Ingredient Focus: Baobab
What is baobab?
Baobab is the fruit of Africa's 'Tree of Life' (the Adasonia tree) and is the only fruit which dries naturally on the branch. The fruit has a citrus flavour, and is found on the inside of hard pods which hang upside down from the tree.
The Adasonia tree grows in Africa, Australia and the Middle East. Every part of the tree has traditionally been used as food and medicine.
In regions where baobab is grown, it is considered to be a staple food item. The leaves are harvested and dried to be used in a similar way to spinach or as the basis of a sauce. The fruit pulp can be dissolved in water to be used as a drink or in baking.
In regions where baobab is not grown, it is hard to find fresh baobab fruit. Instead, it is most commonly available in powder form.
What are the benefits of baobab?
The bark, leaves and seeds have traditionally been used to treat a wide range of diseases and ailments including malaria, tuberculosis, fever, anaemia, toothache and digestive problems.
Baobab is a rich source of vitamin C (10g of baobab is equal to over half the RDA of vitamin C for adults), which helps to support the immune system and promotes healthy, glowing skin. It's also bursting with fibre and incredibly antioxidant-rich. We actually use baobab protein in our natural hair care range as it's great for reducing frizz!
Baobab also contains key minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as a selection of B vitamins.
The fruit is believed to have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, but more research is needed to confirm these benefits.
A study by Oxford Brookes University found that baobab fruit extract, baked in bread, reduced starch digestion and glycemic response in humans.
How is baobab used?
Nowadays, baobab is mostly used in smoothies and salads for its nutritional value, but we actually use baobab in some of our formulations. Some of our most-loved products contain baobab, in fact: Gentle Cleansing Melt, Nourishing Hair Elixir, Superfood Shine Shampoo, Superfood Shine Conditioner.
Try this delicious smoothie recipe
- 1tsp baobab powder
- 1 banana (sliced)
- 1 handful blueberries
- 1 handful raspberries
- 1 pot non-dairy yoghurt
Blend together and enjoy!