Baobab oil comes from Baobab trees, a group of nine trees in the genus Adansonia. The oil and other elements from these trees have been shown to have some incredible health properties that make it a perfect item to add to your daily routine.
This article will go over the history of the Baobab Tree, how Baobab oil is extracted, and the amazing benefits that the oil (and even the fruit) can have on your everyday life. It is often referred to as the ‘Tree of Life’ and as you will learn, this is an adept description for such an amazing product. Keeping reading to learn about how you can use this traditional product to transform your own life within a matter of days.
Baobab tress are the largest succulent plants in the world. They are surrounded by legends, folktales, and superstition and have become a huge part of the communities in which they commonly grow. They provide a mix of food, water, shelter, and traditional medicine. As the benefits of baobab trees have become more widely known they have grown in prominence and are becoming easier to access outside of locations where they are native.
Most Baobab trees are indigenous to Africa. Six of the species are native to the island of Madagascar, two are native to mainland Africa, and one to Australia. These trees are beautiful and inviting, which led colonists to introduce them to Asia and the Caribbean. They can reach heights of up to 98 feet and have trunk diameters up to 36 feet. Because of their size people can take shelter underneath them and/or use them for shade from the hot African sun.
A little About Baobab Trees
The trunk of the tree is extremely tall, with the branches jutting out at the very top in quick, sharp angles. In the summer baobab trees produce heavy, white flowers that have a sweet scent. The flowers only open at night and they are pollinated by the nocturnal fruit bat. Within 24 hours the flowers turn a dark brown colour and start smelling musty. In the dry season the flowers transition to long green or brownish fruits that look like small gourds. Underneath the hard shell the fruit is soft, white pulp with kidney-shaped seeds. Once the fruit is ripe it drops off the tree and makes the long journey to the ground. The hard outer casing helps to protect the inner pulp.
They are Pretty Big
The enormity of these trees is one of the many things that make them absolutely wonderful. While their size might seem rather impractical. They can store up to 4,500 litres of water, which means that they can survive in up areas that experience severe droughts. They also live for a remarkably long time. The oldest living baobab tree today is estimated to be up to 6,000 years old, and is still producing and assisting people. Imagine utilizing the resources of a tree that has been in existence for that long.
Baobab Trees and Mythology
It has been woven into the mythology of many African cultures and is often used as a symbol of African identity. There is a legend that says a mighty God had a baobab in his garden in paradise. The tree was so beautiful that he became annoyed with overshadowing him and cast it from paradise. The tree fell down to Earth, landing upside down and with its roots jutting out into the sky and its beautiful foliage buried deep in the ground.
This taught the tree to have humility and today it is known as the ‘upside-down tree’ in many areas because of this story. The story explains the unusual branches of the tree, which indeed to look more like roots than then branches. It is also often referred to as the ‘monkey bread tree’ and the ‘cream of tartar tree’ depending on what part of Africa the tree is growing in.
Focus of the Article
While this article will focus on the benefits that baobab trees and oil have for people the trees are also important for many animals. Birds, such as weavers often use it for nesting sites. Other animals often use it for shade and water, and will even crack open and eat the fruit after it has fallen to the ground.
Uses of Baobab Trees
These large and powerful trees have been used for fibre, dye, fuel, and many other things for thousands of years. The wealth of resources has allowed many traditional communities to survive and improve their way of life. Thanks to modern technology it is now easier than ever to reap the benefits of these trees even if you don’t live in an area where they commonly grow.
The Baobab Fruit
The fruit itself can be consumed. The tree is not domesticated, instead locals in rural areas harvest the fruits by collecting them after wild trees have dropped them on the ground. The increase in popularity of the baobab fruit and oil has helped these rural villagers improve their lives and become more economically independent. Unlike most other fruits, it dries out completely while still on the tree and then falls to the ground. Because of the out casing it is well protected and to be eaten the fruit has to undergo minimal processing. Because processing can often pull nutrients out of food this lack of processing allows as many of the nutrients to reach your body as possible.
The pulp is a creamy white powder that melts in the mouth and has a unique, but pleasant flavour with a tangy taste. It can be used in drinks and baked goods. In many parts of Africa, it is used to make ice cream. In Sudan, it is mixed with cold water to create a drink called “gubdi.”
Benefits of the Baobab Fruit
The fruit pulp has many important nutrients that can help improve your health. It’s basically a one stop shop for many of the things you regularly need in a healthy diet. Read below to learn all the facts about what this fruit has to offer:
Baobab fruit has an incredibly high level of Vitamin C, three to six times higher than most oranges, which is what most Western consumers use to increase their vitamin C intake. It also has more vitamin C than cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Even better, the vitamin C in the pulp can be easily digested into a person’s body and can get to work right way protecting your cells from damage from cancer causing free radicals and improving your ability to absorb iron and calcium. It will even improve your skin by helping form collagen and connective tissues.
The fruit contains pectin, an important substance that helps in digestion and also improve your ability to balance your sugar levels. This is wonderful for people who experience regular digestive issues and those who suffer from diabetes.
It contains lots of soluble and insoluble fibre. These fibres also help improve your digestion by keeping your intestines healthy and increase the healthy gut flora in your stomach. Combined with the pectin this is an ideal food for people who struggle with healthy digestion.
Baobab fruit is also a great source of calcium. The recommended daily calcium intake is 500 mg/day and a it can provide anywhere from 116 to 370 mg. In Senegal many children and pregnant women eat baobab fruit for this reason. It’s a great food for people who cannot consume dairy milk.
It is a great source of much needed potassium. Can you believe that it can contain up to 4 times more potassium than a banana!
Low in Sodium
Baobab fruit is also low in sodium, so not annoying bloating or other negative side effects that could be dangerous for your health. Other nutrients present in the pulp of baobab fruit include magnesium, zinc, manganese, essential fatty acids, phosphorus, protein and B vitamins.
It’s hard to believe that so many amazing nutrients are contained within a single fruit! Africans have been aware of the Baobab fruit’s abilities for thousands of years. It is time for everyone to be able to take advantage of this amazing resource.
While the fruit can be eaten on its own, as briefly mentioned earlier, it can also be used to transform other foods, like ice cream. The powdery fruit can thicken jams and gravies and sweeten fruit drinks. It also gives a unique and tangy flavour to hot sauces. In some areas in Africa it is even included in the beer making process.
Baobab Oil Uses and Benefits
Within the fruits from baobab trees are seeds. To create oil the seeds are first extracted from the fruit and then washing to remove the powdery coating from the fruit pulp. Next, they are air dried in the hot sun. To remove the oil from the seeds a press or expeller is used, which is commonly referred to as ‘cold pressing.” The oil is quickly filtered to ensure its clarity before being bottled and made ready for shipping.
Organic is Best
Some of the best baobab oil on the market place will have had no added fillers and remain 100 percent pure. The oil itself is a deep golden yellow colour and gives off an earthy aroma that will help calm and relax you. It will last for a long time and is strongly resistant to going rancid. However, to make it last as long as possible keep it away from direct sunlight.
Because the baobab tree has not been domesticated like apples, grapes, and other more common forms of fruit it is harder to acquire and can be hard to find in most super markets. However, the oil is easy to ship and to find in stores near you. It’s a great way to access many of the health benefits of the plant if you cannot eat the fruit itself.
Top Twenty Uses and Benefits of Baobab Oil
So what exactly can you do with it? Is it safe to use on your skin? What advantages does it have over other skin care products? Here is the information that you need to know:
Hair Skin and Nails
Baobab oil can be used throughout your body, including on your hair, skin, and nails. It is best to apply it directly after a bath or shower to maximize its ability to absorb into your skin. It can be used on any and all skin types. No more hunting around to see if something will work specifically for your skin, saving you time and money.
Baobab oil is a great option for people suffering from a wide variety of skin conditions, including eczema, sun spots, and actinic keratosis. It can be added to a bath to help you relax and prevent traditional soups from leeching moisture from your skin. Baobab oil can be added to the body lotions, face creams, and hair conditioners that you are already using to increase their moisturizing and protecting properties.
Massaging and Moisturizing
Baobab oil can be combined with other oils for use in massage and is a great moisturizing product. It is quickly absorbed into the skin. This means it wont leave you feeling greasy and slippery and it will not even clog your pores! Say good bye to the days of creams and oils that irritate your skin and cause unhealthy build up. Instead, baobab oil leaves your skin feeling soft and silky. Simply massage it gently into your skin.
Baobab Oil is a wonderful source of fatty acids such as Omega 3, 6, and 9. These all help keep your skin looking radiant and healthy. Fatty acids also help reduce inflammation. If you suffer from swollen arms or legs, have swelling due to an injury, or have recently had surgery, baobab oil can help make you feel better and recover more quickly.
Stretch Marks, Wound Healing and Healthy Skin
Baobab oil is a great way to help with stretch marks from pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or surgery. Even acne scars can be faded with treatment from baobab oil. No more blemishes or part of your body you are uncomfortable with. It is high in Vitamin C just like the fruit itself. Vitamin C helps keep your skin healthy and elastic. You can stop worrying about wrinkles and sagging skin as you age! It is also high Vitamin A and Vitamin B. These vitamins also help to tighten your skin and keep it hydrated. Baobab oil helps to protect your skin from excessively high or low temperatures, perfect for people exposed to a wide variety of climates
Baobab oil helps in wound healing. The vitamins and the elastic properties of the oil will help promote skin growth and rejuvenation at sites where your skin has been damaged from injury or surgery. Baobab oil is also a great way to heal chapped lips. It will help them retain moisture and help you feel better quickly.
- Baobab oil is a great hair care product. Simply heat it and apply it to your hair for hot oil conditioning. Cover your hair with a shower cap for a few hours before rinsing the oil out. You will be amazed at the results! Your hair will be softer and silkier. It also helps to add volume and protects your hair from sun damage and free radicals, which can separate and damage hair, leading to frizz and split ends. It is especially useful in natural hair.
Nail and Dental Care
Baobab oil is great for treating a variety of issues regarding nail care. You can soak your hands and/or feet in baobab oil to make your nails feel soft, making them nicer looking and easier to take care of. It is especially useful for ingrown toenails, as the nails will become soft and the ingrown area will be easier to pull out while preventing breakage and pain. It can also be of great use in dental care. The oil will help you to heal your swollen and inflamed gums. Just apply it directly onto the gums and watch the inflammation go down!
Concerns about Baobab Oil
While baobab fruit is healthy and delicious to eat and the oil is great for your skin it is not safe to consume the oil or use it any cooking. It should only be used for topical treatment.
You might not have heard of baobab oil before, but it is growing quickly in popularity and use. Do not miss out on using this amazing product. By using it you are making use of a product that has existed in various forms for thousands of years and that has long been part of traditional medicine. You are also supporting people in rural African communities who make their living collecting the fruits for consumption and the seeds for oil extraction.
It will not take long for you to see improvements in your skin and changes to your overall health that leave you looking better and feeling better than you could have ever imagined. If you have been on the fence about giving baobab oil a try now is the time.