Why the Baobab tree is called the tree of life

The first time I heard of the name Baobab, it caught my interest. The unique name and how my friend spoke about this amazing tree and fruit made me want to learn more. So I dove into my computer and immediately typed the question, “what is Baobab?” The findings amazed me even more! 

 Baobab is a tree that bears Baobab fruit. The fruit is consumed fresh and dried. It contains many nutrients and health benefits. The Baobab tree is also known as the tree of life. Apart from that, this tree (unlike most) has a positive effect on the environment when the demand increases. 

At Treetarian, we try to make people more aware of the many various trees out there and for people to eat more tree products. So, if you want to try something new and get aquatinted with a totally different taste than you are used to, we recommend the Baobab fruit! So, why do we recommend trying Baobab? Keep reading! 

A Baobab Tree in full bloom during the wet season

Where does the Baobab Grow? And What Are its Character traits?

The Baobab tree originates from Africa. The tree can also be found in Australia. It is a tree also known by the name Adansonia Digitata. Africans have consumed this tree and its fruit over decennia. 

Adventurers in the early days thought that this extraordinary tree was planted upside down. This is because branches stick out at the top of the long stem that look a lot like roots. Therefore, it seems like the plant is upside down. 

The Baobab tree is known for reaching humongous heights. It can reach a height of 25 meters. This, of course, doesn’t happen overnight. It takes many years for the tree to get this tall. The exact amount of time depends on the climate and growing conditions.

The Baobab tree isn’t just very tall, but it is also very thick and can reach a diameter of 30- 46 feet. Some of them are hollow, which creates a shelter used by animals and native African tribes. 

What Health Benefits Does the Baobab Have?

The Baobab is one of those trees that is known for its health benefits. There is a reason why they call it the tree of life and the holy tree. But, before we dive deeper into that, we will first mention its health benefits.

 Health benefits Baobab

The Baobab, like many other trees, contains various health benefits that our body will gladly absorb when consumed. Its fruit is known for being a “superfood.” This is due to the amount and different kinds of nutrients that the fruit contains. 

  •  Pre Biotic fiber

The dried fruit powder contains about 50% pectin, a water-soluble fiber that is very beneficial for the gut. It is therefore known as being a gut biome superfood. 

  •  Remedy for Diarrhea 

As mentioned above, the pre Biotic Fibre that the powder contains supports the gut. People with Diarrhea have had tremendous effects when eating the powder daily. In Africa, the Baobab fruit has been given to people as a medicine to help against Diarrhea and other intestinal issues. 

  •  High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are a part of our diet. It is a must to consume them for us not to get sick. The antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals. The Baobab is exceptionally high in healthy antioxidants that our bodies need. 

  •   High in Calcium

The baobab fruit is high in calcium, which is another health benefit that this African tree contains. Calcium supports our bodies’ blood circulation, strengthens bones, improves muscle movement, and more. Therefore, absorbing enough calcium from our daily food is essential.

  • Rich in Vitamin C and Minerals 

For our bodies to function properly and stay healthy, we need to consume a daily amount of vitamins and Minerals. If you eat 40 to 50 grams of the pulp of this fruit, this will cover the recommended daily intake. 

On the day that you decide to consume this fruit, you won’t have to worry about not getting enough of these nutrients and substances into your body. 

Tree of life 

The Baobab also gets referred to as being the “Tree of life.” In addition, it gets treated as the “Holy Tree” by the Indigenous in Africa. This particular tree has a vital role in the ecosystem. It contains resources that both wildlife and humans need. 

The tree trunk contains up to 1.200 U.S. Gallons or 5455 Liters of water. This makes it an excellent tree to survive even in the most drought conditions. Approximately 80% of the trunk consists of water that can easily be tapped and used for hydration. This tree can save both animals and humans when there is no rain and challenging climate conditions. 

What Part of The Baobab can I use?

There are many trees out there that are consumed for their edible fruits. There are not many trees where you can say that almost all parts of it are usable. The Baobab tree is one of those exceptions. So, what exactly can you use? 

  • Fruit
    The Baobab fruit is edible. This probably does not come as a surprise after reading the first part of the article. The fruit is pointy and looks pod-like. It hangs on the tree branches. The fruit dries on the branch naturally, and the shell also gets revered as looking like a coconut shell. The edible part sits as a powder on the inside around the seeds, which has a great taste and is high in nutrients. 
  • Bark
    The Bark of this tree of life gets used to make clothing and rope. Its properties contain substances that make it fire-resistant. This means that the tree has a very big chance of survival when there is a wildfire. 
  • Sap
    Apart from a lot of water, the tree trunk also contains special sap. The sap is extracted and squeezed out of the bark. The substance is used for glue, rubber, and for the making of soap. 
  • Leaves
    It is not just the fruit of this tree that is edible also. Native Africans use the leaves in traditional meals. The leaves are spinach-like and often eaten as a vegetable. It has an astringent taste and character, delicious and therefore used in different kinds of cuisine. 

    The most popular way of using the leave is by drying them and making them into powder. When cooking with the leaf powder, the powder will act as a thickening agent. 

    The leaves are high in Vitamin C, Calcium, amongst other nutritional benefits. This yummy leaf also gets used medicinally to treat coughs, asthma, fatigue, insect bites, inflammation, and more. 
  • Pulp
    The pulp of the bark of the Baobab tree can also be used. The strong particles that make up the bark and pulp are great and are used to make paper, fish lines, grain sacks, and even clothing. 
  • Sprout
    If you grow your own Baobab tree and want to consume parts of it early on, then eating the sprouts is a great and yummy part of this tree. Most people will say that it tastes like asparagus. Eating this will give your body those extra nutrients it needs.
  • Seed oil 
    A popular part of the Baobab tree and a more frequently used part is the oil that gets extracted out of the seeds of the fruit. The oil is rich and is said to be healthy for the skin. Nowadays, the oil gets used in many cosmetic products. 
An open pod of the Baobab Fruit, filled with powder and seeds

What Impact does the Baobab have on the Environment?

Unlike most popular products, this tree actually has a positive impact on the environment when the demand is high. The tree of life is beneficial to the whole ecosystem. Animals, humans, and the general environment will benefit from this tree in close proximity.

The production of the fruit is also primarily sustainable—water, land, soil, forests, etc. Don’t need to be polluted or destroyed for production. The only thing to stay aware of is buying the fruits from farmers that are non-GMO and organic farmers. 

This is not a tree that gets destroyed each time it gets used for consumption. On the contrary, it is a strong tree that bears its fruits after approximately 15 to 20 years. That is also a reason why there aren’t many Baobab plantations. This tree is grown in reforestation projects to help the environment. As you need to wait some years to be able to eat its fruits, you might as well start planting one extra now!

How Many Years does a Baobab Live?

That the Baobab is a special and unique tree has become clear after reading the above. Another great fact about this tree is that it lives up to 3000 years. 

For the Baobab to reach its full height, it really depends on its growing area and the conditions. The climate, the amount of sun, and water it gets, etc. 

Because this tree can get really old, it is a tree often used to evaluate climate changes over the years. The inner rings of the trunk are researched. This is also known as Radiocarbon. With this data, researchers can better understand the climate and how the climate has changed in different regions. They can tell what the wettest, the driest, and even the warmest periods were. 

What does Baobab Taste like?

The Baobab tree is not just popular for being exceptionally tall and because people think it looks like it grows upside down. But also its fruit is delicious and become more and more popular worldwide. 

The fruit hangs on the branches at the top of the tree trunk. As mentioned before, it is pointy- and pod-like. If you open the shell of the fruit, you will find seeds. Around the seeds sit a powder. This powder is the part of the fruit that most people eat. The seed itself gets extracted and manufactured into oil. 

The powder has a sweet taste and a small touch of sour and bitter. Therefore, adding the powder to juices and smoothies is very common. The powder will give your healthy snack another little boost of taste and nutrients. 

What taste does the Baobab fruit get compared with?

 Most people will describe the taste of something in a different way. Below, we will write down a few examples of how the Baobab most often gets described or compared with it. 

  • A caramel pear with a touch of grapefruit. 
  • Tangy and citrusy like a lemon
  • Combination of yogurt and Tamarind

Is it Safe to Eat Baobab?

The Baobab has been consumed over centuries without any known side effects. 

There have been many studies that research the Baobab tree and its fruit. These studies have shown that the Baobab fruit and leaves hold many nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. 

Therefore, the fruit and the leaves are part of the tree that is mostly consumed by people worldwide and are both very safe to eat. 

Are the Leaves of the Baobab edible?

As described above, the leaves of the Baobab are safe to eat and are consumed in many traditional dishes in Africa. It is most likely the part of the tree that gets added most often in different kinds of foods. 

There are a few ways to consume the Baobab leaves.

  • Fresh
    If you want to taste the leaves in their purest form, then eating the young leaves raw would be the way to go. You can simply add them into a salad or top your pizza off with a few of these tasty, earthy leaves. 
  • Cooked
    When you ask how the indigenous ate the Baobab leaves, they will most likely either say fresh or cooked. Cooked the leaves are like spinach. The leaves are cooked and put into rice dishes and many other typical African cuisines.
  • Grounded powder
     The amazing thing about these leaves is that when you ground them into powder and use them during cooking, it works as a thickener agent. Therefore it is an excellent alternative to other more chemical thickener agents that are on the market today. In Africa, the grounded leaves are often used in stews to create that extra creamy texture. 

Is Baobab good for Weight loss?

The simple answer is Yes, the prebiotic fiber in Baobab cultivates a good gut biome which has many weight loss benefits. Good gut bacteria will improve your digestion, reduce fat storage, and keep you fuller and more energized.

That being said, A question that has a lot of attention these days is: “Does this product make me gain weight or lose weight.” Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle does not always give us the time to cook ourselves a healthy meal during our busy schedule. Obese and bad eating habits are often the result of this behavior. Therefore, eating one product daily while consuming other not-so-healthy products will not help you lose weight. If you are serious about losing weight, yes, the Baobab can help you, but it is often more a lifestyle adjustment than a “quick fix.” 

Does Baobab boost your Immune system?

Scientists researched the Baobab quite a bit and have found many nutrients inside the fruit and leaves that our bodies benefit from. One of these benefits is that it gives our immune system an extra boost. It does not just boost the immune system but also works on many different levels. 

How does the Baobab fruit improve our immune system?

There are three main ways how the Baobab fruit boosts our immune system.

  1. High levels of Vitamin C are known to have great benefits for the immune system
  2. The prebiotic fiber pectin is great for the gut biome, a healthy gut biome is important to fight off viruses and infections
  3. Other vitamins and minerals, like magnesium support immune cells in the body

How do the Baobab leaves improve our immune system?

It is not just the Baobab fruit that contains nutrients that help our bodies stay healthy. Also, the leave contains many different nutrients and gets used traditionally to improve overall health, including the immune system. 

If you live in the western world, finding Baobab leaves will be challenging. It is often the Baobab fruit powder that you can find in stores. Leaves are not popular enough and harder to transport.

What is the Market Size for Baobab?

Let’s talk about business now. The aim of Treetarian is to make people eat more tree products, as we believe this is not just good for the environment but also for your overall health. We are very happy to see that Baobab consumption is growing at a very nice rate.  

This Businesswire article predicts the global market for Baobab Powder, estimated at US$6 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$8.5 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.1% over the period 2020-2027

Demand for Baobab powder will increase by 40% in 7 years! Taking in account it takes 15 to 20 years for a Baobab tree to bear fruit, we better start planting some Baobab trees!

How do you grow a Baobab Tree?

The tree grows in Africa and does best grown in areas with lots of sunlight and warmth. If you want to grow your own Baobab tree, you will first need to decide if you are going to do it from the seed or from cuttings.

Growing Baobab from the seed

  1. The first thing you will need to do is soak the seeds. Preferable for a day in warm water. 
  2. For the seed to sprout well, it gets recommended to scarify it on sandpaper. This way, the seed will expose its inner white layer.
  3. After soaking the seed, let it dry for approximately one day before planting it. The seed germinates slowly, so it is best to plant more than one seed at a time. 
  4. Once the seed is dried, you can put it into the soil. Place the seed approximately 1 to 2 inches underneath the service of the soil. 
  5. Make sure the soil stays above fifteen degrees Celsius. The tree originates from warm countries and likes the heat.
  6. Once the seed is placed inside the soil, it is best to water it straight away. Moist is what the tree likes. Don’t make the soil too wet. Keep the soil moist at all times. 
  7. Once the roots are formed, you can place the seedling with roots into a bigger pot. The pot should at least have a diameter of seven centimeters as the tree will grow long roots and needs its space to grow. 
  8. All that is left to do now is to be patient. The better the circumstances the tree has (nutrient soil, warmth, sun, and moist soil), the better the chances are of it growing into a strong tree. 

Growing Baobab from cuttings

The easier way to grow a Baobab tree is by growing it from a cutting. 

1. Find a nursery or a forest that has the Baobab tree.

2. Choose a cutting that has at least three leaves on it. 

3. Take a cutting from the tree. It gets recommended to do this during Spring. 

4. If you want to minimize the chances of stem rot and fungal attack, it is best to let the stem dry for a couple of days.

5. Once the stem is dry, you can plant the cutting in a pot with soil.

6. Keep the soil moist, and make sure it does not get too dry or wet. 

7. Once the tree has grown in size, you can place it outside. If the climate you are living in is warm enough. 

8. Have patience, and give the tree of life the time it needs to grow. 

What is the Baobab oil used for?

The seeds of the Baobab contain many nutrient properties like omega-3 fat, calcium, iron, vitamin B, magnesium, potassium, and more. These properties are researched, and science has shown that Baobab oil, cold-pressed from the Baobab seeds, has many benefits for our skin and hair. This is why the oil gets used in many different products today. 

  • Baobab oil helps with irritation of the skin
    The oil is put in cremes or gets used directly as oil on the skin. The inflammatory properties that the oil has helped with are skin redness irritation and has proven to help treat acne for some people. 
  • Used in shampoo and conditioners
    The high amount of omega-3 fat that the Baobab seed oil naturally contains can help treat dandruff and skin flaking. It is believed that the Baobab oil will moisturize dry hair and helps strengthen weak or brittle hair.

Baobab oil Benefits the skin

Baobab oil has many health benefits for the skin. Some of them are that it:

  • Moisturises the skin
  • Softens the skin
  • Improves skin texture and elasticity
  • Helps heal and repair the skin
  • Reduces inflammation of the skin

Why use Cold pressed Baobab oil?

Make sure that the oil is cold-pressed when you buy it. If it is not cold-pressed, it will not contain the nutrients mentioned above. The chances are that chemicals are used and that the oil will most likely damage the skin and hair instead of helping it.

As far as we know, the Baobab oil has not caused any severe symptoms when applying it to the skin. That said, when using Baobab oil for the first time on your skin, hair, and or scalp, we recommend testing it first. Ensure your skin is clean of any other products to make the testing reliable. Next, take a small batch of the oil and gently rub it onto your skin. Wait for the reaction of your skin. Try to feel what it does to your skin, for example: Does it feel nice? Does it make the skin feel warm? Etc. Also, look at what it does to the skin: Does it get red? It is also possible that the skin does not react to the oil. That is what you probably want. 

Are you worried about what it might do to your skin, you can always ask a dermatologist for advice. 

Some final thoughts about Baobab

The Baobab tree is another amazing tree that we could not leave out in our assortment of trees on our website. This particular tree bears fruits for us humans and animals to consume but also contains 80% water in its trunk. Water will always be essential for any living creature to survive. The tree is good for the environment. It can live for 3000 years and tell us so many exciting things about the time it was a life. The fruit and leaves taste amazing. The complete tree contains many benefits. Therefore in our eyes, the Baobab is not just a tree. It really is a tree of life! We hope this article has inspired you to consume and try this amazing natural product. 

Frederik Lamote

Frederik is the founder of Koroway.com, a startup that is 3D printing Treehouses. While exploring treehouse locations around the world he got fascinated by the value and products trees produce.

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