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Andiroba (Carapa spp.)

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Also listed as: Carapa, Gobi
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Andiroba oil, Carapa guianensis, Carapa procera, Carapa granatum fruits, gobi, Touloucouna.

Background
  • Andiroba is a tree native to the South American rainforests, in the same family as mahogany. For centuries, indigenous Amazon populations have used all parts of andiroba, including its seed oil, for a variety of purposes. Andiroba oil has been used as fuel for street lamps and as an insect repellant in oil lamps. It has also been used to make candles and soaps.
  • It is sometimes used as massage oil. Andiroba oil is also applied topically to treat wounds, bruises, insect bites, rashes, ear infections, and psoriasis. Warm macerations of andiroba have been used to relieve symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism and to cauterize wounds. Andiroba may also be taken internally to stimulate digestion and to treat coughs.
  • However, there is currently a lack of high-quality human studies supporting the effectiveness of andiroba for any medical condition. Several compounds in andiroba, including terpenes, and various alkaloids, may have beneficial effects for a variety of conditions. The most promising uses for andiroba oil are likely as an insect repellant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Andiroba is not listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Andiroba oils have been traditionally used to make insect repellant-based soaps and candles. Early evidence suggests that 100% pure andiroba oil offered about the same protective effect as soy oil, while 15% andiroba oil performed slightly better than soy oil. However, neither andiroba nor soy was comparable to DEET. Additional research is needed before conclusions can be made.
C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antineoplastic, antiparasitic, antipyretic, anti-tumor, arthritis, colds, constipation, coughs, diabetes, diarrhea, digestion, ear infections, esophagitis, malaria, stimulation of digestion, ulcers, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Andiroba lotions, creams, and oils have been tested for their insect repellent effects, although it does not appear to be as effective as DEET and other insect repellant products.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for andiroba in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in patients with know allergies or sensitivity to andiroba, its constituents, Carapa spp., or members of the Meliaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Use cautiously because safety data for andiroba and its constituents are lacking.
  • Deep skin burns were reported in a newborn girl after andiroba (Carapa procera) was applied to the skin. The fruit of this species is known to contain cyclic terpenes, which cause inflammation when applied to the skin. Avoid in infants or in those with skin sensitivities.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Andiroba is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Use of andiroba with other insect repellants, such as DEET, may result in additive effects.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Use of andiroba with other insect repellants, such as DEET, may result in additive effects.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Hammer, ML and Johns, EA. Tapping an Amazonian plethora: four medicinal plants of Marajo Island, Para (Brazil). J Ethnopharmacol 1993;40(1):53-75.
  2. Konan, YL, Sylla, MS, Doannio, JM, et al. Comparison of the effect of two excipients (karite nut butter and vaseline) on the efficacy of Cocos nucifera, Elaeis guineensis and Carapa procera oil-based repellents formulations against mosquitoes biting in Ivory Coast. Parasite 2003;10(2):181-184.
  3. Miot, HA, Batistella, RF, Batista, Kde A, et al. Comparative study of the topical effectiveness of the Andiroba oil (Carapa guianensis) and DEET 50% as repellent for Aedes sp. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 2004;46(5):253-256.
  4. Saxena, E and Babu, UV. Constituents of Carapa granatum fruits. Fitoterapia 2001;72(2):186-187.
  5. Seignot, P, Guyon, P, Hasselot, N, et al. [A deep skin burn caused by the local application of a traditional oily ointment of Senegal (Carapa procera)]. Med Trop (Mars.) 1991;51(1):91-92.
  6. Sylla, M, Konan, L, Doannio, JM, et al. [Evaluation of the efficacity of coconut (Cocos nucifera), palm nut (Eleais guineensis) and gobi (Carapa procera) lotions and creams in indivirual protection against Simulium damnosum s.l. bites in Cote d'Ivoire]. Bull Soc Pathol Exot 2003;96(2):104-109.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.


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