Pracaxi oil aka Pentaclethra Macroloba. The Pracaxi tree is found in the Amazon rainforest, and pracaxi oil is derived from the seeds of that tree. In the Amazon Jungle, pracaxi oil is referred to as “sutra de mata” (translation: jungle suture) because of it’s supposed healing properties for the skin.
I first heard about this oil when I was working at a compounding pharmacy a couple of years ago (shout out to Longevity Drugs, love you guys!!). It was one of the active ingredients in a cream base that we would purchase from our wholesaler to use to make scar therapy creams. We kept getting phone calls from plastic surgeons saying the scar therapy cream was proving to be pretty successful in healing post-surgical scars. Getting feedback like that from doctors is HUGE in the compounding pharmacy industry, so my interest in this mystery oil was piqued.
Properties of Pracaxi oil
Pracaxi oil is said to:
-Have high antioxidant properties
-Have antibacterial properties
-Have antifungal properties
-Have anti-inflammatory properties
-Have the highest levels of behenic acid that can be derived from a natural plant source; behenic acid is lubricant/moisturizer.
-Increase cell turnover
Based on the properties of pracaxi, there are a number of skin conditions that may benefit from the topical application of this oil.
Benefits/Uses of Pracaxi oil
This oil is widely believed to be beneficial for the following conditions:
-The appearance of old and new scars (including acne scars)
-Treatment of acne
-Treatment of psoriasis
-Treatment of rosacea
-Prevention of stretch marks and the appearance of stretch marks
There aren’t a ton of really significant studies on pracaxi oil; I think it may just be a little bit too “new” to the medical community to have large studies right now. I did find this study from the NLM (a small study) that you can read for a bit of information regarding evidence of pracaxi oil’s benefits when using it to treat surgical scars.
I did a bit more research to see if any reliable source studies had been performed on pracaxi regarding any of the other skin conditions listed above, but I was unable to find anything. Based on properties of the oil, I don’t think it is harmful to assume it will help with those skin conditions, though. For example, doctors don’t have a definitive reason why rosacea occurs; one school of thought it that the redness and inflammation caused by rosacea may be caused by microscopic mites that live on the skin. Therefore, using an oil that has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties would, in theory, help clear up rosacea!
With some promising evidence for the treatment of scars, I actually put this oil into an experimental belly cream I made for myself when I got pregnant. I started using it at about 12 weeks.
I’m 33 weeks pregnant now and look about 11 months pregnant and still no stretch marks! Crossing my fingers I can make it all the way to 40 weeks without any of those appearing! I’ll be coming out with a new line of mommy and baby natural products soon, including a pracaxi oil based stretch mark prevention and treatment cream, so you can be on the lookout for that!
So is Pracaxi magic or not?
Based on the lack of evidence from reliable sources and studies, I would have to say no. HOWEVER, natural oils are often not studied in a big clinical trial at all. So, like essential oils, I am going to keep using it based on my experience with the oil and the conclusions I can draw from the known properties of the oil. Maybe it’s not officially magic, but I still think it’s pretty cool, and based on my experience I will keep on using it.
Where can you buy Pracaxi oil?
A quick internet search will tell you one thing: the sucker is expensive. Not surprising, knowing its derived from the seeds of a tree only found in a few parts of the world. I bought mine from FNWL. Other places I looked included Vitae Organics, Amazon cause they have everything known to man kind, and SheaButter Cottage.