BENEFITS OF MARULA
Marula fruits are rich in vitamin C, with nutrition experts terming its level eight times as that contained in an orange. The Marula fruit is also rich in oleic acid and other antioxidants that are essential in strengthening the body's immune system. Additionally, the Marula fruit contains thiamine, riboflavin, and nicotinic acid. Moreover, the fruit also boasts of 85% moisture and 14% carbohydrate, mostly sucrose. The mineral composition of Marula shows high concentrations of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Grows in: Sub-Saharan Africa
Sourced & Processed in: Namibia
Packaged in: Norway
TRADITIONAL USE OF MARULA
Many parts of the Marula tree are used as ingredients in food and traditional medicine across Africa. It was traditionally used in cosmetics, as a meat preservative and to treat leather.
The Marula fruit is very juicy and aromatic and is the size of a small plum. It is eaten fresh or cooked to produce jam, juices, and alcoholic beverages.
WHAT IS MARULA TREE?
The Marula tree is one of the largest African indigenous plants with Sclerocarya birrea being its scientific name. The tree is also known as "the king of African trees" due to its large size. Notably, the tree originated from the Miombo woodlands of South Africa, and its population has continued to increase across the Sahel regions of Africa, Madagascar, and West Africa thanks to the migration of the Bantu people. As a consequence, the tree now grows throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa outside the humid forest zone, from Mauritania and Senegal to Ethiopia and Eritrea, South to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland.
It is also important to point out that the Marula tree belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, with mangoes, pistachio, and cashew nut, also belonging to the same family. In essence, members of this family are deciduous and dioecious, which means the Marula tree has specific sex and has an average height of 20 meters. However, only the female Marula trees that bear fruits, with each tree having a capacity to bear up to 500kg of fruit annually.
Fruits from Marula tree have an oblong size like that of the plum and usually ripen in February. The fruit consists of the Marula stone and is surrounded by the green to yellow colored fruit pulp and has inside fruit kernels or seeds.
The Marula tree is historic in the sense that it was considered sacred and was linked to fertility and happy marriage in ancient times in southern Africa. Also, the fermented Marula fruit was thought to intoxicate elephants who seemed to enjoy it as much as humans did. According to archaeological evidence, the Marula tree was a source of nutrition from as long as 10,000 years B.C. Therefore, Marula, Scelerocarva birrea, subspecies cafferra, remain Africa's botanical treasures.
PUBLISHED MARULA RESEARCH
Abdalbasit Adam Mariod & Siddig Ibrahim Abdelwahab (2012) Sclerocarya birrea (Marula), An African Tree of Nutritional and Medicinal Uses: A Review, Food Reviews International, 28:4, 375-388, DOI: 10.1080/87559129.2012.660716
Shoko T, Maharaj VJ, Naidoo D, et al. Anti-aging potential of extracts from Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Hochst and its chemical profiling by UPLC-Q-TOF-MS. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018;18(1):54. Published 2018 Feb 7. doi:10.1186/s12906-018-2112-1