Annatto, Bixa orellana, is a shrub indigenous to the Caribbean and Central America. When ripe, the heart-shaped fruit pod splits in half to reveal about fifty seeds encased in a red pulp, which is the source of the color. It is one of the few internationally permitted natural food dyes. Central and South American Indians used the seeds as a lipstick giving this plant its other name, the lipstick tree. Annatto, often used to treat burns, has been used for centuries to condition hair and skin. It contains vitamins A and D and beta-carotene. In body care products, Annatto oil acts as an emollient, is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, and provides antioxidant benefits while adding a rich sunny color.
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