African Oils Part 119 October 2020
African Oils Part 330 December 2020
African people have always relied on plant oils to nourish, soothe and protect their skin from the elements. Today’s studies show that the essential fatty acids in plant oils offer incredible benefits for the skin, helping protect and maintain a healthy skin barrier.
Continuing our series of discussions on these oils, we share some information about two more African oils.
Schinziophyton rautanenii is part of the Euphorbiaceae family. This large deciduous, dioecious tree is known as mungongo in Zambia and manketti in many other African countries. It produces egg-shaped green fruits, 3.5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, which are covered in fine small hairs. The large seed forms 70% of the fruit.
Traditionally it has been used in personal care products due to its healing and nurturing properties. A hair lotion prepared with the oil is used to revitalise, strengthen and detangle hair and it is used as a body rub during dry winter months. It protects the skin by acting as a cleanser, moisturiser and emollient.
Commercially, the thin oil is ideal for the aromatherapy and cosmetic industries as it has a light texture and is easily absorbed into the skin.
The presence of Vitamin E, linoleic and eleostearic acids makes it useful for skin protection and hydration, for the treatment of eczema and atopic disorders where it may assist with reduction of inflammation and promotion of cellular repair and tissue generation.
It may also be useful in the reduction of itching, redness, scarring and the prevention of keloids.
The marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is an important food, commercial, cultural and ethnomedicinal plant in Africa. It produces edible yellow oblong shaped fruits. The seed encloses 2–3 soft white edible kernels, which are rich in oil and protein.
In southern Africa, the oil obtained from marula kernels is used for different purposes. It has been used to massage babies and as body lotion massaged onto the skin of their face, feet and hands. Marula oil is also traditionally used to protect against dry and cracking skin, and as a shampoo for dry, damaged and fragile hair
Marula oil is a clear, pale, yellowish-brown colour and has a pleasant nutty aroma. The oil is classified as medium rich and is silky to the touch with an excellent ‘slip factor’ making it ideal as massage oil.
Commercially Marula oil has been shown to improve skin hydration and smoothness as well as reduce skin redness. It is rich in Oleic acid which is known to exert good anti-oxidant activity.
Contact Botanichem for information on African Oils including Manketti and Marula Seed Oil.