Healing, Gives You Baby-Soft Lips, Reduces Redness & Inflammation, Promotes Healthy Nails and Cuticles, Helps Prevent Body Odor, Treats Stretch Mark, Beneficial For Hair, Beneficial for acne
Babassu is actually a tall, evergreen feathery palm tree which is native to the northeastern part of Brazil. This palm is the source of babassu oil, which is extracted using the cold press method from the nuts that grow on it. It looks like small coconuts and when they are ripe they drop from the trees to the ground where they are picked up and processed by local workers. The palm is considered to be one of the most productive oil crops in the world. It fruits after about 7 years and reaches its peak between 35 and 40 years. In a year, one Babassu palm can produce up to 2000 fruits. The light brown fruit are covered with a tough fibrous exocarp surrounding a grey mesocarp containing three to six oil bearing seeds. Apart from babassu oil it is also known as babassu wax, babassu butter, cusi oil, Babassu Palm Oil and Babaçu.

Like coconut palm, Babassu is a monoecious, evergreen feather palm of up to 15-20 m tall with a trunk diameter of 40-50 cm. It has a dense crown composed of 15-20 large leaves. It is a multipurpose tree and for centuries different parts have been used to make fuel, food like flour and oil, building materials and mats. The Babassu trade supports more than 2 million rural Brazilians and in some regions the nuts are a form of currency.

Babassu oil is normally light yellow win its liquid form and creamy white when solid. It is very similar to Coconut Oil except that it has very little odor and is a soft solid, more fluffy and buttery than the much firmer coconut oil. It is increasingly being used to replace coconut oil in many products like food, soap and cosmetics. Babassu oil is used as a cooking medium, but it has many other uses as well.

The oil has become a popular addition to many commercial beauty products, including lotions, creams, balms, body butters and hair conditioners. For many the Babassu tree is considered to be the Tree Of Life because it provides so much that is essential for them to survive. It provides food, medicine, oil, drinks, animal feed, building material and an income. The shell of the nuts produces a smokeless charcoal and the palm fronds are used for roof thatch and wall mats.

Nutritional Value

Apart from their soft nutty aroma and mild taste, babassu oil is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 13.6 gram of babassu oil offers 13.6 g of Total Fat and 2.6 mg of Vitamin E.

Health benefits of Babassu Oil

Babassu oil can be used for many purposes like health care, preparing food and improving the condition of skin. The oil is obtained from the nuts of Brazilian palm tree. Cold press technique helps in getting oil from the nuts. Babassu oil looks creamy white in color in a solid state. The oil has same properties as found in the coconut oil. It looks yellowish in color in a liquid state. Some people use the babassu oil as fuel and lubricant also. It is an important ingredient of many beauty products and cosmetics for women. Listed below are some of the popular benefits of this oil

1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Babassu oil is filled with antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and phytosterols. These antioxidants help to combat inflammation very effectively. This is the reason the oil is used to treat several skin conditions like eczema. Though studies are still being conducted, it can be safely said that Babassu does have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to heal skin conditions.(1)

2. Skin Protection and Healing

When babassu oil is used in hot weather, it can cool the skin. The myristic and lauric acids present in the oil melt at a temperature the body has. So, when the oil is applied to the skin, it draws the heat and cools the skin. It also forms a powder-like coating on the skin which protects it from pollutants and other contaminants. Extensive research on rats has proven that this oil can also be used to heal minor burns and cuts.(2)

3. Gives You Baby-Soft Lips

Apart from using chemical-laden lip balms, mix a little babassu oil with some Shea butter and apply to your lips. Your chapped lips will disappear and you will get sexy, soft lips that will be the cynosure of all eyes.

4. Reduces Redness & Inflammation

Babassu oil consists of good amount of Lauric acid which is naturally anti-inflammatory. Gently apply a small amount of Babassu to bug bites, stings, plant rashes, areas affected by eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, as well as chapped, burned or otherwise irritated skin to relieve discomfort and reduce redness and inflammation.

5. Promotes Healthy Nails and Cuticles

Babassu oil is rich in vitamin E which is one of the main nutrients responsible for skin and nail health. When used regularly on hands and feet, Babassu works beautifully to soften your cuticles and strengthen your nails by providing them with an infusion of nutrient-rich moisture.

6. Helps Prevent Body Odor

Due to its anti-microbial nature, Babassu oil makes an excellent base for making homemade deodorant.

To make it, include 2 tablespoons of baking soda, around 6 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and 10 – 15 drops of your favorite essential oil or oils into 1/2 cup of melted Babassu oil. It works just like coconut oil deodorant, but with less drying time so you can put it on and go without the worry of ruining your clothes.

7. Treats Stretch Mark

The skin elasticity will improved by applying the babassu oil. Thus, it can be used for treating the problem of stretch marks. It is useful for pregnant women who have stretch marks.

8. Beneficial For Hair

Babassu oil makes a great hair conditioner for everyday use. You can just warm a little of the oil in your hands to melt it and work it through your hair and then comb to evenly distribute it. After about an hour it will have absorbed so completely that you won’t even know that it’s there. Because it takes a little while to absorb it’s better to use this conditioner at night rather than after your morning shower when you might not have the time to wait before needing to style your hair.

If you have a dry scalp that itches and produces lots of tiny white flakes then massaging babassu oil into your scalp can help. The oil moisturizes and hydrates skin while it calms inflammation and soothes itching. And because the oil is easily absorbed, you don’t need to worry about your hair looking greasy.

Dandruff is another scalp condition that can benefit from babassu oil. The antimicrobial properties of the oil help to keep the fungus and yeast that are responsible for dandruff under control. You can make the oil even more effective at treating dandruff by adding a few drops of tea tree essential oil to a tablespoon of babassu oil and then massaging the oil into your scalp.

9. Beneficial for acne

One of the reasons that many people that suffer from acne is coconut oil because of its antimicrobial properties. However coconut oil can clog pores, it has mixed results and many people can’t use it. Babassu oil brings you the same skin healing benefits without the pore clogging effects, so apply babassu oil with the confidence that even if it turns out that it doesn’t make their condition any better, it certainly won’t make it any worse.

Other Uses for Babassu Oil

As carrier oil for essential oils – Gently heat babassu oil by standing the tub in a bowl of warm water, then pour out some oil and use it as you would any other carrier oil. Because the oil has such a mild scent, it won’t interfere with the fragrance of your favorite oils.

Use in homemade deodorant creams – This the perfect oil to use in your homemade deodorant creams because it doesn’t leave a greasy feeling on the skin. Its antimicrobial nature also prevents the growth of the bacteria on your skin which are responsible for producing body odor.

To make a simple deodorant cream mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 6 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, 10 – 15 drops of your favorite essential oil or oil blend, and half a cup of melted babassu oil. Store the cream in a small lidded jar. To use, take a little of the deodorant cream and rub it into your skin.

Use in shampoo and conditioner -You can add a 1/2 tsp to your shampoo and conditioner to increase the moisturizing effects.

Add the oil to cold process soaps – This oil has similar properties in soap making to coconut or palm kernel oil. As it is high in lauric acid, it gives a good lather and the high palmitic acid content will add hardness to bar soaps. It also has excellent emollient properties and soaps made with babassu oil will leave your skin clean and velvety.

Use the oil in homemade balms and body butters – In any recipe that calls for coconut oil, you can substitute babassu oil, or use a mixture of the two.

Reduce inflammation on bites and stings – Babassu oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce swelling and heat in the area around bites or stings, or on rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak. Add a drop or two of lavender essential oil for extra anti-inflammatory benefits.

Cooking with babassu oil – The oil has been used as a cooking oil in Brazil for centuries. You can use the oil in place of butter, and it’s perfect for stir frying vegetables. When you eat babassu oil you’ll benefit from improved cholesterol, better blood sugar balance, increased energy, healthier hormones and stronger brain function

Season wooden cutting boards with babassu oil – Give your wooden boards a wipe over with a little babassu oil to keep them in good shape and to prevent bacterial growth.

Make homemade furniture polish – Nourish your wooden furniture with a real oil polish instead of just coating it with wax – which is what most furniture polish is made from. All you need to do is rub a little of the oil into your furniture and then buff to a shine. Add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to give your polish an amazing fragrance that won’t make you sneeze like conventional polish.

If you want to add a wax finish to your polish to help lock the moisture in the wood, it’s really easy to make a polish using some beeswax. Simply melt some beeswax in your microwave and stir it into your oil. Experiment with different amounts of beeswax to get a consistency and a finish that you like. Start with a small amount of wax and work your way up. Just remelt your oil and beeswax in the microwave each time you want to add a little more.

Improves Pet Health

Just as it is great for humans, Babassu oil can improve your pets’ health, too. As with coconut oil, there is a long list of ways in which Babassu can be used for pets. When consumed, it improves digestion, coat health, dental hygiene, hormone balance, weight management and joint strength. Topically, you can use small amounts of Babassu oil to treat dandruff, deodorize smelly coat, help heal small wounds and skin irritations, and even clean their ears!

How to Eat

  • It is frequently used as a cooking alternative to coconut oil.
  • In the kitchen babassu oil is used as cooking fat and for making margarine.
  • It is also popular for baking because of its mild taste.
  • The seeds itself can also be eaten either raw or cooked; the endosperm of immature seeds is consumed as a drink.
  • The stem yields a sap which is fermented into palm wine.
  • The apical bud is edible as well.
  • Ashes from the burnt stem are used as a salt substitute.
  • Babassu flour, mixed with milk and sugar, makes a chocolate-like drink.

Traditional uses and  benefits of Babassu Oil

  • It is exceptionally soothing, protective and emollient.
  • Babassu Oil is particularly well suited for skin care formulations intended for mature, severely dry, damaged and problem skin and for hair care products intended to nourish, hydrate and condition the hair and scalp.
  • Babassu oil is good for nourishing baby skin as well as inflamed and acne-prone skin.
  • Oil is good massage oil due to its nourishing qualities.
  • Babassu oil works especially well to soothe skin irritations like eczema or itchy, inflamed skin.
  • It softens cuticles and cracked heels.
  • It reduces inflammation and redness from bug bites, mild burns, rashes and rosacea.
  • Babassu is naturally cooling, making it a great after-sun exposure treatment.
  • It is used in the preparation of treatments for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.
  • Babassu seed kernel is used as treatment for rheumatism and fever.
  • The leaves and liquid endosperm are used in local medicine.
  • The seed kernel is used in liniments as a treatment for rheumatism.
  • Ground into a powder and combined with sugar and water, it makes a refreshing and febrifuge emulsion.

Other Facts

  • Organic Babassu Oil is a highly versatile emollient suitable for a wide array of skin care applications.
  • Babassu oil is most commonly used in soap making, as well as the food and cleaning industries.
  • Babassu fruit is used in various drugs, cosmetics, and beverages.
  • Wood is used as construction material.
  • It also functions as an ornamental tree.
  • Leaves are commonly used for thatch and basketry.
  • Decayed stems and leaves are used for mulch.
  • It is also used for making candles.
  • Nut waste is also used locally as a fuel for cooking and to repel insects.

Oil Extraction

The Babassu palm tree fruits are harvested from August to November by the local and native women of Brazil called the “Babassu breakers.” These women collect the fruits that have naturally fallen down the ground and break them using an axe, hence, the name. They get the meat or flesh of these fruits and cold-press them until they get a clear light yellow vegetable oil from them.

Babassu Oil Recipes

Whipped Butter


  • 1/3-cup babassu oil,
  • 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil (above 70,000 IU),
  • Shea butter or mango butter (eye ball babassu oil for hair amount as per the size of the container)
  • Ylang ylang essential oil for fragrance (optional).


  • Melt the shea/mango butter over boiling water, add in the babassu oil and whip together thoroughly.
  • Then add in the vitamin E oil and whip some more until you achieve a smooth consistency and it looks light and fluffy like a mousse.
  • Add in the ylang ylang oil if using.
  • Pour into a container and leave in the fridge for a few hours to harden.
  • Alternatively, you can blend the ingredients if hand whipping is too much work.
  • You can also use a piping bag to get it into the container.
  • Apply as needed to seal in moisture.

Shampoo Bar


  • 100 grams babassu oil,
  • 100 grams olive oil,
  • 75 grams avocado oil,
  • 50 grams castor oil,
  • 25 grams sunflower oil,
  • 30 grams lye (sodium hydroxide),
  • 95 grams distilled water,
  • 3 teaspoons of essential oils (ylang ylang, lavender, patchouli, rosemary or tea tree),
  • Molds and gloves and goggles for protection.


  • Measure and weigh out all the ingredients before you start.
  • Add all the oils into a crockpot and heat on low to medium heat. Ensure the temperature doesn’t go over 150F.
  • Put a pan away from you to protect from splashing then pour in the distilled water followed by the lye. Wait until it is completely dissolved (the mixture will be clear).
  • Remove the oils from the stove once it is at 150F, then slowly pour in the lye and distilled water mixture them mix together with a hand blender taking care of splashing. Mix until you achieve a trail like consistency when you drizzle the mixture.
  • Put the crock put back on the stove and cook for 2 – 3 hours. If the mixture starts to bubble over, stir it gently.
  • Wait until the mixture has thickened then test with ph. strips to check if ready.
  • Add in the essential oils and color if you like then scoop the soap into the molds.
  • Cover molds with plastic wrap then let the soap set for 1 – 2 days.
  • Remove from the mold and cut into pieces. Your DIY shampoo bar is all done.

Babassu Oil Facts

Babassu Oil, also known as babassu wax, babassu butter and cusi oil, is light yellow when liquid and creamy white when solid. It is very similar to Coconut Oil except that it has very little odor and is a soft solid, more fluffy and buttery than the much firmer coconut oil. It is increasingly being used to replace coconut oil in many products like food, soap and cosmetics. Like the coconut palm, the Babassu palm is a multipurpose tree and for centuries different parts have been used to make fuel, food like flour and oil, building materials and mats. The Babassu trade supports more than 2 million rural Brazilians and in some regions the nuts are a form of currency.

Name Babassu oil
Scientific Name Attalea speciosa
Native Northeastern part of Brazil.
Common Names Babassu wax, babassu butter and cusi oil, Babassu Palm Oil, Babaçu
Name in Other Languages Chinese: Ba la su ao bi ni ya zong
English: American oil palm, Babassu, babasu palm, motacu, motacuchi
Finnish: Babassupalmu
French: Maripa, babassou
German: Babussupalme
Norwegian: Babassuolje.
Portuguese: Aguassú, babassú, babaçú, bagasse, coco de macaco
Spanish: Babasú, Catirina, cusi, cusinó, guaguazú, shapaja
Growing Climate Tall, evergreen feathery palm
Soil Prefers moist well-drained soil and can tolerate drought.
Plant Size Up to 20 meters tall
Trunk Diameter of 40-50 cm
Fruit Color Light brown fruit
Oil Color Creamy white in color in a solid state & yellowish in color in a liquid state.
Flavor/Aroma Soft nutty aroma or almost Odorless, similar to coconut
Taste Mild taste
Extraction Method Cold press method
Season August to November
Health benefits
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  • Skin Protection and Healing
  • Gives You Baby-Soft Lips
  • Reduces Redness & Inflammation
  • Promotes Healthy Nails and Cuticles
  • Helps Prevent Body Odor
  • Treats Stretch Mark
  • Beneficial For Hair
  • Beneficial for acne
Major Nutrition Total Fat (lipid) 13.6 g (38.86%)
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)2.6 mg (17.33%)
Calories in 1 tbsp (13.6 g) 120 Kcal






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