Kukui Nut Tree ( Aleurites moluccanus)

Botanical Name : Aleurites moluccanus
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Aleurites
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Species: A. moluccana
Synonyms: Aleurites javanicus, Aleurites pentaphyllus, Aleurites trilobus, Jatropha moluccana

Common Names:Candleberry,  Kemiri, Varnish tree, Nuez de la India or Kukui nut tree.Kukui Nut Oil, Candlenut, Indian-walnut.

Vernacular Names : Hindi:  Jangli akhrot,  Akhrot • Marathi:  Ramakrot,  Akhod, Japhala, Ranakot • Tamil:  Nattu akrottu, Woodooga • Malayalam: Akrottu, Akshotam, Karankolam, Vadam • Telugu: Uduga, Natu akrotu • Kannada: Akroda, Natakrodu, Arkod, Naadu aakrotu • Oriya: Akshota • Sanskrit: Akharota, Akhota, Akshota, Asphotaka, Gudashaya

Habitat:Its native range is impossible to establish precisely because of early spread by humans, and the tree is now distributed throughout the New and Old World tropics.We can say Candle Nut is an evergreen tree  and native to Indo-Malaysia.

Description:
The Candlenut (Aleurites moluccana), is a flowering tree. It grows to a height of 15–25 m (49–82 ft), 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 (3.9–7.9 in) long. The nut is round, 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) 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.

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It is a highly domesticated tree. It grows to a height of 15–25 metres, with wide spreading or pendulous branches. The leaves are pale green, simple and ovate, or 3-5 lobed, with a pointed tip, 10–20 cm long. Candle Nut has both male and  female flowers on the same plant. The?greenish-white, fragrant flowers are arranged in a 10–15 cm panicled cyme at the end of branches, with many  small male flowers surrounding the?female?flowers.?The?flowers are?white to creamy in color, with five free petals, oblong in shape and up to1.3 cm long. Male flowers are longer and thinner than female flowers.

The plant typically flowers in the spring, although flowers  can be found nearly any time of year in many areas. The nut is round, 4–6 cm 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. In Ancient Hawai?i, 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. Flowering: March-April.

Edible & Other Uses:
The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice. In the Philippines, the fruit and tree are traditionally known as Lumbang after which Lumban, a lakeshore town in Laguna is named although the name Jatropha has since gained more popularity. Outside of Southeast Asia, macadamia nuts are sometimes substituted for candlenuts when they are not available, as they have a similarly high oil content and texture when pounded. The flavor, however, is quite different, as the candlenut is much more bitter. A Hawaiian condiment known as ?Inamona is made from roasted kukui (candlenuts) mixed into a paste with salt. ?Inamona is a key ingredient in traditional Hawaiian poke. Because the nuts contains saponin and phorbol, they are mildly toxic when raw.

In Ancient Hawaii, kukui nuts 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. Hawaiians also extracted the oil from the nut and burned it in a stone oil lamp called a kukui hele po (light, darkness goes) with a wick made of kapa cloth.

Hawaiians also had many other uses for the tree, including: leis from the shells, leaves and flowers; ink for tattoos from charred nuts; a varnish with the oil; and fishermen would chew the nuts and spit them on the water to break the surface tension and remove reflections, giving them greater underwater visibility. A red-brown dye made from the inner bark was used on kapa and aho (Touchardia latifolia cordage). A coating of kukui oil helped preserve ?upena (fishing nets). The nohona wa?a (seats), pale (gunwales) of wa?a (outrigger canoes) were made from the wood. The trunk was sometimes used to make smaller canoes used for fishing. Kukui was named the state tree of Hawai’i on 1 May 1959 due to its multitude of uses. It also represents the island of Moloka?i, whose symbolic color is the silvery green of the kukui leaf.

In Tonga, even today, ripe nuts, named tuitui are pounded into a paste, tukilamulamu, and used as soap or shampoo. As recently as 1993, candlenuts were chewed into sweet-scented emollient utilized during a traditional funerary ritual in the outlying islands of the Kingdom of Tonga.

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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 (66–180 lb) 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.

Mythology
In Hawai’i the kukui is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace. It was said that Kamapua?a, the hog-man fertility demi-god, could transform into a kukui tree. One of the legends told of 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

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.

Candlenut oil is also used as a hair stimulant or additive to hair treatment systems. 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 Hawaii, the flowers and the sap at the top of the husk (when just removed from the branch) were used to treat e’a (oral candidiasis) in children.

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Common medicinal Uses: Acne * Burns/SunBurn * Eczema * Hair Care/Shampoo * Natural Skin Care-Oils & Herbs * Psoriasis *

Kukui oil is expeller expressed from the nuts, and is light yellow with an amber tint. The oil pentrates skin deeply to hydrate and soften and is used an an emollient in skin care. Kukui oil is used to treat a variety of skin ailments such as eczema, psorisis and burned or damaged skin. Kukui is an excellent botanical source of fatty acids and antioxidents, as well as Vitamins A,C and E.

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.


Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleurites_moluccana
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Candle%20Nut.html
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail467.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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