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Candlenut Tree

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Aleurites moluccana

Botanical Family:


Other Common Name:

Akhoda, Belgaum walnut,  Candleberry, Country walnut, Dau lai, Indian walnut, Jamaican walnut,  Kukui, Lumbang oil, Shi Li Zi, Tuitui, Nois des Moluques,  Otaheite walnut, Singapore nut.

Common names in Spanish:

Árbol de Indias, Avellano, Nogal de la India, Nuez de Brasil, Nuez de la India, Palo de la India, Palo de nuez.

Where is it found?

The tree is originally from Indonesia, but is now cultivated in the West Indies and South America, especially in Brazil.

  • Some ads incorrectly mention that this tree is native to the Amazon region

Parts of the plant used:

  • The fruits, leaves, and seeds

How is it used?

  • The seed oil is used to light torches
  • The seed is used in very small amounts as a condiment, because of its irritating and purgative action
  • Somewhat recently, certain companies have touted the seed as a “natural remedy” to lose weight
  • Some ads on the internet mention that a very small portion of the seed should be boiled in water prior to taking it before bedtime, although no exact dose has been specified

What is it used for?

  • The fruits, leaves, and seeds are used in traditional Asian medicine for the treatment of various health issues including:
  • Headache
  • Morning sickness during pregnancy (taking the seed during pregnancy is dangerous and should be avoided)
  • Fever
  •  Inflammation
  • Gonorrhea (a sexually-transmitted disease or STD)
  • To lower cholesterol levels  in the blood
  • Certain internet sites  mention the seed is useful for a great variety of health conditions including arthritis, baldness, cellulite, constipation, hemorrhoids, to improve skin conditions, as an appetite suppressant, and to stop smoking
  • However, there are no known published studies to confirm any of the supposed “health benefits”
  • The potential toxicity of the seeds and other parts of the plant is due to compounds that are irritating  and act as strong purgatives
  • The same compounds  also act as potent tumor promoters
  • Ingestion of the seeds causes vomiting, gastrointestinal pain, and diarrhea


Safety / Precautions


  • Various countries across the world have banned the seed due to its confirmed toxicity
  • There are no known clinical studies to verify the seeds’ efficacy or safety for weight loss or any other health claims
  • Avoid during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in small children, and the elderly.
  • The seeds can have a drastic purgative action
  • Patients suffering from any form of liver, heart or kidney disease should avoid ingesting the seed
  • Some people may be allergic to the leaves or seeds

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!



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    Retreived May 4, 2017.
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