Aleurites moluccana, also known as the kukui nut tree, is a flowering tree in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is the state tree of Hawaii and has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes: the roots and bark were used to make dyes, its trunk was used to build canoes, and various parts of the tree were used to treat ailments such as an upset stomach, oral thrush, constipation, fever, tonsillitis, phlegm, arthritis, and more. Furthermore, Hawaiians have used kukui oil, which is derived from the seed of this tree, to treat skin conditions such as dry skin, sunburn, eczema, and psoriasis.
Today, kukui seed oil is used in skin care products due to its moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Kukui seed oil has a high content of the polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acid. Both of these fatty acids help to moisturize the skin by replenishing the skin’s natural barrier function. They leave the skin feeling silky rather than greasy. Additionally, linolenic acid has the ability to reduce inflammation, which is why kukui oil may be useful for those with eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions.