Buriti: The Brazilian Tree of Life

by Edna Sousa
The Brazilian Cerrado (high desert) has been a holy place for botanist and green cosmetic chemists. Occupying 20 percent of the nation’s territory, the Brazilian Cerrado, located in the Central East region of Brazil, is very diverse and has the most interesting fauna and flora in the country. It’s a savannah-like swamp in one season and very dry in another. Among many beautiful species was born the palm tree, called Buriti meaning Tree of Life in Tupi language.

The government headquarters in Brasilia is called Palacio do Buriti (Buriti Palace), named after the most abundant tree in the region.

The entire tree has multiple uses, which makes it very sustainable and planet friendly. The fibers are used for handcrafts (bags, jewels, rags, clothes and hammocks); the heart is eaten as “heart of palm” (or palmito in Portuguese); the fruits give off oil used in the culinary arts and as a natural medicine for detox and insect bites. The fruit is also found in arts & crafts and fashion accessories.

Buriti plant is abundant in Brazil and has been used for centuries by the Native population. Its oil is orange-reddish in color due to the high density of carotenoids and B complex found in its composition. And that is big reason why it’s oil is used in the food industry and in cosmetic for anti-aging, bath and sun block products mostly.

For beauty purposes, the oil of Buriti has high concentration of essential fatty acids, palmitic and oleic, Vitamin A, C and E, with high stability point, which is a great challenge for cosmetic formulators. So, look for beauty product with Buriti in the ingredients list, as the benefits for hair and skin are precioso.

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