Myth and legend surround the mighty baobab tree. The baobab is known as the African Tree of Life. According to some African bushmen,
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.
Analgesic. The fruit pulp is shown to have pain relieving affects similar to that of aspirin.
Hepatoprotective. The 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.
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.
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.
Images: theholbox(dot)com, bumblerootfoods(dot)com
Before diving into 10 benefits of MSM, you may be wondering — what is MSM? MSM, is also known as methylsulfonylmethane. It contains sulfur, a mineral which we are largely deficient in due to the poor mineral concentrations in the majority of soils today. Even if you eat large quantities of plants high in sulfur, it’s still likely you may be deficient in this superfood.
What are 10 benefits of MSM?
- Reduce pain. MSM is an anti-inflammatory and natural analgesic (pain reliever). It also increases cellular permeability and dilates blood vessels, increasing circulation and the removal of waste products from the cells, decreasing time needed to heal from injury and wounds. MSM is also a muscle relaxant.
- Is a synergist. MSM aids in the uptake of vitamin C, all B vitamins, CoQ10, amino acids, calcium, magnesium, and more.
- Antioxidant. MSM, particularly sulfur, aids in the production of glutathione – one of the key antioxidants in reducing oxidative stress.
- Detoxification. Aids in the removal of heavy metal toxicity and cellular waste products. In addition, the production of glutathione assists the liver in removing waste products from the body.
- Improves neurological function. MSM can cross the blood-brain barrier, improving cellular function and removing heavy metal toxicity within the brain cells. It may also improve memory.
- Reduces/relieves allergies. MSM may work as an antihistamine and works to heal the mucosa within the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts as well as the respiratory system. This decreases the availability for allergen, pathogen, and parasite binding.
- Reduces the severity of autoimmune disorders. The anti-inflammatory, analgesic, detoxification, mucosal healing, and antioxidant effects of MSM help to reduce auto-immune reactions, particularly in and around joints and connective tissue.
- Helps to balance blood sugar. Sulfur is needed for proper structure and function of insulin, essential in carbohydrate metabolism.
- Reduces muscle soreness and cramps. When taken prior to training, MSM may reduce post-training muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). When consumed after training, MSM aids in reducing muscle cramps and increasing recovery between training sessions.
- Beautifies skin, hair, and nails. Sulfur is needed in the production of collagen and keratin — two proteins required for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It helps keep skin smooth, soft and youthful looking, hair shiny.