The baobab (Pronounced Bey - Oh - Bab) tree is an icon of the African Savannah, a symbol of life and positivity in a landscape where little else can thrive. Growing wild in 32 countries across the continent, it is at the heart of many traditional remedies and folklore and can have a lifespan of up to 5000 years.
The baobab is a prehistoric species which predates both mankind and the splitting of the continents over 200 million years ago. Native to the African Savannah where the climate is extremely dry and arid, the Baobab has adapted to its environment. It is a succulent which means that during the rainy season it absorbs and stores water in its vast trunk, enabling it to produce a nutrient-dense fruit in the dry season when all around is dry and arid. This is how it became known as "The Tree of Life".
Baobab trees can grow for up to 5,000 years. They can reach up to 30 meters high and up to a huge 50 meters in circumference. Baobab trees can provide shelter, food and water for animals and humans, which is why many Savannah communities have made their homes near Baobab trees.
Baobab Fruit Pulp
While many people know the baobab tree, not many people know that it has a fruit - and even less know that this fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.
In fact, every part of the baobab tree is valuable - the bark can be turned into rope and clothing, the seeds can be used to make cosmetic oils, the leaves are edible and can store water and the fruit pulp is extraordinarily rich in nutrients. Women in Africa have turned to the baobab fruit as a natural source of health and beauty for centuries.
Baobab is the only fruit in the world to dry naturally on the branch. This means the fruit simply needs to be harvested, deseeded and sieved to produce a 100% natural fruit pulp powder.
Baobab powder is deliciously sweet and citrussy - ideal for boosting smoothies, drinks, breakfast and any dish.
Baobab is an extremely rich source of vitamin C. It is almost 50% fibre and has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit. The benefits of baobab include:
- Energy release
- Immune function
- Digestive health
- Healthy, younger-looking skin
It is also almost 50% fibre (half soluble and half insoluble) and contains more antioxidants than any other whole fruit.
As it is a natural source of these nutrients, it is more bioavailable than manufactured vitamin supplements, meaning our bodies can absorb the nutrients more easily, ensuring a greater uptake.
The human body can not make its own vitamin C (unlike other animals), so we need to make sure we get a good supply from the foods we eat every day.
A single serving of Baobab Powder (10g or 2-3 teaspoons) provides: 33% of your daily Vitamin C requirement (NRV)
Vitamin C is essential to the effective functioning of our bodies for a number of reasons. It contributes to normal:
1. Collagen formation supporting healthy skin, teeth, gums, cartilage, bones and blood vessels
2.Energy release, energy-yielding metabolism and reduction of tiredness and fatigue
3. Immune function
4. Functioning of the nervous system and psychological function
5. Protection of cells from oxidative stress
6. Absorption of iron vitamin C actually increases your body's absorption of iron, which is why vitamin C-rich baobab and iron-rich moringa work so well together
Baobab is almost 50% fibre. There are two types of fibre that your body needs: soluble and insoluble - and baobab contains equal quantities of both. The soluble fibre in baobab helps slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream, reducing energy spikes.
Fibre can help maintain a healthy digestive system including bowel regularity and can be helpful for weight management as it helps you feel fuller for longer.
According to The Journal of Nutrition, Baobab has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit.
Baobab powder has twice the antioxidants gram per gram of goji berries and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined.
Antioxidants are essential for protecting, repairing and preventing cell damage. Antioxidants are essential for supporting the ageing process of the skin - particularly over the long-term. They counteract oxidative stress and the effects of free radicals . Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen causing skin dryness, fine lines, wrinkles and premature ageing.
Baobab is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C which supports collagen formation (see above) - helping give you radiant glowing skin.
COOKING WITH BAOBAB FRUIT PULP
The addition of Skin Gourmet's Baobab Fruit Pulp to your meals can fast track your digestive wellness and provide lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Even though Baobab Super fruit Powder has a slightly sweet taste, it is low in sugar and has less than 1 gram of fat in a half cup of powder.
WILD BAOBAB JUICE
2 - 3 Table Spoons of Skin Gourmet's Baobab Fruit Pulp
2 Cups of Water
50 Grams of Chopped Ginger
3 - 6 Table Spoons of Skin Gourmet's Wild Northern Honey
A Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
Put in the Blender all the ingredients and blend first with a cup of water on high.
When well blended, add the remaining cups of water and blend on high again for 3 - 5 minutes.
Simply add ice and drink or, for a smoother drink, sieve the juice to remove the healthy fiber (to each his own), then add ice and drink.
Add white wine if you would like to make it interesting.
BAOBAB CHEESECAKE WITH PASSION FRUIT
600 Grams of Cream Cheese
40 Skin Gourmet's Cocoa Butter
120 Grams of Wholemeal Plain Biscuits (Digestives)
50 Grams of Golden Granulated Sugar
2 Table Spoons of Skin Gourmet's Wild Northern Honey
50 Grams of Skin Gourmet's Baobab Fruit Pulp
Juice of Half a lemon
5 - 10 Grams of Grated Ginger
20cm Flat Tin (with loose base)
1 Passion Fruit & and a Pinch of Fresh Mint Leave
Melt the butter over a low heat. Crush the biscuits to form fine crumbs and add to the melted Skin Gourmet's Cocoa Butter.
Once blended together, press the mixture into the base of the greased flan tin.
Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, Skin Gourmet's Wild Northern Honey and Skin Gourmet's Baobab Fruit Pulp until the consistency is smooth. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon and mix thoroughly.
Carefully spoon the mixture onto the pressed breadcrumbs and spread evenly across the dish.
Cover the flan tin with foil and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Decorate the top of the cake with freshly squeezed passion fruit & mint leaves.
AFRICAN BAOBAB & GROUNDNUT STEW
Peanut stews are traditional across West Africa. This version is African with the addition of Skin Gourmet's Baobab Fruit Pulp which gives a subtle tang and balances out the rich & spicy flavors. We like ours thick and served over rice but you can also thin it out with extra stock to turn it into a soup.
This recipe is inspired by Aduna World Foods
1 Tablespoon of Skin Gourmet's Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
1/2 of a Red Onion, Diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Inch of Fresh Ginger, Peeled and Minced
1/4 Tablespoon Salt (you might need more if your Groundnut Butter is Unsalted)
Dash of Cayenne Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
1 Medium Sweet potato, Chopped into 1/2" cubes
2-3 Cups of Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon of Skin Gourmet's Wild Northern Honey
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup of Smooth, Natural Groundnut Paste
3 Cups of Roughly Chopped Kale or Swiss Chard
Brown Rice to Serve (optional)
Roasted Groundnuts (optional)
Add the oil to a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, spices and salt and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the sweet potato, vegetable broth and Skin Gourmet's Wild Northern Honey and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, add the groundnut and tomato paste and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft, stir in the kale and cook until wilted.
Remove from the heat and stir in the baobab powder. Check for seasoning.
Serve over brown or white rice (if desired) and top with chopped roasted peanuts.
Cold Pressed Baobab Oil
Baobab oil is obtained from the seeds of the Baobab tree. The oil is quite viscous, with a rich, silky feel and a mild aroma. Baobab oil is an excellent moisturizer and ideal for numerous cosmetic applications. It is one of the few oils which is added in its raw state in cosmetic products. Baobab oil is one of the most prominent oils from Africa.
These are the healing therapeutic properties of baobab oil.
- Emollient – It is an excellent moisturizer for the skin.
- Insulator – It protects the skin from excessive high and low temperatures.
- Rejuvenator – It promotes rejuvenation of skin cells.
- Non-siccative – It does not dry for a long time.
- Cicatrizant – promote wound healing.
- Antioxidant – It prevents the skin from free radical damage.
- Anti-Inflammatory – because of the presence of omega fatty acids in it.
Color, Taste and Aroma
The oil has deep golden yellow color, earthy aroma and a nutty taste.
The biggest use of baobab oil is as a cosmetic agent. One can use it directly on the skin, or combine it with other natural ingredients, like essential oils to impart certain benefits.
Massage Oil -
Baobab oil has a really different texture that most other oils. One can use it as massage oil to get silky, smooth skin. The massage is easily facilitated because of this oil. Massage with this oil is good for dry, damaged skin. It helps the skin to restructure and heal itself. This way, it can help to heal dry skin patches. It is quickly absorbed into the skin. However, it does not leave the skin completely dry because of its non-siccative property.
Stretch Marks -
Baobab oil is a nice home remedy for stretch marks. Regular application on area affected by stretch marks reduces the appearance and depth of these marks. It is possible that the oil stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis under the skin to heal the stretch marks. Similarly, it can be used to heal wound scars, like post surgical scars.
Moisturizing Lotion -
After the shower, apply a small amount of baobab oil on the skin. This helps to lock in the moisture. The oil is readily absorbed, thus leaving a non greasy feeling within a few minutes. Alternatively, one can add it to a moisturizing lotion to increase its effectiveness.
Chapped Lips -
Baobab oil is naturally great for chapped lips. Just a small amount of oil applied to the lips gets rid of the chapped lips condition.
Hair Conditioner -
Baobab oil is heated gently and then applied on the scalp for a hot oil conditioning. Cover with a shower cap for a few hours and then wash it off. This leaves the hair soft and noticeably silky. It also adds some volume to the hair. Applying baobab oil to the hair protects them from damage by sun and free radicals which leaves the hair separated, damaged and frizzy.
Nail Care -
Soak the hands and feet in baobab oil. It makes them soft and easy to take care of. This is helpful in mild ingrown toenail as well, as the nail becomes soft and easy to pull out. This nail treatment prevents them from unwanted breakage.
Dental Care -
Baobab oil is traditionally used to heal swollen, inflamed gums. It can be massage directly on the gums to protect them from inflammation.
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3. Three major tree nut oils of southern central Africa: Their uses and future as commercial base oils. N. Zimba, S. Wren A. Stucki. International Journal of Aromatherapy
4. Modifications of hepatic drug metabolizing enzyme activities in rats fed baobab seed oil containing cyclopropenoid fatty acids. A.A. Andrianaivo-Rafehivola, M.-H. Siess, E.M. Gaydou. Food and Chemical Toxicology
5. Effect of Cyclopropenoid Compounds on the Carcinogenic Activity of Diethylnitrosamine and Aflatoxin B in Rats. J. E. Nixon, O. Sinnhuber, D. J. Lee, M. K. Landers and J. R. Harr. Oxford JournalsMedicine JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst Volume 53, Issue 2