Andiroba is a tree native to the South American rainforests, in the same family as mahogany. For centuries, indigenous Amazon populations have used all parts of andiroba, including its seed oil, for a variety of purposes. Andiroba oil has been used as fuel for street lamps and as an insect repellant in oil lamps. It has also been used to make candles and soaps.
It is sometimes used as massage oil. Andiroba oil is also applied topically to treat wounds, bruises, insect bites, rashes, ear infections, and psoriasis. Warm macerations of andiroba have been used to relieve symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism and to cauterize wounds. Andiroba may also be taken internally to stimulate digestion and to treat coughs.
However, there is currently a lack of high-quality human studies supporting the effectiveness of andiroba for any medical condition. Several compounds in andiroba, including terpenes, and various alkaloids, may have beneficial effects for a variety of conditions. The most promising uses for andiroba oil are likely as an insect repellant and anti-inflammatory.
Andiroba is not listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.

Related Terms

Andiroba oil, Carapa guianensis, Carapa procera, Carapa granatum fruits, gobi, Touloucouna.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Insect repellent (Grade: C)
Andiroba oils have been traditionally used to make insect repellant-based soaps and candles. Early evidence suggests that 100% pure andiroba oil offered about the same protective effect as soy oil, while 15% andiroba oil performed slightly better than soy oil. However, neither andiroba nor soy was comparable to DEET. Additional research is needed before conclusions can be made.