One of Africa’s best-kept health and beauty secrets is experiencing a global surge. If you haven’t caught wind of the benefits of baobab yet, we guarantee you’ll be hearing about it everywhere soon.
Dubbed ‘the feel-good fruit’ it contains six times more vitamin C than an orange, two times more calcium than a glass of milk and more iron than a steak. It’s full of alkalising minerals such as potassium and magnesium and has one of the highest number of antioxidants of any fruit in the world. To call it a superfruit would be an understatement.
The majestic-looking baobab trees are native to Africa and grow for 100 years, reaching heights of up to 30 metres and are often noted as a defining icon of African bushland. The fruit, which contains the highly in-demand powder, dries on the tree, meaning that the powder is extracted directly from the fruit and is kept pure with no added preservatives.
While local African communities have been enjoying glowing skin, increased energy and a youthful appearance thanks to the baobab fruit for centuries, it was only approved for importation by the EU in 2008, and the USA in 2009. Since then demand has skyrocketed, providing thriving business for farmers due to a number of health food and beauty products that use the wonder ingredient being introduced to the Western market.
As well as smoothies, it can be added to cereal and porridge, and just a couple of teaspoons could replace your daily intake of vitamin extracts. The powder is a pale yellow colour and tastes sweet, with a pleasant tropical tang similar to dried pineapple or papaya.
Beauty products range from hair care to skin care with anti-ageing, skin-firming, toning and moisturising properties.
Keen to see what all the fuss is about? Try our top 5 baobab beauty treats:
Aduna Loose Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder £14.00
The original powder for boosting your beauty from the inside. It’s 100% organic and vegan. We like to mix a couple of teaspoons in with plain yoghurt and fruit but there are plenty of other exciting recipes on the Aduna website.
Dr Jackson’s 03 Face Oil £55
100% natural ingredients and suitable for sensitive skin, add just a few drops of this face oil to feed your skin or apply one drop to dry patches for an intensive fixer. The baobab oil also promises to minimise scarring whilst marula oil, calendula, arnica, sweet almond, evening primrose and geranium oil promise to give you a youthful radiance.
Burt’s Bees More Moisture Baobab Shampoo £9.99
Now that summer is on its way it’s time to up the moisture factor. Burt’s Bees baobab shampoo smells delicious and makes use of baobab’s natural fatty acids and antioxidants to give you luscious hair that’s soft and shiny. There’s a conditioner to go with it too.
Sarah Chapman Ultimate Cleanse £40
It’s hard to find a tough working cleanser that also leaves your skin soft and nourished but we found it in Sarah Chapman’s Ultimate Cleanse. Baobab extract is used along with borage oils, which has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema as well as stress and inflammation, vitamins A and E and collagen boosting Dermaxyl peptide.
Experience it at: London’s K West Spa
This spa has recently introduced a Baobab African Ritual treatment, inspired by one of the therapist’s visits to Africa a few years ago. As well as a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, £2 from every treatment is donated to the Aduna Foundation which supports farmers on the baobab plantations. The treatment begins with hot tindas (crushed hot stones wrapped inside a cloth) pressed all over the body for relaxation while Germaine de Capuccini aromatherapy vitality oil is used for inhalation during the treatment. This is followed by a full body exfoliation, full body massage, scalp massage and leg gel application using the Germaine de Capuccini’s baobab product range. At the end of the treatment, the client is presented with a smoothie which has pure baobab powder extract in it.
Words by Olivia Pinnock
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