Monoi de Tahiti: Coconut oil and Tiare.
MONOI means sacred oil. It has been used since the mists of time by Polynesians for its moisturizing virtues as well as in traditional pharmacopoeia.
No other product can boast 2,000 years of successful individual testing. It is specific to French Polynesia because it is made from 'Tiare' flowers (Gardenia tahitensis) that are soaked in coprah oil (Coconut Oil).
Monoi de Tahiti Appellation d'Origine (AO) is the first cosmetic product to be protected by an international decree. For your guarantee of origin and quality make sure the following stamp is affixed to the product's label.
The Tiare flower (Gardenia tahitensis), is Tahiti's national flower. That variety, which is adapted to the Polynesian soils, grows everywhere in French Polynesia and blossoms all year long. The air is full with the sweet-smelling fragrance of this small white flower that grows on small 3-foot tall bushes.
This flower is native to the Pacific Region and requires the action of men for its asexual reproduction, which therefore is achieved without seeds. The Gardenia Tahitensis bushes grow best on soils of coral origin.
Tiare flowers are deeply rooted in the Polynesian cultural life. Indeed, they are much used in the flower necklaces which are offered to tourists as a welcome token on their arrival. The vahine (Polynesian women) also use them everyday to enhance their beauty. Among all Tahitian plants, the Tiare is the one which is most used in traditional medicine. Although its active principles are not known yet, one thing is certain: the Tiare is absolutely NOT toxic.
Another symbolic element of the Polynesian environment is also an ingredient of MONOI. The coconut tree, called " haari " in Tahitian (Cocos nucifera), from the Palm tree family, and which was introduced during the first migrations, perfectly adapted itself to the Polynesian soil and climate. Since the export of coconut oil resulted in a substantial need in coconuts a century ago, the coconut tree has ranked first in the Polynesian flora, which is reflected by the great number of coconut groves around Polynesia.
Since it is widely used in the domestic life, in the diet and in traditional medicine the coconut tree is closely associated with the settlement of the islands and atolls of French Polynesia. We will mention here only a few of the numerous uses associated with it. Its dried leaves make up the roofs of "fare" (Polynesian houses); its trunk is used in carpentry work. The coconut water "pape haari" is the perfect drink to quench one's thirst. Its pulp, when grated then squeezed, provides coconut milk, one of the basic ingredients in the Polynesian diet.
Refined coconut oil (coprah oil) is mainly used in the making of MONOI, and thus gives its natural moisturizing virtues. Once dried and grated, the pulp gives the famous coconut oil. Coconuts are harvested in the islands and atolls: the pulp is taken out of the shell and then dried under the sun. The dried pulp is then transported to the refinery, where the coconut oil is extracted through a pressing process.
Natural Coconut oil will solidify at a temperature below 22°c (72°F).
When the Monoi oil has solidified, it is necessary to expose it to heat (natural sun, hot water or close to a heat source).
For the Monoi oil to retain its properties during this process it is strongly advised NOT to use in a microwave.