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For the Italian wine grape variety also known as Carapa, see Bombino bianco.
Crabwood tree
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Carapa

See text.

Range of Carapa guianensis

Carapa is a genus of flowering plants in the mahogany family, Meliaceae. These are trees up to 30 meters tall occurring in tropical South America, Central America,[2] and Africa. Common names include andiroba and crabwood.


The list of species within this genus is still under discussion. Generally recognized species are:

Other proposed species:


The timber is important, and oil is produced from the seeds. The name andiroba is from Nheengatu nhandi rob, meaning "bitter oil". Carapa guianensis produces oil similar to neem oil.

The oil contained in the almond andiroba is light yellow and extremely bitter. When subjected to a temperature below 25 °C, solidifies, leaving consistency like that of petroleum jelly. Contains substances like olein, palmitine and the glycerin. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, healing and insecticides.

Andiroba oil is one of the most commonly sold medicinal oils in the Amazon. Mixed with honey and copaiba, it is a very popular anti-inflammatory medication used to combat throat infections and influenza. It also strengthens and embellishes hair, and when used in soap it acts as a magic remedy for acne. Due to its good skin penetration, it is often used in massages to relieve bruises, dislocations, arthritis and rheumatism, and acts to sooth the surface of the skin and to bleach superficial stains. It is also used to repel mosquitoes. Traditionally, an oilseed cake is formed into balls and burned and also mixed with annatto (Bixa orellana) and formed into a paste that is used to protect the body from mosquito bites.[6]

Crabwood virgim oil

Andiroba oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, myristic and linoleic acids, and contains no fatty components such as triterpenes, tannins, and alkaloids, which are isolated as Andirobina and Carapina. The bitter taste of the oil is attributed to a group of terpene chemicals called meliacins, which are very similar to the bitter antimalarial chemicals. Recently, one of these meliacins, called gedunin, was documented to have pest control properties and antimalarial effects equal to that of quinine. A chemical analysis of andiroba oil identified the anti-inflammatory named andirobina, which has healing and insect repelling properties that are attributed to the presence of limonoids. The interest in using andiroba oil in cosmetics has increased significantly, especially after the patenting of a cream by Yves Rocher, from France, that has moisturizing and anticellulite properties based on this oil. Andiroba candles are used as an effective repellent of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, a vector of yellow fever and dengue. When burned the candles release an agent that inhibits the hunger of the mosquitoes, therefore reducing its need to bite. Research has shown this method is 100% effective as a mosquito repellent, a result that is not found in any other product on the market designed to repel these insects. In addition to this property, the candle is completely non-toxic, produces no smoke, and does not contain perfume.[7]

Chemical composition of crabwood (andiroba) oil[edit]

Index Unity references values
Refractive index (40 °C) - 1,98
Iodine index gl2 65 - 75
Saponification Value mg KOH\g 190 - 210
Density (15 °C) gr\ltr 0,9261
Melting point °C 22,0
unsaponifiable matter  % 3 - 5

Fatty acids-composition of crabwood(Andiroba) oil[8][edit]

Fatty acids Unity Composition
Palmitic acid  % Weight 25 - 32
Palmitoleic acid  % Weight 0.8 - 1.5
Stearic acid  % Weight 6 - 13
Oleic acid  % Weight 45 - 58
Linoleic acid  % Weight 6 - 14
Saturated fat  % 40
Unsaturated fat  % 60


  1. ^ Vanessa Fernandes de Araújo, Andrea Camila Petry, Rosângela Martinez Echeverria, Eric Costa Fernandes e Floriano Pastore Jr. Plantas da Amazônia para Produção Cosmética, 2007.
  2. ^ Hogan, C. M. 2008. Isthmian-Atlantic moist forests. Encyclopedia of Earth, World Wildlife Fund, National Council of Science and the Environment.
  3. ^ Forget, P. M., et al. (2009). A new species of Carapa (Meliaceae) from Central Guyana. Brittonia 61(4) 366-74.
  4. ^ a b Kenfack, D. and A. J. Peréz. (2011). Two new species of Carapa (Meliaceae) from western Ecuador. Systematic Botany 36(1) 124-28.
  5. ^ Kenfack, D. (2011). Carapa vasquezii (Meliaceae), a new species from western Amazonia. Brittonia 63(1) 7-10.
  8. ^ Vanessa Fernandes de Araújo, Andrea Camila Petry, Rosângela Martinez Echeverria, Eric Costa Fernandes e Floriano Pastore Jr. Plantas da Amazônia para Produção Cosmética, 2007.

External links[edit]