In some of the tropical zones throughout Africa, Australia and Arabia grows a tree known by several names including The Tree Of Life. That moniker is very fitting since practically every part of this plant has served as a source of food, water, medicine and shelter for the indigenous people of those regions for hundreds of years. The question of ‘what is Baobab?” is being asked more frequently these days.
Most of these trees are an average of five hundred years old, between sixteen and ninety-eight feet tall with a main diameter of 23-36′ wide. Their trunks are hollow, capable of holding up to 120,000 liters of water during the areas’ dry spells and are often used as homes and shops. Perhaps the most incredible part of this plant is the incredible ‘super fruit’ it produces.
The fruit is a pod that is roughly the size of a large coconut with a velvety outer shell shaped like a skinny watermelon. The meat inside resembles firm marshmallows and has a unique taste, often described as a sweet and tangy cross between a pear and a grapefruit with a hint of vanilla. Surrounding the white puffs is a powdery pulp that can be milled and used in a variety of ways.
For many generations, this fruit has been used throughout Africa as a traditional medicine used to treat many illnesses including fever, diarrhea, asthma, malaria and even smallpox. It is also an insect repellent and soothing agent for skin conditions related to allergies. This substance has been reported as a very effective anti-inflammatory.
This fruit and its pulp are extremely high in anti-oxidants and is roughly fifty percent fiber. Inside this substance is twice the calcium found in milk, along with fourteen other essential supplements including phosphorous, iron and magnesium. It contains a lot of B vitamins and six time the Vitamin C obtained from oranges.
The combination of high concentrations of all the vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants provides the fruit with an incredible range of benefits. Some of the perks include boosting one’s metabolism, slowing the aging process and improving the overall appearance of the skin. The oils and powders are used in a variety of beauty, hair and body products.
Though the full effect of long time use has not yet been properly studied and documented, practitioners of traditional African medicine claim the pulp, bark and leaves can all be used medicinally. It is believed that a number of conditions related to inflammation such as arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, allergies and some cancers, can be helped by ingesting this product. Additional possibilities are still being explored.
The tree, as a whole, serves such a wide variety of purposes that it is practically impossible to list them all. The amazing fruit it produces is being touted as one of the most incredible sources of anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. Served in its natural state, as dietary supplements or as additives in juices, energy drinks and many food products, a range of benefits may be experienced through ingesting this plant.