Ingredient Spotlight: Pracaxi (Pracachy) oil

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Origin: Central and South America

INCI: Pentaclethara macroloba (Pracaxi) Oil

Extraction Method: Expeller Pressed

Shelf Life: 18 Months

Saponification Value (mg KOH/g oil): 175 - 195

SAP Multiplier for NaOH: 0.132

SAP Multiplier for KOH: 0.185

Commonly referred to as 'miracle oil' Pracaxi, is an exciting oil with much potential  in skin care and medicinal uses.  It has a very high content of behenic and lignoceric acid, which help give it great moisturising properties. 

It has anti-bacterial, anti fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic and  anti hemorrhagic properties. 

It is traditionally used for stretch marks as well as insect bites, sores, acne and hyperpigmentation brought about by hormonal changes.


Pracaxi oil is found in the regions from Nicaragua to Amazonia, including the Guyanas and some of the West Indies. It tends to grow to about 35m high and 1.3m in diameter and lives near rivers and in swampy areas.

The seeds of the tree are edible and also produce a cooking oil (owala oil), widely used in Africa.  Seeds contain 45-48% lipid, 27-28% protein and 45-48% carbohydrates. The bark is a source of tannins. As a nitrogen fixing pioneer and has great potential for forest regeneration and reclamation of degraded lands.

The oil is extracted from the seeds of the tree and harvested from February to May each year.  It is not cultivated so the supply is limited to harvesting during its harvest season.  The pods of the tree are dried and boiled which releases the oil. About 35 fruits are needed to obtain one kilo of seeds.

Fatty Acid Composition

At 19%, pracachy oil has the highest known concentration of Behenic acid, this gives it excellent moisturizing properties . Studies have reported about the insecticidal ability of pracachy oil, specifically against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is the carrier of yellow fever and dengue.

Fractions isolated from the oil have important bioactive compounds with anti-hemorrhagic activity, which can be used in the treatment of snakebites, or possibly as a new drug for the treatment of other diseases.

Traditional uses

Traditionally the oil is used by Amazonian people to treat stretch marks on young adults and pregnant women. 

The bark is ground up into a paste and used as a poultice to reduce the toxicity of snake, insect and scorpion bites. 

Hair is also treated with praxaci oil to enhances shine and manageability, this is due in great part to the high levels of behenic acid found in the oil.  

Most interestingly it has traditionally been used to treat bacterial skin infections. 

Pracaxi oil has been called ‘miracle’ oil for its multitude of uses.


Antimicrobial activity of amazonian medicinal plants. Oliveira AA, Segovia JF, Sousa VY, Mata EC, Gonçalves MC, Bezerra RM, Junior PO, Kanzaki LI.‘Pentaclethra macroloba inhibited the growth of Klebsiella ozaenae and Acinetobacter bauman.

Antihemorrhagic, antinucleolytic and other antiophidian properties of the aqueous extract from Pentaclethra macroloba.Jocivânia O da Silva, Juliana S Coppede, Vanessa C Fernandes, Carolina D Sant'ana, Fábio K Ticli, Maurício V Mazzi, José R Giglio, Paulo S Pereira, Andreimar M Soares, Suely V Sampaio