Macadamia nut oil obviously comes from the Macadamia integrifolia tree which originates in Australia. It’s an evergreen with long white to pink/purple flowers and the tree can reach up to 12 metres. The name was given by German born Australian pharmacist and botanist Baron Ferdinand Jakob Heinrich von Mueller in 1857, to honour the Scottish-Australian scientist and chemist John Macadam.
The oil is rich in essential fatty acids and contains approximately 80 percent monounsaturated fats, like oleic acid, which protects against heart disease and reduces cholesterol levels. The oil also has a high concentration of Omega 7 – Palmitoleic acid, the best plant alternative to animal and fish based oil and a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy cell membranes, moisturises, restructures and heals the skin: a perfect carrier for all anti-ageing products. RINGANA uses the oil in some of their certified natural cosmetics:
The Macadamia integrifolia is of enormous commercial importance and is threatened in the wild due to this. The wild nut trees were originally found at Mount Bauple, south of Maryborough near Fraser Island, Queensland. Locals in this area still refer to them as ‘Bauple nuts’. The first Macadamia specimens were collected by the Prussian explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichardt in 1843. The first commercial orchard of Macadamia trees was planted in the early 1880s by Charles Staff at Rous Mill near Lismore NSW, but, due to the small crops it gave, wasn’t very successful. Australian fruit-grower H.J. Rumsey found out that the trees were only 12 feet apart and was convinced that they should be 30 feet apart to get a good crop.
In 1882, English plant collector and investor William Herbert Purvis, manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele, introduced Macadamia seeds into the Hawaiian Islands after he visited Australia, and planted them at Kapulena. A couple of years later, Macadamias became an important tree crop in Hawaii which today is a major producer of the nut, together with Australia. Other countries where Macadamias are commercially produced are South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, and Malawi.