MARULA OIL (SCLEROCARYA BIRREA):
Sclerocarya birrea, the marula, is a medium-sized dioecious tree, indigenous to the miombo woodlands of Southern Africa, the Sudano–Sahelian range of West Africa, and Madagascar. The tree is a single stemmed tree with a wide spreading crown. It is characterised by a grey mottled bark. The tree grows up to 18 m tall mostly in low altitudes and open woodlands.
The fruits which ripen between December and March have a light yellow skin, with white flesh, rich in vitamin C – about eight times the amount found in an orange – are succulent, tart with a strong and distinctive flavour. Inside is a walnut-sized, thick-walled stone. These stones, when dry, expose the seeds by shedding 2-3 small circular plugs at one end.
The seeds have a delicate nutty flavour. Marula seeds belongs to the same family Anacardiaceae as the mango, cashew, pistachio and sumac. A seed kernels are high in protein and fat, with a subtle nutty flavour. Marula oil, made from the seed kernel, is a delicious additive to meals in Africa. It contains antioxidants and oleic acid.
Marula oil contains a large proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids and natural antioxidants which make the oil very stable. The fatty acid composition of marula oil includes:
Mono-unsaturated fatty acids:
Oleic acid (70-78%)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids:
Linoleic acid (4.0-7.0 %)
Alpha-linolenic acid (0.1-0.7 %)
Saturated fatty acids:
Palmitic acid (9-12%)
Stearic acid (5.0-8.0 %)
Arachidonic acid (0.3-0.7 %)
Tocopherols, sterols and flavonoids, with antioxidant action, procyanidin, galattotannin and catechins are also found in marula oil.
Marula oil has a clear, light yellow colour and a nutty aroma. It has a saponification value of approximately 188-199 and a specific gravity of 0.91-0.92 (at 15°C).
FOOD / COOKING:
Archaeological findings shows that the marula already used 12 thousand years ago for food in Southern Africa. While little known globally, the fruit is traditionally used for food in Africa, and has considerable socio economic importance.
The seed kernels are high in protein and fat, with a subtle nutty flavour, and constitute an important emergency food. Marula oil, made from the seed kernel, is a delicious additive to meals in Africa. This oil forms also an important part of people’s diets. Marula using utilise the oil from the kernels to preserve meat, which enables it to last up to a year.
Today, Marula oil is still considered a delicacy by local people, and is added to a wide variety of traditional and modern recipes. Studies have looked at the oxidation stability, induction period (34 hours), polar compounds, free fatty acids of Marula oil as a frying oil.
About 60% of Marula kernel consists of oils, you can even squeeze it with hand. However, the oil yielded with a manual press produce only 25-30% output. So kernel cake is still quite valuable and tasty for food.
MEDICINE / HEALTH:
Marula oil is often used in Holistic and alternative medicine:
In the day it provides protection from UV damage (Prepares the skin for the summer sun heat. Sunbathing lovers should start using this oil before 2 months), environment (pollution, exposure), and fatigue, whilst in the night the antioxidants are at their most active in healing and repairing all body skin while we sleep. Marula oil fits for all body massage types. This oil is very good for babies too.
BEAUTY / COSMETICS:
Suitable for dry, normal, mature, oily and grey skin types.
Marula oil, made from the seed kernel, can be used as a type of skin care oil. Marula Oil is fast absorbing. Due to its high levels of oleic (omega-9 acid at 60-70% concentrations) it easily penetrates the skin and provides longer lasting hydration. Marula Oil is very light and absorbs quickly so it is perfect for any skin type (even oily skin). Marula Oil is an excellent source of topical antioxidants. This free radical fighting capability is very important. It is also an excellent moisturizer that can help plump up skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Marula oil is non-comedogenic and does not lead to clogged and enlarged pores, minimizing the greasy look. This oil is recommend for dry and mature skin. Marula Oil can be used day or night as a highly effective moisturizer face and neck area. Marula oil is a multifunctional anti-ageing premium facial oil that hydrates, protects, and rejuvenates the skin.
During the night, it is perfect because skin replenishes itself during sleep. During the day, Marula Oil provides optimal hydration that skin needs to stay healthy and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. For dry skin, apply it more frequently as needed.
For oily skin: Oils are essential skin’s health because they hold together skin cells, giving healthy glow. As skin ages, less of these oils are produced, so it is vital to add them back into the skin to maintain good skin.What determines the greasy residue feel is the composition of omega fatty acid contained within the oil.
The Tsonga people of South Africa and Mozambique have used the oil as a moisturising body lotion for women and also as a massage oil for babies. In the past, women used Marula oil rather than water to clean themselves.
The oil, which is extracted from kernels in its stones, contains four times as much vitamin C as oranges and is packed with omega-9 fatty acid, vitamin E and flavonoids. These essential fatty acids and powerful antioxidants, particularly the high levels of oleic acid, help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier, provide long-lasting hydration and protect against environmental aggressors. The high levels of antioxidants help maintain youthful looking skin, ideal for dull skin, undernourished skin and frequent travellers.
The oil is great for hair care and also works as a good make-up remover.
Some tribes esteem Marula tree as a holy plant which involves many rituals and legends. For the Zulu people Marula tree represents the female fertility and a symbol of tenderness. The traditional rites with marula oil are held for welcoming the new born girls.
It plays a prominent role in many traditional cultures in Southern Africa. Some believe that the sex of a child can be pre-determined by administering an infusion of the bark of a male or female tree to a pregnant woman. The Zulu and Tonga peoples both call Marula the ‘marriage tree’ and a brew of the bark is administered as part of a cleansing ritual prior to marriage.
RECENTLY USER CREATED MIXTURES USING THIS COMPONENT:
• Summer time body moisturizer • Mixture for meditation sessions (oils for The Crown Chakra – Sahasrara) • Scalp treatment with coconut oil • Home made rose petal oil • Cleansing mask for sensitive skin