Brazil nut (Bertholletia Excelsa) oil

Brazil nut (Bertholletia Excelsa) oil is purified and refined oil, an emollient comparable to sesame oil. With a fatty acid distribution similar to sesame oil, it is expected to have much the same properties as this traditional cosmetic oil. This tropical oil traces its origins to the biologically rich resources of the Amazon rain forests of Peru.

Brazil nut oil is obtained from the harvested fruit of Bertholletia excelsa, a tree growing wild throughout the South American rainforest. This tropical tree can reach up to 160 feet high and live for up to 1000 years. The nuts used in the extraction of Bertholletia Excelsa seed oil originate in the buffer area surrounding the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone, a tract of protected forest lying in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.

Brazil nut oil can be used as an emollient in either skincare or hair care products. Because its content of Linoleic Acid is relatively high, Brazil nut seeds should help maintain the skin's barrier function. Linoleic Acid is a TEWL-controlling essential fatty acid and a well-known part of the fatty acid complex found in epidermal lipids.

Formulations containing Brazil nut oil yield creams and lotions with good rub-in characteristics and an excellent after-feel. It is soluble in many of the commonly used anionic surfactants and can also be used in shampoos and facial cleansers where it acts as a lubricant and an emollient.

Biological Habitat

With its enormous variety of flora and fauna, Peru is recognized internationally as a country of 'megadiversity.' The Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone itself is located south of the Madre de Dios River surrounding the Pampas del Heath National Sanctuary. This tropical haven is the site where the most significant single congregation of birds and butterflies was witnessed and an area where endangered species, such as the giant river otter, the black caiman, and many threatened parrots and macaws, have taken refuge. However, outside these safe environs, increased logging activities and other ecologically destructive practices are severely threatening the Madre de Dios —the last tract of pristine Amazon forest remaining in Peru.

The sustainable harvesting of the Brazil nut tree is tantamount to preserving the proliferation of wildlife living there. The Brazil nut tree is considered a 'keystone' species since it attracts and helps sustain many other species who use it as a place to live, breed, and pollinate. In other words, it is the lifeblood of other life forms, such as bees, birds, and orchids, because they depend on the Brazil nut tree for survival.

Eco-sustainable Heritage

With a population density of only 0.2 persons per square kilometer, the Madre de Dios region is one of the least populated in Peru. Nevertheless, it is home to people indigenous to the land and Mestizo peasants and colonists, who all must subsist by utilizing its resources. Therefore, Brazil nuts' sustainable harvesting and processing employ the local inhabitants. Its institution as an economical alternative is an ecologically viable means of protecting the Tambopata/Madre de Dios region.