Baobab is a life-giving tree in the drylands of Africa, which made it known as the “Tree of Life.” For thousands of years, it has provided shelter, nutrition, and water for humans and animals.
The Baobab tree is known to possess healing and sacred powers in many African countries. The Sudanese treat it as personal property, and some trees are even given names just like humans. But almost always, it is referred to as Um, meaning mother to it as Um, meaning mother.
Baobabs are pretty amazing trees. With their short, chubby trunks and their round, wide-spreading canopies/ branches, they look like they were planted upside-down, which also gave them the name “Upside-down trees.”
Baobab (Adansonia digitata) is commonly known as:
- Monkey bread, Ethiopian sour gourd, Cream of tartar tree, Upside down tree, and Tree of Life – English.
- Twege (morè) – Burkina Faso.
- Odadie (Twi), Tua(Nankani) – Ghana.
- Mbuyu (Swahili), Mwamba – Kenya.
- Manyika, Mubuyu – Malawi.
- Bozo – Madagascar.
- Kuka – Hausa.
- Ose, Igiose – Yoruba.
- Oyili-akpu – Igbo.
- Bpoko – Fulani.
- Tebeldi, Humeira – Sudan.
- Isimuhu – Zulu.
Traditionally Baobab leaves are used for cooking, especially In the Hausa speaking communities. Danwake and Miya Kuka soup is made with baobab and is commonly eaten there.
Even in Kenya, members of the Akamba tribe use the seed pulp in the form of a fermenting agent in locally-made beer.
Health Benefits of Baobab:
Improves digestive Health:
The high fiber content in baobab helps in improving digestive health and preventing conditions like constipation, intestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel diseases, dysentery, and piles.
Baobab has both insoluble and soluble fibers. The soluble part of fiber eases digestion. It dissolves in water and brings down the dehydration in case of diarrhea. While The insoluble fiber stays undigested in your GI tract and acts as a laxative, thereby curing constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Traditionally, the dried leaves or fruit pulp is taken for dysentery and diarrhea.
Prebiotic/ Gut health:
Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. This helps the gut bacteria produce nutrients for your colon cells and leads to a healthier digestive system. At the same time, Probiotics are good bacteria found in foods such as yogurt, which have beneficial effects on your health, especially your digestive system.
Prebiotics complement Probiotics, so for the best results, it is recommended you take prebiotics with probiotics. Mix baobab powder with yogurts or any milky beverage.
Boosts the Immune system:
The human body cannot make or store its own vitamin C (unlike other animals), so we need to make sure we get an adequate supply from the foods we eat every day. One of the key benefits of vitamin C is that it helps to keep our immune system healthy, supporting our body’s defense against viruses, infections, diseases, and other illnesses. In Africa, the omega-3 fatty acid-rich baobab is commonly used to treat fevers, malaria, gastric problems, and vitamin C deficiency.
Blood sugar management:
Baobab Powder contains soluble fiber, which helps to slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, thereby reducing energy spikes. Soluble fiber can also help to control blood glucose levels, improve blood cholesterol, and reduce visceral fat (body fat that is stored around the organs in your abdominal). It is beneficial for people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Baobab is a key source of thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which all contribute to the processes that boost energy in the body, increase metabolism, and reduce fatigue. Baobab is also excellent for people that workout; it helps reduce muscle soreness.
Vitamin C is needed to help the body absorb iron, and Baobab is a rich natural source of vitamin C, which makes it easily accessible to the body and is better absorbed than artificial supplements. Baobab also helps prevent diseases gotten from iron deficiency like Anemia.
The baobab fruit is high in potassium and magnesium. Potassium helps relieve the tension of blood vessels, which is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure. Magnesium has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve circulation, two things that will help to prevent heart attacks and stroke.
Baobab delays the absorption of starch from certain foods, leaving you feeling full for a long time. It also contains vitamin C, which helps you burn more fat and maintain a healthy weight.
Baobab contains calcium, and magnesium, which plays an essential role in supporting bone health, and preventing bone diseases like Arthritis, especially as we age.
Baobab has been shown to improve liver function, which, in turn, helps to support your body’s natural detoxification ability.
Baobab is one of the world’s richest sources of antioxidants, which are essential for overall health because they help delay, repair, or prevent damage to our cells caused by free radicals. This cell damage can result in severe health conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cataracts.
Baobab is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which supports collagen formation – helping to give you radiant, glowing skin as well as preventing wrinkles. Baobab also Delivers Intense Moisture to the skin; it is ideal for treating dry, damaged skin and hair, as well as conditions like eczema.
Baobab is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has the highest levels of vitamin c, and it also contains iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The magnesium content helps relieve cramping and balances body pH levels. The antioxidants help fight inflammation. The high fiber content helps prevent constipation in pregnancy.
Baobab leaves and oils have the ability to repel mosquitoes. A decoction of the bark is antimalarial.
How to use Baobab:
Baobab is often sold in powder form, it can be used in smoothies, sauces, soups, and even baked goods. Here are some simple ways you can include baobab in your diet.
- After workouts, stir a tablespoon of baobab powder in water, or add it to your smoothie to replenish the electrolytes lost during your workout.
- The leaves of baobab can be steeped in hot water to make a tea or infusion that is also believed to help fight asthma, fevers, inflammation, and diarrhea.
- The dried leaves are also used in treating kidney and bladder disease
, insect bites, malaria, and sores.
- Baobab seeds are ground and roasted, and are use as tooth powder.
- Baobab juice, or Dambedza is served as a cure for Hangover.