If Africa had to pick a wonder extract, it would be Baobab Oil.
Not only is the tree full of mythical lore but it’s such an iconic shape. It’s been featured in movies (Madagascar)
The first time I remember seeing a Baobab tree was in the Durban Botanical gardens. I was studying at the University of Natal and part of our induction involved a picnic. The next time I saw a Baobab was when the Musgrave Shopping Centre was having one planted next door to its car park. I have a dream to walk down the row of Baobabs in Madagascar one day.
The Khoi San did not pick any baobab flowers, which bloom at night, as they believed you’d be torn apart by lions. But if you drank the water inside the flowers, you’d be protected from crocodiles. Elephants love Baobab and Marula fruits. The Baobab tree is remarkable in that it stores water for drought-time inside the core of the trunk. Up to 100,000 litres can be stored. There are no telltale age rings, like with other trees. Some baobab trees live up to 1,200 years and can be 25 -30 metres tall. Baobabs are also called the upside down tree and legend has it that God uprooted the tree and planted it upside down with its roots in the air. It’s Latin name is Adansonia Digitata and it belongs to the Bombacaceae family.
Once a year, the flowers on baobab trees bloom and their stench of rotting meat attracts specialised moths that pollinate the flowers. The result is a velvety shelled fruit, approximately the size of a coconut, weighing around 1.5kg. Inside are a mass of seeds and nutritious pulp. The fruit pulp is a rich source of calcium, potassium and vitamin C and can be used in smoothies, supplement capsules and baking. It has an almost fizzy sherbet kind of sour taste.
African Baobab oil (Adansonia digitata) is called the Upside Down Tree. It’s rich in antioxidants- vitamins A, D, E and F , Sitosterol, Campesterol and Stigmasterol.
β-Sitosterol anti-oxidant fights against skin-damaging free radicals.
Baobab softens and re-moisturises dry skin as well as improving elasticity and skin tone, so is ideal for dry, sensitive or mature skin.
Use it for rejuvenation and renewal of healthy skin during menopause.
The baobab seeds are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, Vitamin D and vitamin F (aka omega fatty acids). The exact composition of these fatty acids makes it a delight to use on hair and skin because it is not sticky or greasy.
Baobab oil is ideal to use on skin and hair because of its lightweight, smooth texture that absorbs quickly and isn’t greasy.
Baobab oil is extracted by simple cold pressing which retains all the nutrients. Baobab oil and skin care Baobab oil is nourishing, moisturizing and can help rejuvenate damaged skin cells.
How does it do this?
Baobab and skin care
It helps repair the top layer of skin so that water is retained not lost. It’s the loss of water in your top layers of skin that leads to dryness, itching and ultimately wrinkling. A lifeline for dry, damaged, dehydrated and maturing skin as well as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, acne, scars, stretchmarks and burns.
Yes, a marvel for skincare repair and maintenance. Its silky texture will leave your skin glowing with a youthful radiance. It makes an ideal face cream and eye cream as it can reduce the appearance of under-eye bags and dark circles
Baobab and hair care
Baobab is perfect in hair care products such as conditioners, masks, serums and shampoos as it is able to penetrates the hair follicle to enrich it with moisture and improving elasticity whilst nourishing the scalp. Because Baobab oil is light and similar to Argan oil, it won’t weigh your hair down like other plant oils. If your hair is dry or lacks shine and lustre.. try a few drops of baobab into your regular products. You can also use it for beard care.
Some say it even thickens and strengthens hair as well as encouraging hair growth.(I would suggest you combine this with head massage techniques to stimulate micro circulation).
Baobab oil benefits
vitamin A is critical for rejuvenation and cell renewal. It boosts collagen and elastin production, improves skin elasticity, and hydrates skin that is wrinkled. Vitamin A helps the skin repel bacteria and viruses more effectively and it may limit outbreaks of acne.
vitamin D promotes the skin’s barrier against foreign microbes and
vitamin E protects the oil from oxidizing and provides anti-aging effects
Vitamins F ( the omega essential fatty acids) Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 are used for cell regeneration and renewal, aiding vitamin absorption and healing damaged skin. The palmitic acid supports the skin barrier, so ideal for dry, mature and damaged skin. The abundance of linoleic and oleic acid supports the regeneration of the skin and limits TEWL. Furthermore, the fatty acids help to regenerate the epithelial tissue.
To summarize baobab is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, moisturizing and moisture binding, protects the natural barrier of the skin and is intensively caring and protecting
Studies of Baobab Oil
Baobab oil may accelerate wound healing. In recent in-vitro studies and topical applications, it demonstrated a regenerating, nourishing and toning effect on healthy skin and promoted healing of skin damage due to acne, rosacea, dermatitis, eczema and scars. Analgesic effects were found on burned skin (e.g. sunburn) and after insect bites (Wickens and Lowe 2008, Komane et al. 2017).
In radio-chemo-therapy, baobab oil is used topically as a complementary application. The oil regenerates and supports the healing process of the skin and alleviates mucosal disorders, which are common undesirable side effects of both local and systemic anti-cancer therapy (Bickert 2014).
How to Grow Baobabs
I have a 7 year old Baobab tree growing in my kitchen.
It’s grown from a tiny seed. I’ve grown Baobabs from seeds. It took a LONG time to germinate them. I was about to throw out the tubs when a weird little shoot was showing through.
You can watch my video
How to grow baobab
Baobab Oil composition
The main nutrient components in Baobab Oil are Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6, and 9), Vitamin E, Calcium, Alfa and Beta Carotenes, Uronic Acid, Tannins and Phytosterols.
Fatty acid breakdown: Oleic acid (Omega 9): 23-44% Linoleic acid (Omega 6): 25-37% Linolenic acid (Omega 3): 0.2-3.0% Palmitic acid: 18-30% Stearic acid: 1.5-6.0%
Natural Contents Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, proteins and minerals.
Baobab oil benefits
Baobab oil benefits for hair
Does Baobab oil lighten skin
I don’t know. It does protect it against winds, sun and moisture loss.Because it grows in Africa where lightening the skin would make the indigenous folk susceptible to sunburnt my gut feel say, probably not.
Where does Baobab oil come from
It comes from trees in Southern Africa. It’s unlikely to be grown anywhere else (yet) as it takes many decades to produce the fruit that contain the seeds.
What does Baobab smell like
My personal olfactory experience of baobab is this – it has a gentle nutty scent, similar to Argan oil and so I find it wonderful in Bespoke facial creams .