Cohune oil

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Cohune oil
IUPAC name
Cohune oil
Other names
Cohune nut oil
Cohune palm oil
  • none
Density 1000 kg/m3, liquid (4 °C) (62.4 lb/cu. ft)
917 kg/m3, solid
Melting point 28 °C[1]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).

Cohune oil is pressed from the seeds of the cohune palm, which is native to Central and South America.

Along with other byproducts of the palm, cohune oil is believed to have been used by cultures in southern Mesoamerica since the pre-Columbian era, in particular by the Maya. Uses of the oil include as a lubricant, for cooking, soapmaking and lamp oil. For this latter purpose the oil was placed in earthenware or soapstone lamps and lit with a wick, for cooking and illumination.

Cohune oil is made up of the following portions of fatty acids:[2]

Fatty acid Percentage
Caprylic 7.5%
Capric 6.5%
Lauric 46.5%
Myristic 16.0%
Palmitic 9.5%
Stearic 3.0%
Oleic 10.0%
Linoleic 1.0%


Cohune oil is generally not used commercially because the cohune palm is very difficult to break open.[3] However, the manufacture and usage of the oil continues among certain contemporary Maya communities in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.[4][5]


  1. ^ Dweck, Anthony (2011). Formulating Natural Cosmetics (PDF). Allured Pub Corp. ISBN 978-1-932633-75-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-12-26. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  2. ^ Axtell, B.L. (1992). "Cohune palm". Minor Oil Crops. from research by R.M. Fairman. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 92-5-103128-2. OCLC 26187175. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
  3. ^ Cohune oil at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. ^ Gann, Thomas W.F. (1918). The Maya Indians of Southern Yucatan and Northern British Honduras (PDF online facsimile of original, digitized [2008] by the Internet Archive). Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin no. 64. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. pp. 17, 31, 130–131. OCLC 424421.
  5. ^ Schlesinger, Victoria (2001). Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya: A Guide. Juan C. Chab-Medina (illus.), foreword by Carlos Galindo-Leal. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 116–119. ISBN 0-292-77759-0. OCLC 46937482.

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