The Baobab Tree

baobab fruit hanging from treebao·bab

Pronounced as either \ˈba-ˌbab or ˈbā-ə-\, Baobab does have a Latin name, Adansonia digitata, which is in honor of the French botanist, Michel Adanson (1727-1806), who concluded that of all trees he studied,

the Baobab, “is probably the most useful tree in all”. ~ Michel Andanson

M. Adanson is himself testimony to this claim: he consumed Baobab juice twice a day, while living in Africa and remained convinced that the Baobab maintained his fighting health. The discovery of Baobab seeds in ancient Egyptian tombs demonstrated how prized these fruits were; however, they were notoriously difficult to acquire, since the Egyptians were reliant on traders traveling the caravan route from Sudan. 

 

The Baobab tree has many names, one is 'The Tree of Life'. Baobab is capable of providing shelter, clothing, food, and water for human inhabitants and animals of the African Savannah regions. The cork-like bark or huge stem is fire resistant and is used for making cloth and rope. The leaves are used as condiments and medicines. The Baobab fruit, sometimes called 'monkey bread', rich in vitamin C and eaten by African locals.

 


 

The Baobab’s famous silhouette has become legendary, and is sometimes referred to as 'the upside-down tree'. It has unusual root-like branches which are seasonally devoid of foliage. Baobabs are found throughout Africa – mostly in the hotter, drier areas and indeed, many people’s first reaction is to marvel at their strange shapes and proportions. With their massive trunks, crooked branches and furry fruit, baobabs have adapted to dry and hostile environments. The massive trunk has little wood fiber and can hold up to 300 liters of water, enabling it to live through long periods without rain.

The trees have fruit as unique as the tree itself. It may be round or oval shaped and has a fury coating around a hard woody shell that shields a number of seeds rich in citric acid and oil, embedded in a whitish, powdery-soft and nutritious pulp. 

 

Traditional Uses of the Baobab

The ancient Egyptians used it for treating fevers, dysentery and bloody wounds. For generations in Africa, Baobab is often given as a calming agent for those with a fever, but is also used to combat diarrhea, dysentery, small pox, and measles*. Pregnant women in The Gambia use it as an important source of calcium. In addition, the herding people in Africa used the citric and tartaric acids of the pulp as milk curdling agents. A cool drink can be made out of the pulp which makes for a refreshing break. This lemonade type drink is consumed by both the healthy and the sick. Cosmetic products are also made from the pulp and leaf extracts.

  

Products derived from parts of the tree include dried leaves, which are rich in carotene, calcium and mucilage. The bark and leaves are also used in the treatment of fever and are reported to have anti-inflammatory properties*. The seed is pulped and applied externally, especially for cosmetic use.

 

Fair Trade: Ethical and Sustainable

powbab® Baobab is certified socially responsible and is Fair Trade by the well-respected IMO in Switzerland. Our Baobab is genuinely Fair Trade and of the best quality available. By consuming and purchasing powbab® products, you are making a real difference for the rural families and villages in West Africa where our baobab is harvested using sustainable and fair trade principles. Your support for our product brings opportunity, income, and hope to these African families. In addition, you further the value of Africa's rich heritage and resources for the locals and the world. Our producers not only pay harvesters a fair price for their Baobab but also return a share of their sales income to the villages to fund community projects. Be aware that not all competitive baobab products adhere to fair trade principles; thereby, causing significant price swings from unethical means. We at powbab® are committed to doing what is right and our prices reflect that principle.

Our Baobab is also socially responsible, confirming that workers enjoy fair and safe working conditions covering all key labor aspects from core workers rights to good employment conditions. Additionally, producer groups have transparent internal structures with fair relations to producers.

Sustainable harvesting is a priority to ensure an abundant supply of baobab in the long term. As you place more value on the baobab fruit through your purchase of powbab® products, we are encouraging communities to protect their local Baobab trees and surrounding woodlands, conserving wildlife and biodiversity.