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The Mighty Baobab: Benefits and Traditional Medicinal Uses

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Myth and legend surround the mighty baobab tree. The baobab is known as the African Tree of Life. According to some African bushmen,

“A very, very long time ago, say some African legends, the first baobab sprouted beside a small lake. As it grew taller and looked about it spied other trees, noting their colorful flowers, straight and handsome trunks, and large leaves. Then one day the wind died away leaving the water smooth as a mirror, and the tree finally got to see itself. The reflected image shocked it to its root hairs. Its own flowers lacked bright color, its leaves were tiny, it was grossly fat, and its bark resembled the wrinkled hide of an old elephant.

In a strongly worded invocation to the creator, the baobab complained about the bad deal it’d been given. This impertinence had no effect: Following a hasty reconsideration, the deity felt fully satisfied. Relishing the fact that some organisms were purposefully less than perfect, the creator demanded to know whether the baobab found the hippopotamus beautiful, or the hyena’s cry pleasant-and then retired in a huff behind the clouds. But back on earth the barrel-chested whiner neither stopped peering at its reflection nor raising its voice in protest. Finally, an exasperated creator returned from the sky, seized the ingrate by the trunk, yanked it from the ground, turned it over, and replanted it upside down. And from that day since, the baobab has been unable to see its reflection or make complaint; for thousands of years it has worked strictly in silence, paying off its ancient transgression by doing good deeds for people. All across the African continent some variation on this story is told to explain why this species is so unusual and yet so helpful.”¹

With such legend, one might assume that the mighty baobab has some incredible benefits, yes? Yes! I recently stumbled across the mighty baobab, have been researching it, and incorporating it into my biology. It turns out that this tree and its fruit have quite a few benefits that are naturally used in traditional African medicine.

What are the benefits of the mighty baobab?

Powerful antioxidant. Baobab fruit is high in Vitamin C. One single serving contains ~80% of the RDV of Vitamin C. The baobab fruit powder has an integral antioxidant capacity that is 37x greater than that of oranges and 3x the antioxidants found in blueberries. The baobab seed oil contains Vitamins A, D, and E as well as Omega 3, 6, and 9.
Anti-inflammatory. (Fruit).
Analgesic.
The fruit pulp is shown to have pain relieving affects similar to that of aspirin.
Hepatoprotective. T
he pulp has been shown to have a protective and restorative effect on damaged livers in rats. I personally am curious if baobab fruit helps to heal livers damaged by flukes (platyhelminths).
Anti-diarrhea.
The fruit pulp contains ~50% fiber (equal parts soluble and insoluble) as well as tannins and citric acid.
Pre-biotic.
Gut health – yes! The soluble fiber in the pulp stimulates the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. When the pulp powder is combined with certain ferments, it may prevent and/or inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella sp., Bacillus sp., and Streptococcus sp.
Reduce fever
. The bark, fruit pulp, and seeds may be used to reduce fever, particularly in cases of malaria.
Anti-viral. The fruit, leaves and seeds may act as an anti-viral against herpes, flu, and respiratory viruses.
Anti-trypanosoma. Baobab roots serve as anti-trypanosoma (an anti-parasitic) and reduce or eliminate the motility of trypanosomes – the causative agent of sleeping sickness.
Skin care/beautification. A decoction of baobab roots promote smooth skin.

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I found these traditional medicinal uses particularly interesting:
The leaves may be used as an anti-asthmatic and anti-histamine. They may also be used in the treatment of Guinea worm (a parasitic worm), urinary tract diseases, eye and ear inflammations.

The bark may be used as a substitute for quinine in reducing fever and as a remedy for toothache. In addition, the bark, fruit pulp and seeds are used as an antidote to the poison often used on arrows.

The dried fruit pulp, which tastes similar to a mild creamsicle,  is available through various super food retailers. In addition to all of the benefits listed above, baobab pulp is also rich in B Vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese.

How can you use baobab?

  • Add it to your morning smoothie.
  • Add it to homemade ice-cream (dairy or vegan).
  • Sprinkle it on your yogurt.
  • Mix it in a smoothie bowl.
  • Add it to un-baked, or baked goods.

How do you use baobab? If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to see featured on my blog, email it to me with a picture of your mighty baobab creation (amanda(at)onalimb(dot)org) and I’ll feature it in an upcoming blog post.


¹http://www.ecoproducts.co.za/news/the-legend-of-the-upside-down-tree
Kabore, Donatien, H. Sawadogo-Lingani, B. Diawara, C.S. Compaore, M.H. Dicko, and M. Jakobsen. 2011. A review of baobab (Adansonia digitata) products: Effect of processing techniques, medicinal properties and uses. African Journal of Food Science. 5(16): 833-844.
Kruger Park
Images: theholbox(dot)com, bumblerootfoods(dot)com

 


Video

Sometimes – A Poem

I wasn’t going to share this video, this poem, with all of you. I am not concerned or afraid about experiencing whatever thoughts, feelings, and opinions you may feel inclined to project my way. I actually really enjoy sharing my raw vulnerability with you!

Upon watching myself on video, I caught myself stepping into a trap of sorts that I have fallen into many times. I’ll share what the trap was in an upcoming video and how I made a conscious decision to very quickly change course and get out of it.

Sometimes I…
Sometimes I feel more than I can handle.
Sometimes I feel too raw, too real, too vulnerable.
Sometimes…sometimes I…

Watch the video for the full poem.

I hope that my sharing my raw vulnerability with you inspires you to get in touch with yourself and to plant yourself in the soil of your belonging. You are not alone on this journey, fellow travelers. Although it may certainly not feel like it at times, it is a blessing to feel everything so deeply, so rawly, so at the heart and core of your beingness.


Video

How to Quit Smoking

“How do I quit smoking?” is a question I have received a few times from people. In this video, I share a few tips behind why you may be choosing to smoke as well as 4 tips to help you quit smoking.

Before quitting smoking, I find it important to consider:
1. Why am I smoking? Why have I chosen to smoke?
2. Perhaps you are being asked to develop a relationship with the tobacco plant (not the toxic mimic otherwise known as cigarettes).
3. Are you smoking to connect with yourself or to disconnect?

Perhaps you’re asking, how do I quit smoking?
1. Explore smoking real tobacco – organically or biodynamically grown. Develop a relationship with the real plant. Explore and research indigenous’ cultures use of medicinal tobacco in ceremony.
2. Notice when you are choosing to smoke. Is it the same time each day? Different times? Certain circumstances?
3. What are you feeling when you are choosing to smoke? Are you feeling fear, anxiety, stress, anger, depression, etc? Would you be willing to give yourself permission to feel your feelings?
4. Integrate beneficial and support healthy habits into your day. Eat some raw cacao. Drink a green smoothie. Begin to fill your day, particularly your chosen smoking trigger times, with healthy habits.
5. Bonus: seek out a support network to help keep you on track.


Feeling Triggered? 5 Benefits to Weathering the Storm

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Chances are if you are human, you’ve experienced the wonderful pleasure of feeling triggered. Either something someone said or did likely set you off. Perhaps you felt unworthy, sad, angry, unloved. You may have cried, screamed, yelled, gone off and hidden in your wo(man) cave, or all of the above. You may have reacted to the trigger and ripped someone a new one or told them how you really feel…possibly regretting it later. Ouch.

Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Perhaps you’ve gone so far as to blame the other person for what you are experiencing. Doh. Psst…your feeling triggered has absolutely nothing to do with the person who has triggered you.

If feeling triggered is such a volatile experience, how and why is it beneficial? Read on to discover why I feel grateful when I feel triggered and why I would rather experience a trigger than feel like someone has to walk on their tip-toes around me.

  1. It shows us that we are human.
    If we were never triggered, we’d be robots. We are emotional beings here to soak up this incredibly human experience of being human – part of which is feeling triggered at times.
  2. It shows us what is unresolved and unhealed within ourselves.
    Feeling triggered is an opportunity to look into the mirror of your soul and see what is there in a way that we are unable to without someone else reflecting back our stuff. It’s an opportunity and a gift to be shown where the dark, fertile soil resides so that we may tend to the earth of our heart and plant the nourishing seeds of our souls.
  3. Intimacy, or into-me-I-see.
    Are you craving intimacy? Here is your opportunity to step through the threshold, open up and be intimate with the person who triggered you (as long as you feel safe doing so). It’s also an opportunity to share an incredibly intimate co-versation with the part of yourself that is asking for resolution and healing.
  4. The art of vulnerability and authenticity.
    Would you be willing to share when you feel triggered, vulnerable and raw? Or, are you more likely to put on a stoic mask and hide your triggered self under the rug, in the dark recesses of your closet, or under your bed? There is little more real than being fully present in the moment and authentically sharing from your heart your vulnerable self.
  5. Projecting or owning your own shizzle.
    When you give yourself permission to step back for a moment and witness yourself being yourself, you can see whether you spew projections at others when you feel triggered, whether you internalize your projections, or whether you own your own shizzle. Each of these has its benefits and its pitfalls. The first step is noticing which you tend to do and why.

So, next time you feel triggered, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride. I’d be curious to hear how these 5 benefits to feeling triggered help you weather your next storm.


Video

How to Disarm a Ticking Time Bomb

How do you disarm a ticking time bomb? What is a ticking time bomb?

Have you noticed that when you ask someone how they feel that they tend to respond with “I am happy,” “I am sad,” “I am angry!”? When we use the phrase “I am,” we tend to take on the energetic qualities of that emotion, thus becoming sadness, anger, or fear for example. When we take on the energetics of an emotion, we can become a ticking time bomb. A ticking time bomb tends to be a challenging person to be around, unless you enjoy working with explosives.

What can we do to diffuse a ticking time bomb? Well, first off, we can give that person space to feel whatever they are feeling and express the emotion in whatever way needs expressing (barring harm to self or others). It’s not our “job” to change anyone. We can, however learn how to accept them as they are. That being said, you can work on disarming your own ticking time bomb within yourself by changing your language.

What might that look like? Next time you feel angry, sad, frustrated, fear, etc. rather than say “I am angry…,” see if you can give yourself permission to flip the coin and say “I feel angry.” Notice how that instantly changes the quality of anger within your body. Instead of becoming anger, you are now a witness to your anger – someone who can experience the feeling of the emotion of anger as it flows through you.

Give it a try and let me know how you feel.
Comment below and share with anyone you think may benefit from this simple, yet profound practice.


Calling yourself Out: Having the Cajones to Embrace your own Stuff

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When was the last time you were really authentic with yourself and called yourself out on your own stuff? When were you willing to look behind the door at whatever dark, stinking stuff you may have stuffed there, and acknowledge it, and embrace it? Have you ever called yourself out on your stuff?

Pardon the vernacular, but it takes a set of cajones to do so. It is a practice for one who is willing to step upon and walk the warrior path.

Last night, I shared an incredible co-versation over dinner. At one point during the meal, I said, “I think a lot of people are addicted to pain.”

The person I was sharing this co-versation with said, “You think a lot of people are addicted to pain? You don’t believe a lot of people are addicted to pain?”

“Yes. No.” Why? A part of me, or several parts of me, in that moment were quite clearly saying “Bullshit. I don’t believe people are addicted to pain.” Why? Here’s where it gets interesting…why does a part of me not believe people are addicted to pain?

In that moment, I realized, part of me does not believe people are addicted to pain because that part of me is addicted to pain — a part of my Self was trying to keep hidden in the dark recesses of my awareness aspects of self that I have yet to embrace that are in pain. Dark, festering pain. And, I called myself out on my stuff right then and there. Over dinner. No holds barred, after a few minutes of meeting someone, I slipped the lip and called myself out.

It’s taken years of practice to get to this point and now, before I’m even aware of what I’m doing, I’m calling myself out on my self-authenticity.

I don’t know what that pain is yet, if I will know what it is, or if it’s even necessary to know what it is, as much as it is to purely allow myself to feel it, to express it, to allow it to flow through me. And that’s okay! One thing is for sure, I will be spending time with that part of myself, compassionately, and with loving kindness.

It can, at first, be terrifying to even think of acknowledging your stuff like that in front of other people, especially someone you practically just met, but it is incredibly freeing. It’s raw. It’s naked and vulnerable. It’s real.


Video

Where do I start?

Where do we start when we don’t know where to start? Oftentimes, we know where we want to be, know what we’d like to do, where we want to go, but lack the clarity to know where and how to start. In this video, I share some tips to help you take that first step on your journey.


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The Green Goddess

0001JgI recently shared a photo of a green drink I’ve been incorporating into my biology on a daily basis. Many of you asked “what’s in it?”. I’m excited to share with you the incredible recipe that has numerous health benefits, including:

  • building the blood and yin
  • harmonizing the liver
  • lubricating the intestines
  • beautifies the skin
  • reducing heat and moistening dryness
  • aiding digestion
  • anti-parasitic
  • assisting with heavy metal removal
  • immune enhancing activity
  • balancing blood sugar imbalances

Ingredients:
Serves 1. All ingredients are organic unless otherwise noted.

2 granny smith apples
1 avocado
1-2″ piece of ginger
1/3 – 1/2 bunch of red kale
1 c. chopped pineapple
1 TB chlorella powder

Instructions:

  1. Juice the apples, ginger, and kale.
  2. Place in a blender: the juice, avocado, pineapple, and chlorella powder.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Enjoy. To aid digestion, assimilation, and absorption, chew the smoothie (or swish it around your mouth a few times) before swallowing.

“I can’t sleep!”

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How often do you experience yourself saying, “I can’t sleep!”? If your beauty rest resembles a scene out of the WWF vs Sleeping Beauty, read on for 8 tips to help you turn the tide towards more restorative and restful slumber.

  1. Limit or eliminate caffeine after 1 p.m. If you experience an afternoon slump around 3 p.m., let’s take a look at what you’re eating, your blood sugar levels, and the state of your adrenals.
  2. Try to avoid eating after 8 p.m. When we eat too close to bed-time, our system can be busy digesting rather than winding down for peaceful slumber.
  3. Since exercise tends to increase energy (unless you’re exceeding your body’s ability to adapt), keep the intense workouts to the morning or early afternoon. Practice working-in, meditation, or internal movement arts in the evening to wind down the system.
  4. Unplug by 9 p.m., or one hour before bedtime. Set aside quiet time away from the tele, off of the tablets, iPads, phones, and computer. Allow yourself to be quiet. Read a book, or do some artwork or writing, or work-in.
  5. Keep electronic devices in the bedroom to a minimum, or keep them in a different room if possible. If you cannot keep your cell phone out of your room, try to place it as far away from your bed as possible and set it to airplane mode. This will reduce EMF pollution and aid peaceful slumber.
  6. Check your magnesium levels. The majority of the population is deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is known for its relaxing benefits. For additional benefits, check out yesterday’s post on FB about magnesium.
  7. Sleep on the floor if possible. If not, grounding sheets can help. Where to find out more about them? Visit earthing.com.
  8. If all else fails, unplug. Completely. Go outside and spend one week sleeping out in nature. This will help reset your system to its natural rhythms.

Before you know it, you should be sleeping as soundly as the adorable shih-tzu in the photo.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty experiencing a restorative night’s sleep, let me know. I’d be happy to help.


When?

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When was the last time you watched the sun rise?

When was the last time you watched the sun set?

When was the last time you spent the day at the beach and laid upon the sand until the stars came out?

And when was the last time you took the time to connect with the ones you love?

When was the last time you told them “I love you”? And when was the last time you looked in the mirror, said “I love you,” to yourself, meant it, and believed it?

When was the last time you chose to make a decision to change your diet, your exercise, your job, your life not because you look in the mirror and tell yourself –

“I’m fat. I hate my body. If only I lost 30 pounds, then I’d be happy. I’ll be so happy when I can quit my job and leave this area…”

…I don’t like you, I don’t love you, and you’re not good enough…

…but chose to instead make a conscious decision to change your diet, your job, your life. To watch the sun rise, to revel in connecting with the people, nature, and experiences that invite you to feel alive, because you love yourself as you are and you love yourself enough to choose to live a life that exemplifies that.

I invite you to choose to make one conscious decision, one action to do for yourself, each and every day that will inspire you to celebrate and enjoy this one wild and precious life. If you’re not sure where to start or how to start, let me know. I’d be honored to help guide you.