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Baobab Composition and Nutritional Value

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Several authors have published about baobab food products. Data on macronutrients, micronutrients, amino acids, and fatty acids were collected from literature for pulp, leaves, seeds, and kernels of the baobab tree. 


The results show that baobab pulp is particularly rich in vitamin C; consumption of 40 g covers 84 to more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of pregnant women (19-30 years). 


The leaves are particularly rich in calcium (307 to 2640 mg/100 g dw), and they are known to contain good quality proteins with a chemical score of 0.81. 


The whole seeds and the kernels have a relatively high lipid content, 11.6 to 33.3 g/100 g dw and 18.9 to 34.7 g/100 g dw, respectively. 


The pulp and leaves exhibit antioxidant properties with a higher activity in the pulp than in the leaves. 


Reported nutrient contents of different baobab parts show a large variation, which may have arisen from various factors.

The Beautiful Baobab

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Death is a low chemical trick played on everybody except baobab trees.
- JJ Furnas

The origin of the name baobab is uncertain. Some have suggested that it comes from “bu hobab,” a name used for the plant in the markets of Cairo. Or perhaps it was derived from “bu hibab,” an Arabic designation for “the fruit with many seeds.” The trees are related to the kapok and the balsa. There are 6 species of baobab trees in Madagascar, 1 in Africa and 2 elsewhere (including Australia and Vietnam).
The baobab trees (called renala by inhabitants of Madagascar) are present almost everywhere on the island, except in the highlands and rain forest. They are most prevalent in the dry savannah of the West.

For centuries, much of what was known about baobabs was based exclusively on the African baobab (A digitata). The first recorded reference was by 14th-century Arab traveller Ibn Batuta who mentions the water-storage capacity of its massive trunk. In 1661 the writer Flacourt praised the giants – speaking about the area of Morondava, he wrote: “It is in this region that exists a tree named Anadzahé, which is monstrously stupendously large. It is hollow inside and 12 feet in diameter, round, ending in an archway like the bottom of a lamp. There are only a few small branches here and there on top. The tree is a wonder to be seen.”

Sometimes called the “upside-down tree” because of their unusual root-like branch formations, baobabs are extremely long-lived. Some specimens are believed to be more than 3,000 years old. (Two trees on an island off Cape Verde were estimated to be over 5,000 years old. Those trees have since disappeared, however, so the claim can no longer be verified.)

Girth measurements themselves are not reliable estimates of a particular tree’s age, as the conditions under which it has grown – and the climatic fluctuations of the centuries – strongly affect them – some years, they can decrease in size. There is no such thing as a “typical” baobab.
Inside its shell, the tree’s fruit contains a number of seeds, embedded in a whitish, powdery pulp. Tangy and exceedingly nutritious, the pulp makes a tasty food or, after soaking in water or milk, a refreshing beverage (with 6 times the vitamin C content of an orange). Fermented, it makes a traditional brew.
The seeds may be eaten raw or roasted. They yield an edible oil which is used for cooking and exported for use in cosmetics. The leaves, similar to spinach, are eaten as a relish, especially in times of drought and are considered medicinal – they reduce fever and diarrhœa. The pollen of the African and Australian baobabs is mixed with water to make glue.
The wood has a moisture content of 40%, making it unusuable as timber (which is lucky for the tree because it keeps it from being harvested) but the fibrous bark can be made into baskets, rugs, fishing nets, hats, ropes and the like. The tree seems impervious to having its bark stripped.

Baobab (called kuka trees in Nigeria) flower for the first time at about 20 years. In mid-summer, dozens of luminous white blossoms – the size of saucers – open at sunset and their strong musky odour attracts fruit bats and hosts of insects. Large bats seek out the generous sweet nectar and collect and distribute pollen as they move from flower to flower.

The life of a flower is short lived and it drops to the ground within hours. The resultant seeds are housed in a hairy pod which resembles a miniature rugby ball (inside of which is a white pulp from which cream of tartar is derived). Once they fall to the ground, the pods are fed upon by baboons, monkeys, antelope and elephants, which serve to disperse the hard seeds within. Humans eat them as well.

Bushbabys, squirrels, rodents, lizards, snakes, tree frogs, spiders, scorpions and insects may live out their entire lives in a single tree. Birds nest in holes in the trunk. The hollow trunks of living trees have served as homes, storage barns, places of refuge or worship, and even as prisons or tombs. One tree near Gravelotte in South Africa’s Northern Province was used as a bar where up to a dozen thirsty gold diggers could quench their thirst.

Certain tribes in the Transvaal wash baby boys in water soaked in the bark of a baobab. Then, like the tree, they will grow up mighty and strong. To this day the baobab remains at the centre of black magic rituals on the islands where they are found. Most waganga will take their subjects to a special tree, where they may tie ornaments to the branches to give a spell its power, hammer nails into the trunk to kill devils, or climb and sit in the branches whilst carrying out various ceremonies.

The wood being soft, it is subject to attacks of fungus which destroy its life, and renders the part affected easily hollowed out. This is done by natives, and within these hollows they suspend the dead bodies of those who are refused the honor of burial. There they become mummies – perfectly dry and well preserved – without any further preparation of embalmment.

Baobab Beauty Oil

August 5, 2009 Leave a comment

What is Baobab Oil made from?

Baobab Oil is made from the seeds of the baobab tree. The seeds are cold pressed and filtered. Cold pressing ensures that the valuable properties in the oil are not destroyed as could happen in a heated press.

Baobab Oil contains:

Vitamin D. Palmitic acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid. Omega 3, Omega 6 & Omega 9 Fatty Acids.
Why is Baobab Oil good for our skin?Baobab Oil contains Ω-3 (Omega 3), Ω-6 (Omega 6) and Ω-9 (Omega 9) Fatty Acids. Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 Fatty Acids are Essential Fatty Acids which are necessary for the maintenance of healthy skin. Liquid cold pressed oil from Flaxseed or Baobab are rich sources of Ω-3, Ω-6 and Ω-9 Fatty Acids.

What is an Essential Fatty Acid?

Essential fatty acids are a group of fatty acids which are required by the body. Like vitamins and minerals the body is unable to manufacture them. Thus they must be obtained through diet and by topical application to the skin. Fatty Acids can be depleted from the skin from over exposure to UV rays, poor health, poor immune systems and natural ageing. Certain drugs, such as steroids, can also deplete the skin layers of natural fats.

How can Essential Fatty Acids help our skin?

Essential Fatty Aids have the following functions in our skin:
They are important for cell membranes: Their molecules (metabolites) are one of the requirement for the structure of cell membranes.

They are important for regulating cell function: They form part of the process of producing postaglandins (a hormone like substance), which helps regulate cell function.
They help ‘water-proof’ the skin: They help maintain the impermeability barrier of the skin and stop toxic substances from entering cells. Topical application can help alleviate various skin disorders such as chronic dry skin, thin skin, chronic brusing and sun spots. It can be used for people suffering from eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, skin cancer, scaly skin disorder and non-healing wounds, such as diabetic ulcers.

Baobab Bonsai Seeds

June 22, 2009 1 comment


Adansonia digitata or African Baobab makes a unique Bonsai. Very forgiving of the conditions in which it is kept. Reaches maturity slowly, but well worth the wait. It requires plenty of sun during the summer, but water only once or twice per week during the growing season and even less frequently during the winter months.

Seed requires heavy sanding or cracking and soak in warm water for 24-48 hours prior to planting Soil must be a constant 70 degrees for seed to germinate. Hardy to US zone 9, but can be grown indoors with great success during cold periods. Our seeds are always fresh, carefully packaged and include a care and instruction sheet.

Baobab Oil for Cooking


The khumbo oil refinery is located near Michiru in Blantyre district. As an OVOP project they are making oil products such as cooking oil, soap, and body lotion which are extracted from plants like Moringa, Jatropha, Sunflower and Baobab.

The Ancient African Upside-Down Tree


The Baobab tree of Africa is known as the upside-down tree; an ancient tree of life, the baobab tree is capable of storing water vital for the survival of local nomads.

One of Africa’s ancient trees, the baobab (Adansonia digitata) is synonymous with the African plains; prevalent throughout Africa, Adansonia digitata can also be found on the island of Madagascar, where other species of the baobab tree grow. One species of the baobab tree, Adansonia gregorii, can only be found in northern Australia.

Characteristics of the African Baobab Tree
Adansonia digitata is most well known for its wide trunk, in which it can store vital life-saving water; the African baobab tree is deciduous and some are said to be thousands of years old. It produces large, aromatic flowers up to 7 inches wide; the baobab tree of Africa also produces fruit, which hangs from the branches of the tree. The fruit of the African baobab tree is particularly appealing to baboons, hence its nickname monkey-bread tree.

How the Baobab Tree Stores Water
The African baobab tree is known as the tree of life; it is capable of storing life-saving water during the drought season which is vital to local nomadic people who may not have any other means of obtaining water. Large baobab trees are said to contain more than 30,000 gallons of water; to access this water, the Kalahari bushmen use hollow pieces of grass (much like a straw) to suck the water out.

The Use of the Baobab Tree for Food
The African baobab tree is a vital nutrition source for many local tribes; the fruit of the baobab tree contains both pulp and seeds which are eaten. The pulp can also be mixed with water and made into a drink; the seeds of the baobab tree can be eaten alone or mixed with millet. The seeds can also be traded for the extraction of the oil or eaten in a paste; seedlings and young leaves are eaten like asparagus or are used in salads.

Living in the Trunk of a Baobab Tree
The hollow trunk of the baobab tree (either aged naturally or through human intervention) is a place where native people have stored grain, water or livestock. The size of some baobab trees is so great that natives have used the hollow of the baobab tree trunk in which to live.

The Baobab Tree for Medicine
The African baobab tree has many medicinal uses; the baobab tree is high in vitamin C and calcium and therefore the leaves and fruit are eaten to protect against illness. The bark of the African baobab tree is used to treat fever; its medicinal use was considered to be of such value that Europeans used the bark in place of cinchona bark (from where quinine was obtained) to protect against malaria.

The Baobab Tree for Clothes and Instruments
The inner workings of the African baobab tree provide a fiber which indigenous people have used to make cloth, rope, nets, musical instrument strings and waterproof hats. The bark of the baobab tree has to be removed to obtain the fiber; the baobab tree can regenerate the loss of bark if it is cut away.

Baobab: The Tree of Life
The African baobab tree earns its reputation as the tree of life for its many uses; it is a huge water storage container, a food source, has many medicinal properties, provides the source for cloth and other vital items and can even be used as a home. The ancient baobab tree has ensured the survival of a lot of indigenous people of Africa.

Adansonia digitata seeds


Grows to 50-70ft in its natural state, but can also be grown as the perfect house plant. Thick, stubby branches spring from the top of enlarged swollen trunk which stores water. A conversation piece.

Sowing Instructions
Sowing time: any time of year.
Sowing depth: 1/16 Inch (1.5mm)

Sow in trays, pots, etc of good seed sowing mix in a propagator or warm place to maintain an optimum temperature of 75-80F (25-27C). Soak the seeds in fairly hot water for 2 hours. If the seeds are large they can first be lightly filed at one point on the seed before soaking.

Growing Instructions
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Pot on as required into 13cm (5in) and finally 20cm (8in) pots.

Aftercare Instructions
Grow in good light, don’t over-water and provide a minimum winter temperature of 10-13C (50-55F).

1 packet (5 seeds) @ $6.25

Catalog Code: 2587

Baobab Bonsai Grower

May 3, 2009 2 comments


Here’s my little baobab, having just started this year’s growth a few weeks ago. It is a deciduous tree and it is critically important that it receive no water during the dormant season. That starts in the fall when the leaves start to yellow and fall off. Don’t think your tree is dying when that happens, because that is normal. I think it’s dead every winter and then it starts growing again every spring. I never cease to be amazed. At some point in October or November, I put the tree in the basement and completely neglect it. It’s fine to put it on a shelf (does not need any light) and let it sit in dry dormancy for the winter; when you see green shoots in the spring, bring it back to a sunny place and water it regularly. One winter, it was stored under the pool table in the basement while we did renovations!

I started this tree from seed 4 years ago. Germination is not hard. You should soak the seed for 24 hours before sowing it, to help germination.

I cut the main stem last year to promote new growth, which worked very well. It triggered new shoots from the stem below the cut and around the circumference of the cut itself. I sealed the cut with Japanese cut paste, which can be purchased from bonsai dealers. I don’t know what my plan is for future shaping of my tree, but I will figure that out as I go. It will probably be with me for many years!

Please leave a comment (and link, if you have one) if you have a baobab bonsai. There’s not too many of them out there and I’d like to see what other ones look like.

Baobab Seed Epicarp Micronised

Baobab Seed Epicarp Micronised

Seed Epicarp Exfoliant
Creams, lotions and soaps with polish/scrub activity
Scrub effect, Atringent, Fatty Acids Intake
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