Urucum, Urucú, Atsuete, Roucou, Annatto, Achiote... The scientific name is Bixa Orellena, a shrub bush found in Central to South American regions.
Ancient civilizations used it for medicine, to treat snake bites, and fight bacterial infections because of it’s strong antioxidant properties like cis-bixin, carotenoids, vitamin A and minerals like calcium, sodium, and iron. It has a relatively high content of fiber and folate and a high concentration of tocotrienols, which are similar to vitamin E.
Today, urucum is used in a variety of areas: food, cosmetics, medicinal pharmaceuticals, dye and textiles.
Urucum can be used as an oil for hair. It can also be turned into a paste for hair masks, shampoo or conditioner.
It prevents frizz, protects hair and scalp from sun radiation, rebuilds split ends, regenerates hair structure, and smooths and moisturizes. The result is stronger hair that has extra bounce, shine, and is most loved for the definition it gives to curls (if you have curly hair).
IUrucum has regenerative properties to support healthier, luminescent skin. High levels of vitamin A & D help the production of collagen and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. In addition, the tocotrienols has a very similar structure to vitamin E, which is one of the reasons it’s so sought after for the treatment of skin.
It’s often used as an emollient or moisturizer because of its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent abilities. It’s antioxidant properties are so strong that it was historically used to treat wounds and burns, sometimes even snake bites.
Urucum seeds have detoxing and antibacterial properties when ingested internally. Studies have indicated it has detoxes and strengthens the liver, helps prevent osteoporosis and bone loss, balances cholesterol, reduces triglycerides and increases good HDL. One study found an ancient civilization used it to treat gonorrhea. Recent research suggests it helps with hypertension and acts as a muscle relaxant.
It’s free of toxicity and commonly found in the food industry (like in coloring cheese).