Historically Maori extracted the green oil from the hard black seed of titoki for medicinal purposes including the treatment of sore or inflamed eyes, wounds and open sores, chapped skin and bruises, sore breasts, and rheumatic joints.
Some sources say the oil is a good skin softener, and it was also taken internally as a laxative. The oil was also steeped or blended with other natural perfumes to use as a body or hair oil.
Tītoki oil was the best quality oil available to Māori but because it was so difficult to extract, it was highly valued for its scarcity. Early European watchmakers used it as a lubricant in their trade.