Hello there friend and welcome to Eat.Grow.Love with me, Odette. Whether you’re someone that enjoys the eating, the growing or the loving, you’ll feel right at home here.
I’ve been a wife for over a decade and we have three beautiful children. Eating, growing and loving is basically what our days are made of. Throw some passionate curiosity for natural living and a love for research in the mix and you get this! A place to share tips and information, ideas and obsessions, recipes and new crazes. But also a place where we know the struggle is real and sometimes all you want is that Chocolate Torte!
We will chat about kids, marriage, food, love and world peace (just kidding).
Seriously now, my aim is to eat, grow and love more naturally everyday, just as our Maker intended.
So watch this space
The Magical Marula
By Odette Barkhuizen
Sclerocarya birrea, more commonly known as the Marula tree, is an African native with a history that goes back thousands of years.
It is a deciduous tree (which means it sheds its leaves seasonally), belonging to the same family as the cashew, mango and pistachio nut. It is a bountiful resource for local communities in the north-central parts of Namibia.
The uses of the Marula tree ranges from woodcarvings and furniture production to anti-aging purposes and medicinal tinctures. It is thus no wonder that it won the award for Namibian Tree of the Year in 2011 and is a protected species in South Africa.
The bark of the tree has been used among local people in treating dysentery, diarrhoea, rheumatism and insect bites. The essence from the leaves is also said to provide a remedy for a variety of ailments, which includes spider bites and abscesses, while legend also has it that a woman can take an infusion of the bark of the tree to help determine the sex of an unborn child.
Closer to home, the uses of the fruit and nut seem to be just as rich and generous. With a Vitamin C content of about 60mg per fruit (about the size of a smallish plum) the Marula has about four times the Vitamin C content of that of an orange when compared in weight. Other than that, the fruit is used for making delicious jams and jellies and for preparing alcoholic drinks like wines, beers and the famous South African Amarula Cream Liqueur.
The nuts or kernels of the fruit is a tasty and nutritious snack eaten either raw or roasted. Locally, it is sometimes used as an emergency food supply because of its great nutritional value. These nuts are high in protein, energy and minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc.
But, in my opinion, the real star of this magical tree is the amber-toned liquid we get from crushing the nut kernels of the Marula fruit. These kernels are so rich that a simple squeeze of the hand can release a trickle of oil. While the rest of the world has overlooked the benefits of this kernel’s oil for a long time, local women of some regions of north-central Namibia have been using it for its incredible cosmetic properties for many generations. With a skill handed down from generation to generation, rural women are able to remove the small kernels from the fruit stone and extract the valuable golden oil.
The oil, with a light and pleasant nutty aroma, contains high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, essential amino acids and flavonoids that help cells renew, and protects it against further damaging effects of the environment. When used regularly, Marula oil delivers ideal protection against photoaging by neutralising free radicals, building healthy collagen and providing anti-oxidant protection. All of this means younger looking skin and better defence against premature aging.
Marula oil is rich in essential fatty acids, Omega 9 and Omega 6, which is deeply hydrating and reduces redness. It also nourishes, heals, moisturises and improves skin elasticity. As it is 100% safe to use during pregnancy, this is great news for pregnant bellies!
Because the oil is lightweight, fast absorbing and non-greasy, you can easily incorporate it into your daily skin care routine.
Here are some ideas:
• Massage a few drops into your scalp every other night
• Apply a few drops to damp hair before blow-drying. Start at the ends, working your way up
• Use as a serum underneath your face cream, or add a few drops directly to your face cream
• Massage into nails and hands
• Excellent as a lip balm
• Use as a massage oil
• Works great as a general, all-purpose moisturiser for the whole family, including those with sensitive skin
• Very effective stretch mark remedy
Some interesting facts about the Marula tree:
• A single tree can produce anything from 500kg to 2 tons of fruit per year, making it a remarkably fruitful tree
• The fruit is harvested from January to March when the ripe fruit fall to the ground to be collected
• The Marula is both a fruit and a nut tree
• A bowl filled with these nuts is considered a special gift between friends
• Marula fruit is also known as ‘the fruit that drives elephants mad’. Supposedly elephants sometimes get intoxicated when eating some of the overripe and somewhat fermented fruit lying on the ground