Batana oil is extracted from the nut of the American palm and has always been traditionally used in Honduras as a skin and hair treatment, and it has been referred to as the miracle oil. The native American Moskitia people called themselves Tawira, meaning People of beautiful hair.
Grown wild in nature
The American oil palm (Elaeis oleifera) occurs naturally over a large part of the Moskitia and is especially common along the low-lying coast. Unlike its well-known relative, the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), it is rarely planted. Meaning it is not commercially grown, only grown wild. It grows in marshland, swamps, secondary seasonally flooded forests, and among mangroves. These ecosystems are found around Caratasca and other lagoons and in the canals that branch out from the Kruta River. Moskitia communities use the oil palm leaves in house construction, but they value the fruit more.
The harvesting is embarked year-round and by the men; women typically handle the processing. Fruits are sun-dried for two to three days, cooked, and processed with a mortar and pestle to separate the fibrous pulp from the seed. The pulp (wina batana) is used in cooking and as a fuel, and the white endocarp surrounding the seed (kisuma batana) is processed into batana oil (ojón), which has been used for generations as a skin treatment and hair care product.