Baobab is the regularly used name that has been given to a specific tree genus called the Adansonia. This genus of trees contains 8 different species. Mainly growing in Madagascar, but also found in Africa and Australia, it is actually the Madagascan national tree.
Other interesting names given to this kind of tree include ‘the upside down tree’, the ‘monkey bread tree’ and the ‘bottle tree’. For the majority of the year, the tree has no leaves and, as a result, looks like it is growing up side down with the roots sticking up into the air. It can grow as tall as almost 100 feet, with a trunk diameter anywhere between 23 feet and 36 feet. In the tree trunk, over one hundred thousand liters of water can be found.
It is also sometimes called the tree of life. One reason for this could be the fact that it lives for a very long time, with one tree having been recorded at being over six thousand years old. Other reasons for this alternate name are that the tree provides food, water, shelter and clothing. Rope and cloth can be made from the bark and the enormous stem, which are both resistant to fire. The bark has a texture much like cork.
The leaves of the tree have been used to make certain types of medicine. Meanwhile, the baobab fruit – also known as monkey bread – is edible and has numerous health benefits of its own. The baobab has been to known to improve conditions such as asthma and skin allergies. It has also been used as a way to repel mosquitoes. Additionally, it is full of rich nutrients.
The fruit in question is about the same size as the average coconut. Its taste is an acidic one. The taste has been described as a mix between a pear, a grapefruit and vanilla. The fruit’s texture on the outside is much like velvet.
Extracts of this ingredient can be found in powder form or oil, which comes from the seeds of the fruit. The extract can be added to cooking to provide additional health benefits. It contains a highly potent number of antioxidants, as well as a very high amount of Vitamin C, making it preferable to oranges, blueberries and other fruit. It also works as an anti-inflammatory supplement with anti-bacterial properties.
It has been said that this extract can help to fight diabetes. This is because it reduces the glycaemic response when consumed, which is the rate at which the body releases sugar into the blood. The substance can be added to water as well as when cooking or baking.
In addition to the already mentioned properties and contents, the baobab fruit also contains very high levels of potassium, calcium, vitamin B6 and thiamin. These nutrients are all beneficial to the health of any individual. The fruit’s flesh contains a high amount of carbohydrates and protein, which is particularly useful as a food source in some of the poorer countries where the tree itself can be found.