African Oils Part 230 October 2020
The Rise of K-Beauty27 February 2021
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.
This is the last in the series and we look at the exceptional oils derived from the Mideka Ximenia or Wild Plum and from the ‘tree of life’ or Moringa Tree.
Mideka Ximenia Oil
Ximenia trees form part of a family of semi-deciduous shrubs scattered around various low-altitude and grassland regions of Africa and are affectionately known as the ‘wild plum’ or ‘monkey plum’ tree.
The glossy dark reddish-brown fruit consists of white spots and are plum-like in size – usually growing to a length of up to 30mm. Cutting open the fruit reveals a tasty and edible pale orange pulp, and a single soft-cream coloured large seed that is rich in oil. The fruit ripens from May to July.
The word ‘mideka’ means to rejuvenate in the tribal regions of north-west Ethiopia.
The yield of oil from the seed is high and has been applied as an emollient, conditioner, skin softener, body and hair oil as well as included as an ingredient in lipsticks and lubricants. It is also believed to have benefits on skin ageing.
The oil’s exceptionally robust antioxidant properties originate from the generous amounts of phytosterol content, including lupeol and β-amyrin, and β-sitosterol.
Bestowed with generous portions of monoenoic acids, including ximenynic acid – a well published microcirculatory stimulator, Mideka Ximenia Oil can be used for skin and hair follicle rejuvenation.
The oil’s tocotrienol content also provides for anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity.
Moringa oil is a particular type of oil which is obtained from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree. This type of tree mostly grows in subtropical and tropical areas of the world which are known for being semi-arid.
Called “the tree of life”, Moringa is regarded as a life-giving, health-restoring plant with endless benefits.
The Moringa pod (or fruit) is green, long and slender – usually 30cm-50cm in length. When opened, the highly prized black-winged seeds are revealed, numbering between 5-20 per fruit.
Originating from India, the moringa plant is now a common part of Africa’s smallholder farming landscape. Grown in various regions across Africa today, Moringa harvests from December to March in southern Africa, and June to September in the northern regions.
The whole tree, from bark to leaves and seeds, has therapeutic properties and is used for food, health, and nutrition. However, of all the parts of the Moringa tree, the oil is the most precious treasure.
Moringa oil is a unique product that restores normalcy to the skin’s microbiome. High levels of oleic acid, together with antioxidant properties enable the oil to arrest a wide variety of microbes, helping to re-balance the skin’s microflora, as well as acting as an anti/blemish and cleansing agent.
As a moisturiser, Moringa oil hydrates and softens the skin, whilst increasing tone and elasticity. Easily absorbed and highly stable, the oil’s antioxidant properties also helps to reduce DNA damage and protects against free radicals.
With high oleic and meaningful behenic fatty acid content, Moringa oil consists of balanced α-, β-, and γ-tocopherol ratios, and high levels of β-sitosterol, Δ5-avenasterol, and campesterol.
It is commonly used in cleansing gels and scrubs; facial moisturisers; hand and body care products; hair care and soaps.
Contact Botanichem for information on African Oils including Mideka Ximenia Oil and Moringa Seed Oil.