Buriti Oil may be the nectar of the Gods – at least in Brazil. Moriche Palm, Mauritia flexuosa, also known as the Buriti tree, is a palm tree that grows in and near swamps and other wet areas in tropical South America. Locals call it the “Tree of Life”, the literal translation of Buriti. The whole tree has a variety of uses and may indeed be a rare gem in the Amazon jungle.
Buriti (pronounced bu-REE-chee) palms grow to a height of up to 35 meters with a spread of palms resembling a rounded crown. Beautiful pale yellow flowers adorn the tree from December to April, and from December to June an almost artificial-looking protruding fruit grows. The almost perfectly shaped fruit has glossy maroon scales and the edible, yellow, fleshy fruit has a high vitamin C content.
Buriti palm is suitable for human use in a variety of ways. The sweet fruit is used to make drinks, preserves and ice cream. Buriti oil is high in vitamin A and is cold pressed from the pulp. Locals use the medicinal oil to treat burns because of its soothing qualities. The flower buds are eaten as a vegetable and the sap can be turned into a juice or left to ferment to make a wine. Ropes and cords are locally produced from the fibers of the tree.
In the cosmetic world, Buriti oil is highly prized for its essential Fatty Acids and emollients that work overtime to keep skin smooth. The antioxidant properties of Buriti oil also have skin repairing and protective properties. In fact, the concentration of carotene in Buriti oil is even higher than in carrot oil.
Gradually, we are seeing Buriti oil enter the mainstream cosmetic market. Look for big players like The Body Shop to launch a new collection of baby care products featuring Buriti oil in Fall 2008. The collection called “Buriti Baby” highlights skin softening, ultra-gentle cleansing and protection for baby’s sensitive skin. Products range from shampoo to baby body oil and include accessories made from organic cotton and renewable bamboo.
But Buriti oil isn’t just for babies. Countless health food stores now carry oil, peanuts as scrubs, and even fruit. Americans are now learning how valuable this miracle fruit can be for our health and beauty in meeting a wide variety of needs.