Touched by Baobab
As we're rapidly plunging into Autumn and much darker days it is somewhat comforting and subtly uplifting to write about and ingredient from a sun drenched continent. And the more I use this exquisite oil the more I love it and I thought it most deserving of space on the blog.
The name alone is somewhat strange and exotic sounding and instantly transports you to much wider and warmer skies and much bigger and wilder horizons.
Because the Baobab tree is BIG - it can grow into a truly massive and utterly magnificent tree.
It is hard to believe that the relative small (7-8mm) and inconspicuous brown seed can grow into such and enormous and long-lived tree. Also sometimes called the ‘upside down tree’ in reference to its distinctive shape, with its extremely large trunk and relatively spindly, root-like branches of its crown.
Out of the nine species of Baobab worldwide the Adansonia digitata is the most common and widespread. Native to the whole of the African continent, it is as much of an icon as the african elephant.
Most of the remaining species are native to Madagascar - only one species made it further afield (or cross-ocean as it is) to Australia where it is a much smaller but no less prominent feature in the arid out-back.
Its name derives from the Arabic word 'bu hibab' which means ‘’fruit with many seeds“
The Baobab may grow to be several thousands years old with the oldest trees reaching the incredible age of 5000 years!! (as old as the pyramids) and a height of 20 meters and a trunk girth of 25m.
The gigantic trunks serve as water storage structures for the trees, a feature which enables them to survive the harsh annual drought seasons to which they are subjected.
On average Baobab trees start flowering at around 20 years of age however depending on climatic conditions and rainfall it can take up to 200 years before a baobab tree sets its first flowers. The huge creamy white flowers only open at night and then only for a short 24 hour period
Interestingly, they emit a smell of rotting meat which attracts pollinating bats and insects.
Once pollinated, the flowers produce fruit, or pods, which house the seeds used to create the prized baobab oil. So we are talking about a truly slow skincare ingredient here!!
French Botanist, Michel Adanson, for whom the tree is named for, once remarked that of all the trees he had studied, the Baobab “is probably the most useful tree in all.” Apparently, he credited consuming Baobab juice for his good health.
In fact, people have been consuming various parts of the Baobab (including the bark, leaves, fruit pulp and seeds) since ancient times for its extremely high concentration of calcium and vitamin C.
In addition, parts of the Baobab contain high levels of protein and vitamin A.
The Baobab oil itself is also very rich in nutrients – contains all three omega fatty acids: omega 3, 6 and 9, as well as containing some rare fatty acids and a host of vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K.
It nourishes and improves skin elasticity, soothes dry skin, helps to smooth and prevent stretch marks and it is also a marvellous hair moisturiser.
The Baobab is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and the high anti-oxidant content of the oil helps to rejuvenate damaged skin cells and fight damaging free radicals.
One study has found that all parts of the Baobab (including the pulp, leaves and seeds) not only have higher IACs (Integral Antioxidant Capacity) than orange pulp, but also higher IACs than strawberry, bilberry and kiwi pulp. The IAC represents the combined capacity of hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants.
…and if that isn’t enough to win you over immediately then Baobab oil has also got a lovely light and nutty smell and a silky velvety texture. It is easily and quickly absorbed by the skin leaving it wonderfully soft, smooth and silky to touch.
While you may not have heard about baobab oil just yet, as it’s not as widely known as more common oils like almond, jojoba and argan oil, I feel sure we are going to see this wonderful oil popping up more and more. If you want to benefit from all that this gorgeous oil has to offer then try it out in my my beautiful body butter: 'Baobab Body Balm'.
I use a generous amount (about 20%) of Baobab oil and I fully credit its silky yummy feel to this beautiful oil. Or you can opt for the 100% pure organic and cold pressed Baobab oil available in 100ml bottles with a pump for easy and measured application.
I feel truly humbled to work with such a beautiful and nourishing oil produced by one of our planet’s most magnificent trees - the great Baobab. Much love 🍂 🎃 🍂