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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

What is Marula Oil? Marula benefits + a recipe!

What Is Marula Oil

What is marula oil?


The marula tree is a deciduous African tree that produces yellow, plum-like fruits.

Women in the tropical, sub-Saharan regions of Africa have been eating marula fruits, and using the kernels to make marula oil for thousands of years.

Marula oil is a light, silky, pale yellow oil with a faintly nutty aroma.

It doesn’t clog pores, yet penetrates skin deeply to infuse it with hydration and inflammation-calming nutrients, like vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Specifically, marula oil is rich in oleic and linoleic fatty acids, the antioxidant vitamins C and E, and an antioxidant phytochemical called “epicatechin,” which is also found in foods like blackberries, tea leaves, and dark chocolate. 

Making marula oil

Making marula oil is no quick-and-easy process!

Each marula fruit holds a nut, and inside the nut is the kernel—this is where the oil is stored. The women work hard to crack the fibrous nuts by hand on stone slabs, cold pressing the kernels (also by hand) for the oil.

Marula oil is a wonderful choice in blends to:

    • Protect and nourish the skin
    • Balance oily skin and hair 
    • Comfort and repair damaged skin
    • Calm redness and inflammation
    • Infuse very dry skin with rich moisture
    • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles in mature skin
    • Encourage a gentle flow of circulation

Here’s a recipe for using marula oil to get the lymph moving through your body.

This recipe is helpful when you feel the need to detox, circulate sluggish energy, reduce swelling, and support your body’s immune health.

Move the Lymph Massage Oil

    • 1 oz (30 ml) Marula oil (Sclerocarya birrea)
    • 5 drops Juniper Berry essential oil (Juniperus communis)
    • 5 drops Lemon essential oil (Citrus limon)
    • 3 drops Sandalwood essential oil (Santalum album)

To make this blend, combine all of the ingredients in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle.

Shake gently. Then use it for gentle massage over puffy, red areas. It’s also great as an all-over massage to get your lymph moving so you feel more vital, healthy, and energized. (Try it under your arms!)

MoveThe Lymph Massage Oil Recipe

Head and Neck Pain Relief Oil

This post was originally published in April of 2011. It has been updated with new information. 

Founder at Aromahead Institute
Andrea Butje is an internationally-recognized Aromatherapist who has changed the educational paradigm through her inspired approach to teaching essential oils and Aromatherapy Certification. Check out her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy, at Aromatics International!

Topics: Our Distiller Trips, marula oil, South African Carrier Oils

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