The baobab tree, inclusive of its fruit, bark, leaves and seeds have all been recorded to have a multitude of uses, including as food, traditional medicines and personal care products. More than three hundred traditional uses have been documented in Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, South Africa, Senegal, and Zimbabwe, and many more across the rest of Africa.
FOOD & DRINK
The fruit pulp and leaves are the most commonly consumed parts of the baobab tree.
The fruit pulp is naturally dry, and is either broken into small pieces and eaten whole as a snack (sometimes covered with spices or sugar), or more normally ground into a powder and mixed with milk or water to make a drink, or mixed into soups, stews or sauces.
The leaves are also a staple food for many tribes. They can be cooked to create a spinach-like dish or mixed in to stews or soups, or dried and ground up to be used as a seasoning.
The Hadza tribe in Tanzania is one such tribe who rely on the baobab fruit as a source of nutrition. The Hadza are one of the world’s last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in the world, living in Northern Tanzania on the Serengeti plains. As documented by King’s College professor Tim Spector and the BBC in 2017, the Hadza drink baobab fruit mixed with water every morning. This provides them with a rich source of fibre and vitamin C, giving them the energy and nutrients they need for their physically active lifestyle.
As a result of their unique diet and high consumption of baobab, Professor Spector’s study showed that the Hadza tribe have the healthiest guts (or microbiome) in world! This was concluded by measuring the quantity and diversity of healthy bacteria in their microbiome, compared to a typical man or woman elsewhere in the world.
Baobab seed oil is made from pressing the seeds inside the fruit to extrude a nutrient rich oil. It is traditionally used to help nourish and treat both skin and hair. The oil is high in linoleic, oleic, palmitic and linolenic acids, which are anti-inflammatory, and can help moisturise, heal and slow the aging process of skin, as well as provide shine and strength when used in hair.