Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Baobab Tree or the Tree of Life

A Canadian based company BaobabTek has recently been appointed to manage and develop the North American market for Baobab Fruit Company of Senegal (BFCS) in Africa. In 1999 BFCS began by designing specific equipment capable of extracting raw materials from the Baobab Tree. They are now the single largest harvester and producer of Baobab ingredients in the world.

The Baobab Tree is also known as the “Tree of Life”, “The Chemist Tree” and “The Monkey Bread Tree”. The scientific name is Adansonia Digitata. It is a deciduous tree that can reach 30 meters or 90 feet in height and 15 meters or 45 feet in diameter. The swollen, short, bottle shaped trunk can store up to 30,000 gallons of water during the dry season, which serves as water storage for the villages. The Baobab Tree can live up to 5000 years and is protected from fire due to its spongy wood.

Viewed by the native population as their symbol of the Continent and as their Protector, the Baobab is of high importance for humans and animals as it provides them with food and medicine. In traditional African medicine, the Baobab is used to help treat fever, diarrhea, dysentery, malaria, smallpox, and inflammation.

The tree bears fruit once a year, which is harvested by the local population. The fruit contains naturally dehydrated fruit pulp, which is then mechanically separated from the fiber and seeds. The leaves and seeds provide botanical extracts used in a variety of industries. The seed endocarp has naturally occurring Omega 3, 6 and 9.

Dietary fibers (up to 45grams per 100g) soluble fibers (22 grams per 100 grams) make it also a very effective, ingredient as it can help regulate the functions of the colon and intestines. Essential amino acids present in the pulp are a great source of energy. Naturally high in vitamin C (six times that of an orange) the pulp also contains vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6 and PP). Minerals included are (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, sodium, zinc and magnesium).

The Baobab pulp can be used as a natural and functional ingredient in the food industry to make juices, energy drinks, smoothies, ice creams, fruit powders, chewable tablets and cereal bars. In the nutraceutical industries the pulp is used as a natural source of fiber and vitamin C. The seed oil, leaves and bark can serve well in the cosmetic industry to make creams, masks, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and exfoliants. Overall the wide range of usage of the Baobab produce makes it a highly valuable natural resource.

Numerous studies have been conducted and released on the benefits of the Baobab during the last 6 years in Universities and Laboratories.

BaobabTek's mission is to provide the cosmetic, food, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries with 100% natural raw materials that can help contribute to personal health and well being. As a by-product we also help enhance the economic development of several villages in Africa.

Finished products are already in circulation in Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, the UK, Canada and the USA.

NaturalNews, citizen journalist

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