The Baobab tree (Adansonia) is native to Africa. There is a total of 9 different species of these trees with six growing in Madagascar. They produce a fruit about the size of a coconut with a powdery pulp high in vitamin C. This fruit may be consumed as a food or added to beverages.
In traditional African medicine, the fruit has several uses. Traditionally it is used for diarrhea, fever, smallpox and malaria. In addition, in traditional medicine, it is often suggested as a cure when individuals suffer from inflammation.
In the past few years, the addition of this fruit to juices, energy bars and drinks and dietary supplements has become common. It is often marketed as a superfruit, or one high in antioxidants. Claims include the fruit containing a greater concentration of vitamin C than found in citrus fruits, including oranges.
Some manufacturers claim that the antioxidant content is high enough to slow the process of aging and provide a level of protection from major illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. It is also said to protect against conditions leading to inflammation, such as arthritis, allergies and type 2 diabetes.
This fruit is also seeing use in hair, skin and body care products. Some prefer an oil extracted from the fruit seeds. Such seeds are a good source of the essential fatty acids which may play a role in improving the condition of the skin.
At this time, few scientific studies have been completed to test the potential benefits of the fruit. Studies do show it to be rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. However, further studies need to be completed about the efficiency of the human body in absorbing the antioxidants from these fruits. Studies have not been completed on the long term health effects of consuming the fruit. In addition, while high in antioxidants, the fruit is lower in essential minerals than other sources of these nutrients.
Use of this fruit and oil in products is generally considered safe, with no undesirable side effects. However, little is known about its long term use. Consumers may want to check with their doctor before beginning a regimen with these products.
Products containing this superfruit are available for consumers online. Some natural food stores also carry products containing the fruit. In addition, the personal care products may be available in certain specialty beauty supply stores or shops. Prices and quality of the product may vary greatly depending on where it is bought.
Due to a lack of supporting research, the effect of this fruit for health reasons. It, along with other anti-oxidant rich foods, including leafy greens, berries and vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits should be a part of your daily diet.
If you are considering use of baobab tree supplements for chronic illness, you should first consult with a physician. Ask if the supplement is appropriate for the condition. Ask if the supplement might contradict any medication you are currently taking. Delaying treatment for chronic conditions by self treating with supplements can have lead to serious health problems.