Botanical Name: Aleurites moluccana
Species: A. moluccana
Other Names:Candleberry, Indian walnut, Kemiri, Varnish tree or Kukui nut tree.
Habitat:Native to Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Pacific Islands including Hawaii.
Common Names: Candlenuts, Indian walnut, Tahitian walnut, jangli akrot (Hindi), nattu-akrotu-kottai (Tamil), dakkuna (Sinhalese), phothisat (Thai), buah keras (Malay), kemiri (Indonesian)
Description:Its native range is impossible to establish precisely because of early spread by humans, and the tree is now widely distributed in the New and Old World tropics. It grows to a height of 15-25 m, with wide spreading or pendulous branches. The leaves are pale green, simple and ovate, or trilobed or rarely 5-lobed, with an acute apex, 10–20 cm long. The nut is round, 4–6 cm in diameter; the seed inside has a very hard seed coat and a high oil content, which allows its use as a candle, hence its name….CLICK & SEE
Growing Environment: They grow very well in tropical climates with ample rainfall, but also adapt to dry climates. Candlenut’s need little if any care after they are established.
Cultivation: Moderate to abundant water; prefers a good drainage. Propagated by seed and takes 3-4 months to germinate. Use nuts that sink. Soak in hot water 5 minutes before planting. Seeds take 3-4 months to germinate. To transplant seedling, keep soil surrounding the start intact. Fruits are gathered twice per year. Gather fruits from trees or nuts from the ground. Throw away nuts that float in water. Kernels adhere to sides of shell and are difficult to separate. Seedlings planted 300/ha. Once established, trees require little to no attention.
In Hawaii the Candlenut tree is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace. Candlenut was considered to be the body form of Kamapua’a, the pig god. One of the legends told about a woman who, despite her best efforts to please her husband, was routinely beaten. Finally, the husband beat her to death and buried her under a kukui tree. Being a kind and just woman, she was given new life, and the husband was eventually killed.
Constituents: Moluccanin, moretenone, moretenol, alpha-amyrin, and beta-sitosterol. The oil cake, contains ca 46.2% protein, 4.4% P2O5, and 2.0% K2O and is said to be poisonous. A toxalbumin and HCN have been suggested. Bark contains ca 4–6% tannin. Oil also contains glycerides of linolenic, oleic and various linoleic acids. Per 100 g, the seed is reported to contain 626 calories, 7.0 g H2O, 19.0 g protein, 63.0 g fat, 8.0 g total carbohydrate, 3.0 g ash, 80 mg Ca, 200 mg P, 2.0 mg Fe, 0 mg beta-carotene equivalent, 0.06 mg thiamine, and 0 mg ascorbic acid. The fruit contains alkaloids. The nuts have 626 calories, 7 grams of water, 19 grams of protein, and 63 grams of fat. They also contain 8 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of ash, 80 milligrams of calcium, 200 milligrams of potassium, 2 milligrams of iron, and 0.06 milligrams of thiamine.
Different Uses :
Cooked nuts are generally edible, although some strains contain high amounts of cyanide. Usually the nut is pressed for its oil, which is used for a variety of industrial purposes like soapmaking, varnishes, and fuel. The oil is sometimes used medicinally similar to castor oil, as well as a laxative. In Southeast Asia, the oil is sometimes applied topically to treat headaches, fevers and swollen joints.
*The candle nut is similar (though “rougher”) in flavor and texture to the macadamia nut, which has a similarly high oil content. It is mildly toxic when raw.
*The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian cuisine and Malaysian, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. In Java of Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce which is eaten with vegetables and rice.
*In ancient Hawaii, the nuts, named kukui were burned to provide light. The nuts were strung in a row on a palm leaf midrib, lit one end, and burned one by one every 15 minutes or so. This led to their use as a measure of time. One could instruct someone to return home before the second nut burned out.
*In Tonga, still nowadays, ripe nuts, named tuitui are pounded into a paste, tukilamulamu, used as soap or shampoo.
Candle nuts are also roasted and mixed into a paste with salt to form a Hawaiian condiment known as inamona. Inamona is a key ingredient in traditional Hawaiian poke. It’s the Hawaiian state tree.
*Dead wood of candlenut is eaten by a larva of a coleoptera called Agrionome fairmairei. This larva is eaten by some people.
Modern cultivation is mostly for the oil. In plantations, each tree will produce 30–80 kg of nuts, and the nuts yield 15 to 20% of their weight in oil. Most of the oil is used locally rather than figuring in international trade.
Medicinal Uses: Several parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicine in most of the areas where it is native. The oil is an irritant and purgative and sometimes used like castor oil. The seed kernels have a laxative effect. In Japan its bark has been used on tumors. In Sumatra, , pounded seeds, burned with charcoal, are applied around the navel for costiveness. In Malaya, the pulped kernels or boiled leaves are used in poultices for headache, fevers, ulcers, swollen joints, and gonorrhea. In Java, the bark is used for bloody diarrhea or dysentery. In Sumatra, pounded seeds, burned with charcoal, are applied around the navel for cositiveness. Bark juice with coconut milk is used for sprue. The fruit is eaten to produce aphrodisiac stimulation and the gum from the bark is chewed for the same reason. The oil is sometimes used medicinally similar to castor oil, as well as a laxative. In Southeast Asia, the oil is sometimes applied topically to treat headaches, fevers and swollen joints. To treat sores or infections in the mouth and to soothe the gums of teething babies, healers pick green kukui nuts in the morning when the sap is running. They separate the stem from the husk of the nut, and a small pool of sap fills the resulting hole. They apply the sap topically on sores or mix it with water to make a mouthwash. Its partly dried sap is used to treat thrush (ea) and its leaves are used as poultice for swellings and infections.
Dosage: For constipation, 1 roasted nut. Topical as needed.
Toxicity: The nuts can be poisonous when raw, causing violent vomiting. In 1999 the media reported that a child became ill after eating raw candlenuts in a park in Brisbane. However others have eaten them raw without ill effects. Roasting destroys the toxin in the oil which causes these effects. The roasted nuts are delicious, and are reported to be nutritious and high in energy from the fat they contain. They can be used to tenderize meat. However particular trees produce a nut which has a high cyanide content, and if many roasted nuts are eaten at a time, they can cause stomach cramps and vomiting, so suitable selection methods need to be applied. Kukui is used as a “poison” in Haiti and Turkey. If too much kukui was taken in old Hawai’i, and diarrhea resulted, specially prepared Tacca leontopetaloides (pia) root was given with poi. Not for use in pregnancy. Not with diarrhea. Not with weak central Qi.
Cosmetic Uses: Oil is used topically to stimulate hair growth in Fiji. Kukui nut oil is high in the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids. These acids are vital for the metabolism of healthy skin. Vitamins A, C and E are added to stabilize the oil. Kukui nut oil is easily absorbed by the skin. It soothes irritated, sunburned, or burned skin. Surveys have shown that kukui nut oil can help relieve itchy and dry skin due to eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. You can use up to 10% kukui nut oil for a nourishing bar of soap or use it at 5-10% in your cream, lotion, balm and scrub formulations.
Culinary Uses: The nut is often used cooked in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine, where it is called buah keras or kemiri. In Java, it is used to make a thick sauce which is eaten with vegetables and rice. The nuts are roasted, then ground and mixed with Hawaiian salt and limu kohu to make a relish called “inamona”.
Other Uses: Seed yields 57–80% of inedible, semi-drying oil, liquid at ordinary temperatures, solidifying at 5°F, containing oleostearic acid. Oil, quicker drying than linseed oil, is used as a wood preservative, for varnishes and paint oil, as an illuminant, for soap making, waterproofing paper, rubber substitutes and insulating material. Seeds are moderately poisonous and press cake is used as fertilizer. Kernels when roasted and cooked are considered edible; may be strung as candlenuts. Oil is painted on bottoms of small crafts to .protect against marine borers. Tung oil, applied to cotton bolls, stops boil weevils from eating them. Also prevents feeding by striped cucumber beetle. In old Hawai’i soot from burning nuts were used for tattoos and fixed with the juice of Plumbago zeylanica (‘ilie’e). A superior black dye obtained from the soot produced by burning the seed, is used to dye the tapa and for tattooing. The seeds are strung into leis. The inner bark is used to dye the fishnets and the tannin in the dye strengthened nets and prevented decay. The soot from the burnt kukui nuts is also used to stain surfboards.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider