Baobab – the genuine nutraceutical superfruit
Baobab, a tree plant belonging to the Malvaceae family, is a little wonder of versatility and its fruit an exotic all-rounder. Or, to use the scientific term, a nutraceutical superfruit. Adansonia digitata grows in Africa’s Sub-Sahara semi-arid and sub-humid regions. The biggest specimens are 30 meters in height and have a diameter of up to 11 meters.
The trees can get really old. Carbon dating showed that one Baobab in Namibia was 1,275 years old. A single tree can hold up to 4,500 litres of water. Shortly before waterless season the tree sucks all the water from the fruits and stores it in his trunk. That’s why the fruits are naturally dehydrated before they are ripe.
A major tree will produce 160 to 250 fruits. The fruit crop is transported to the processing centre where the fruits are cracked open and the dry fruit pulp is taken out and ground to a powder. Baobab production meets the standards of sustainable and fair trade.
The tree of life
Indigenous people use every part of the tree – leaves, roots and fruits – as food and medicine for humans and animals. The strong and durable bark is used for baskets, fiber and cloth.
The fields of application are as comprehensive as the nutritional properties. The fruit contains an exceptionally high content of Vitamin C. In some areas in Africa locals mix the fruit pulp with water or fresh milk. This drink is beneficial for pregnant women and is also used as nourishment for babies).
Medicinal benefits of the Baobab fruit pulp are abundant. It is used internally in cases of dysentery and diarrhea and as immunostimulant. Precise fields of application and benefits have been described in the Spring 2014 issue of this magazine.
This article is available in full in the Autumn 2015 issue of Nutraceuticals Now